A lot of the projects I share on the blog are for the kids and their imaginative play, but I've been enjoying branching out and making some other kinds of things lately. I very rarely make anything for myself, and one day I realized I needed a toolbag/tool roll for bringing all my tools and odds and ends out to the playground, where I do most of my work. I was keeping my tools out in tote bags or even paper grocery bags, and I was spending more time digging through them looking for specific tools than I was spending on the actual work.
The last thing I wanted to do was buy something sewn in some factory across an ocean, and I couldn't really find anything exactly like what I wanted anyway. I did find some examples of toll rolls other guys made themselves, and adapted some of the ideas I saw for my own needs. There's something really cool about designing something for yourself, suiting it to your exact needs, and building it with your own hands. In this case, I needed something that would roll out across the stone bench where I do most of my work, keeping all my tools in place but allowing easy access as I needed them. Here's what I came up with, and should also give you a sense of the tools I use most often while working on most of the things you see on the blog:
The middle compartment has a strip with a heavy lace running through it to create loops for my bigger tools, and can be loosened and tightened as necessary by pulling the end of the lace. That's where I keep my carving and molding tools, awls, bevelers, knives, and punches. On the left compartment, I sewed pockets for each of my most commonly-used stamping tools and needles:
That folds over the center, then the flaps cover both and attach together with a simple button stud closure. The right compartment has a simple envelope pocket where I can keep thread, rivets, and any other small items I need for a specific job.
On the opposite side from the big interior pocket, I stuck a couple irregular elongated pockets to hold mallets and other longer items, and fitted the belt closure to run between them:
Then I attached a short strap for easy carrying. That round buckle is one-of-a-kind: hand-forged in Italy and found in an antique shop there last summer. I also used the last of my beloved Kodiak oil-tanned cowhide that has been a part of some of my favorite projects and gifts (including my daughter's Amelia Earhart-style flight helmet that I made a few months ago):
She wore that thing well into the sweaty days of summer!