Monkey Wrench – Foo Fighters

For any major project, having the right tools available is crucial. I find myself regularly needing to shuttle tools and supplies between Oshkosh and Puckaway, so it’s also important for everything to be easily transportable. This is something I consider every time I buy a new tool. It has also led me to streamline my storage methods. Let’s take a quick tour of a typical Puckaway-bound truckload.

Craftsman C3 Cordless Tools

This is my favorite cooler that doesn't hold beer.

This is my favorite cooler that doesn’t hold beer.

I’ll proudly fly the flag for Craftsman’s C3 19.2v line of cordless tools. There’s a wide variety available and you can run either Ni-Cad or Lithium-Ion batteries in all of them. It’s easy to buy into, you can upgrade as you go, and the tools hold up well. I’ve had my current set for over five years. I’ve built two decks and a playset, finished a basement and two-car garage, remodeled a kitchen, and worked countless other small projects without a single problem. They’re a great value for the price and much better than previous Craftsman cordless sets.

I’ve put my Craftsman drill driver through a lot of abuse over the years. It has driven thousands of deck and drywall screws and has gotten covered in drywall dust and sawdust in the process. I’ve also used it as a masonry drill for running network cable through cinder block and boring anchor holes into a basement floor. Since it’s not a hammer drill, this took some “coaxing” from me. Through all of this, it has performed consistently well. Granted, I don’t use it daily like a contractor/tradesman, but for a hobbyist I’m pretty hard on it. The saw, too! Oh, that poor saw.

I started with a 5-tool combo kit that, unfortunately, isn’t sold anymore. What I really liked about it was that the tools all came in a durable rolling chest the size of a large camping cooler. Hell, it’s even got cupholders. I took out the top divider tray, and I’m able to fit my whole collection in it: drill driver, right-angle driver, LED flashlight, fluorescent flashlight, circular saw, reciprocating saw, jig saw, brad nailer, angle grinder, radio, and impact wrench. This rolling “warchest” is perfect for moving my sprawling collection between job sites while keeping everything protected and in one place.

The Ni-Cad batteries that originally came with the kit are old and tired, but I now have three high-capacity Lithium-Ion batteries. They pack a lot of punch—usually cordless circular saws are more of a novelty than truly useful, but with a good battery in it, I prefer to use my C3 saw over a traditional corded one. To keep everything topped off, I’ve got a 4-station battery charger hanging in my garage at home and two single-battery chargers in the pole barn. I’m fairly invested in this kit and thrilled to see Craftsman is still supporting this line today and putting out new tools.

Craftsman Tool Bags and Totes


Without these, I don’t know how I’d get most of my hand tools around. Large enough to hold a variety of items, but small enough to stay light and portable, the rigid totes are perfect for hammers, screwdrivers, pliers, cutters, tape measures and the like. The bags are simple and well-constructed and make it easy to compartmentalize tools. I have a wire-pulling bag, a rough-electrical bag, a cable-making bag, and all sorts of other job-specific collections. It’s easy to grab and go, taking only the tools you need.

Stanley SortMaster Organizers

God help me if I spill this.

God help me if I spill this.

I just got these last year but I wish I had picked them up sooner. I used to devote a few tool bags to holding small boxes and jars of screws, nails, nuts, bolts, etc. This was less than ideal as the boxes would pop open, spill, and I’d end up with a big grab-bag of fasteners. I ordered a few of these organizers on Amazon and was surprised at how sturdy they are. Now all of my hardware is organized in stackable, easy-access boxes. I’ve even devoted one to my Dremel and all of its various attachments. You can get a lot of different stuff in these and still keep it all perfectly organized.

Everything Else

mxh1413Lyssa bought me a large set of drill bits one year for my birthday. It’s one of the best presents I’ve ever received. I used to keep multiple, incomplete drill bit sets around due to the inevitable broken or lost bits. Having multiple bits of each size in an easy-to-transport case is a godsend. And even if I do manage to run out of a certain size (lookin’ at you, eighth-inch), I can always buy a refill pack for that size instead of hunting down another entire set.

I’ve also got a few standard-size storage totes for larger, bulkier items like extension cords and rolls of wiring. And there’s quite a bit of reserved shelf space in my garage at home for when all these goodies aren’t on the road. The way things are set up, I can mobilize almost my entire tool and hardware collection in just a few minutes. Everything fits in the bed of my truck, beneath my tonneau cover and out of the elements. It’s a good setup and I’m glad to have it; I couldn’t have done half of the work at Puckaway these past several years without ready access to the right tools.