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Upgrading your tool drawers is easier than you think!

Our Clarke Tool chest spanner drawer… the before and after shot. Read on for the “during” to see how we organised our Britool spanners

Jonathan’s Clarke tool chest… where it all started!

We’re going all the way back to where it all started for us with this transformation. Our Clarke tools rolling tool chest has a 6 + 6 drawer formation with a large drawer in the top. This was Jonathans toolbox when he first worked on the tools as a maintenance engineer and needed heaps of different tools for different jobs. And that’s when he identified that there needed to be a way of stopping tools rolling around whenever you opened the drawers. It’s from there that Shadow Foam was born. Today we start with making a tool drawer organiser for the Britool Expert spanners.

Time for an upgrade – from Original to new Shadow Foam

But it’s time for an upgrade. You can see from the picture above that we originally kitted the drawers out in our Shadow Foam Original. But that was quite some time ago now. So it’s well past time to get them transformed with the new Shadow Foam and bring the Clarke tools drawers bang up to date.

It’s going to be a pretty big project to do every drawer! So initially we are starting with just one drawer. We need sheets for this that are 620 x 530mm and we wanted 50mm deep liners. We got custom sheets from our made to order range as we had a couple of days to wait for them to be made. But we could just as easily have cut one of our medium or large standard sheets down to size if we’d needed it quickly. All standard sheets are supplied on a next day delivery service, stock permitting.

Our foam is reversible so we can choose to use either the coloured side or the black side. Here, by cutting into the black surface, it will show the profile of the tool when you cut into it. We have a full range of Britool Expert Spanners so that’s what we want to store in this drawer.

Organising the layout of our Britool Expert Spanners

We have the tool drawer organiser foam ready to go, along with our tools and our cutting kit. For us, we are going to start with the larger spanners first. We know then that the smaller ones will then fit in nicely around them. Some might question our economy of space with this! We have displayed all the spanners flat rather than sitting them on the side and potentially taking up a lot less room. For us, we have the luxury of all the space we need for these and we definitely won’t be buying any more spanners any time soon! So we have basically just made the most of it. But a good tip if you don’t have as much room as you’d like is to stand the spanners on edge and save heaps of space.

Planning our Britool spanners layout on the tool drawer organiser. If you’ve less space, just stand your spanners on the side for storage.

Time to cut – safety first!

As always we will wear cutting gloves. If you don’t already own a pair, we supply them in our cutting kits. We recommend you wear them at all times when cutting or handling the blades as they’re really sharp. Then it’s as simple as holding the item in place where you want it to go and trace cut around it. Next, remove the tool and then go back round cutting to the desired depth. And repeat. (in our case, repeat a LOT.. there are 26 Britool spanners in this drawer alone!) For more guidance on cutting then check our short “how to cut” video here. You might not have a huge Clarke tools system, but whatever your are putting tools in it’s always worth refreshing yourself on the techniques. Then it’s time to peel!

Peeling the layers

Depending on the depth of foam you use for your tool drawer organiser, it will have different numbers of layers in it. As a guideline in our 50mm sheet that we are using, it has 5 layers of roughly 10mm each in it. We always recommend you peel down to a full layer in order to get the best results.

We always say though, don’t expect it to peel too easily. If it did, the foam wouldn’t be as robust and last you as long as it does. So don’t grip the corner and pull as if you’re peeling a banana, it will take more effort than that. First make sure your blade is away and remove your gloves to make it easier. Then use your fingers to plough along the layer to pull it away as you go, and it will come away nicely. For more details check out our useful “how to” video on peeling here.

Something to note is that if like us, the base of the ring spanner or whatever tool your cutting in kicks up a bit or stands proud, you may want to tweak. Just re-glove and go back in with the blade to cut that section down a bit more. That allows the spanner to sit flat into the foam so that they all lay nice and flush.

Getting the tools in and out easily

If your tools are all nice and flush, you might want to consider adding in finger pulls, This is a simple addition which will allow you to grab them nicely. We will do ours using our straight edge tool and cutting all the way across the profiles of the spanners. We’ve checked first how far the lip of the drawers sticks out at the back of the Clarke tool chest. We don’t want that to obscure the finger pulls and make taking out the spanners difficult. Now, we can position it neatly where we know we can get to it easily. Then simply cut in the finger pulls using the same cut and peel technique you saw previously.

Using our straight edge tool and a ruler to accurately measure the distance from the edge for positioning the finger pulls

The finished result…?

We feel we’ve really made a good upgrade here. The 50mm foam means we can lift the tool drawer organiser out if we need with all the Britool spanners in it, and it won’t buckle or sag as it would have done with the thinner Original foam. Also because it’s wipable, it doesn’t matter if you get oil or solvents on it. These can be wiped clean now rather than just absorbing stains or spills as the older grade of foam might have done. Plus as Shadow Foam is now recyclable where the Original wasn’t, we can now pop our offcuts into the recycling. So it’s a lot more sustainable as well as more durable!

Our first tool drawer organiser in our Clarke tools tool chest is now complete - the old red Original foam has been upgraded to the more durable and sustainable Shadow Foam
The Britool spanners look amazing in the new foam as Jonathan completes the first drawer in his Clarke tool chest transformation!

So, that’s one drawer down in our epic Clarke Tools transformation! Look out for more as we have the whole Clarke tool chest to tackle and upgrade very soon!

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