Getting the most from your DeWalt TSTAK
Transforming an old and worn out DeWalt TSTAK.
We wanted to look in a bit more detail at the TSTAK DeWalt toolboxes. You might remember that we kitted out a TSTAK earlier this year with a TSTAK foam insert in our Teaching the Apprentice film. We organised this traditional t-stack box with a yellow insert. Now it neatly houses a combi drill, battery and a few other items. But today we’re going to be using DeWalt TSTAK inserts to transform their long handle variation box.
We sell these DeWalt TSTAK inserts on our website in in twin packs. As with all stock items, these are available with free next day shipping to the UK. It’s just £19.99 for a 30mm twin pack or £24.99 for a 50mm twin pack. These are ready made to slot directly into the TSTAK boxes. This long-handle box is a little bit taller and it’s got a top section for storing smaller items. The box we are transforming with our DeWalt foam insert belongs to one of the contractors who helped build our unit. So, we know it’s in daily use so needs to be robust and practical. And also he will want it doing quickly so he can get his tools back!
Getting started with your DeWalt TSTAK inserts.
First step is to remove the tatty old polyurethane liner which came with it. With some of the bundles that you can buy from DeWalt, they come with a soft, almost velvety Polyurethane foam. It might suit some people but we hear that it’s not very practical for most. For this contractor, for example, we can see it’s not really suitable as they’ve got loads of extra stuff crammed in.
What this TSTAK foam insert gives us is a blank canvas to come up with a better more efficient layout. This is unique to you, to suit your exact needs. Also it’s a much more durable long-lasting liner. Now, we have 100mm to play with, so it could actually take two of the 50mm inserts. This will give us a base layer and we can add a top layer too. You can see how the relief cuts on the side of the box and liners allow us to lift the inserts easily. This will make it simple to access all of the tools beneath. It means we can add even more tools into this box over and above what was already in there. These foam inserts really maximise the use of space in your box.
PLAN to achieve the perfect TSTAK foam insert.
Planning what goes where is key. Here, the thinner items like the walkie-talkies some of the multi-tool heads and bits that go with multi-tool can all be in the bottom. Use the bottom layer for anything you don’t use as often, Then, on top we’re going to have the multi-tool itself, the charger and the batteries. That turns this cluttered box into one with a really nice efficient layout into which we can fit even more tools thanks to using the DeWalt foam insert to good effect.
Once we’re happy with our layout for both layers remember to take a photo to remind you as you’re working. Then it’s time to start cutting. We are going to use one of our cutting packs which come free if you spend over £50 on the website. These include a scalpel with five blades and a branded sticker. Importantly there are instructions in there too, so it’s basically everything you need to cut the foam. If you don’t spend over £50 to qualify for the free kit, you can add them separately. They are very cost-effective and will help you a lot.
We also recommend wearing anti-cut gloves when you are cutting and these are included in our next level cutting kits. They are the perfect kind of flexible glove to give you that dexterity you need for cutting around fiddly items. They are generally just really good anti-cut gloves to protect you. You can get these cutting kits at half price whenever you place an order online over £50 or purchase separately as needed.
When it’s time to cut the TSTAK foam insert…
Once you’re all set with the right kit to work on your TSTAK foam insert, it’s time to start cutting. We often start with the largest item so here we will cut the multi-tool in first. I line up the top edge and want it to have a minimum 8mm away from the edge. So here I’m going for a 12mm gap to ensure there’s good rigidity. Add a little pressure on it to make sure it doesn’t move. Next, use the scalpel with a fresh blade just like a pencil to trace around the item. Make sure the blade stays perpendicular, or at a 90 degree angle to the foam and trace cut all the way around. At this stage don’t worry about how deep you cut. For now, we are just looking to mark the profile around the shape of the item.
Once you’ve gone all the way around, remove the item and press down on the foam to reveal the cut you made. Then you can use that visual reference to just carry on cutting down to the depth you want. Here on this 50mm liner we obviously can’t cut the whole depth of the tool as it’s bigger than 50mm. But we do want it to nestle as deep as possible within the foam. For that reason, we are cutting down 40mm to allow 10mm in the bottom as a nice sturdy liner.
Peeling the foam on the DeWalt foam insert
Once we’ve cut all the way around it’s easier to then remove the gloves and we’re just going to peel back the top layer to start with. This gives us a nice controlled peel. So to start with don’t tear all the way through as once the top layer is out if you can better see what you’re doing. Then to begin peeling down deeper, start at one end and push your finger down into the gap you’ve cut.
There will be some resistance when you peel… it won’t just peel back like a banana. This is totally intentional and is what keeps the foam sturdy and prevent it from delaminating over time. So the technique is almost to plough through the foam with your fingers, chasing along the level of the peel and prising it away. We want this liner and this great cutting work you are doing to last you for many years and the balance is that it needs a little force to be peeled. So persevere with the peeling, firmly and slowly until you reach your required depth.
Details that take your DeWalt TSTAK inserts to another level.
When all the layers you want to remove are out, do a test fit to make sure the tool fits snugly. Like us, you might also want to consider some finger pulls to make it easier to get the tool out. To do that, we are going to use a stencil. Again, these are available very cheaply on our website. They contain one with metric holes from 10mm up to 50mm in increments of 1mm, and also a radius gauge stencil. These are great if you have a radius on the corner of your box to get a nice neat cut.
Think about the size of the finger pull you might need… for example on an Allen key you might need a small little finger pull, but it might need to be larger for something like this tool. But we don’t want it so large it looks disproportionate, so for this one we select a 44m shape.
Once happy with the fit of your first tool it’s time to use the same process to do the rest. For us in this TSTAK, that means doing two liners. This will let us get everything that was crammed in the case before to sit neatly in an organised way.
For this box, the two layers works really well here for another reason too. The bottom layer has created enough weight to stop the box tipping over. Before it was added this happened all the time due to the weight of all the screws etc in the lid. So now it’s a lot more sturdy as well as being more organised.
A DeWalt foam insert for most TSTAK containers.
if you want to organize your TSTAK DeWalt containers, whether it’s this long handle box, the TSTAK drawers or the rolling box with the wheels cut out, we’ve got inserts on our website in six colours and in the two depths. As well as the free shipping we mentioned, there are always bulk-offers too as well as other incentives you can make the most of. We’d love to know how you get on so make sure you share your completed DeWalt TSTAK inserts on our Insta and FB pages .