Cabinet and Millwork Installation

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Tool bags

Pat Gilbert

What is your preferred tool bag configuration?

8/27/17       #2: Tool bags ...
Pat Gilbert

I was wondering if anyone has tried a vest type setup?

View higher quality, full size image (469 X 745)

8/28/17       #3: Tool bags ...

Tried a suspended rig by atlas, very nice but way too hot if you're in the south. I would imagine the vest rig would be too hot to be productive.

8/28/17       #4: Tool bags ...
Pat Gilbert

Thanks Kip

I never would have thought of that. Which is why I made the post.

8/28/17       #5: Tool bags ...
Pat Gilbert

One that might not be as hot

One that might not be as hot

9/2/17       #6: Tool bags ...
Mark  Member

Cool looking, but if I had to carry that many tools with me all day long, I'd be pretty tired and would be questioning my choice of professions.
For the past 30-35 years, I've worn a simple two bag rig of two Nicholas pouches, separate hammer hook, on a surplus web belt. Hammer, utility knife, 2 pencils, up to four nail sets, awl, tape measure, chalk line and combination square, three sizes of nails. Some things rotate out,depending on the task- small window bar, cats paw. modified try square etc. As I got older, started wearing suspenders because my hips disappeared.
Still under $100.
As I'm "ol skool" I still keep a small- 10"x16"x 4"- handbox with me that I load with other tools I'll need during the day ie: the ubiquitous battery drill, driver and bits, small level, chisels, screw drivers etc.

9/3/17       #7: Tool bags ...
Pat Gilbert

Thanks Mark

Someone suggested that I need bags even a vest type setup.

But thinking it over I think the premise is wrong.

Here are some opinions of finish carpenter
type dudes:

Finish carpenter type dudes

9/3/17       #8: Tool bags ...
Mark  Member

Ahh, now we're getting to the crust of the biscuit.....
I also don't wear my tool belt when installing cabinets & casework, too many chances for dings and scratches, I wear a cloth apron to hold a few fasteners etc. I also don't ever put my drill down upright standing on the battery- ever see a little cross, square or star in the woodwork? DAMHIKT
I've got a rolling chopsaw stand that I keep stuff in on the job- compressor, battery charger, brads and nails, but still just load a tote for what I'm doing each day, habit I guess. I also glued non marring rubber feet to my finish tote.
And I've lost too many hand tools to others who liked them more than me to ever leave any of them on the site.

9/3/17       #9: Tool bags ...
Pat Gilbert

More specifically piece work installation has a way of elminating anything superfluous.

Bags are a necessity IMO. But small ones for 3 types of screws, tape, hammer, scewgun, utility knife, pencil, a built in back brace would be nice.

9/4/17       #10: Tool bags ...
David Thiessen  Member


I have been considering the same issue lately. This is what I am looking at for install and finish carpentry work.

View higher quality, full size image (1080 X 1080)

9/4/17       #11: Tool bags ...
David Thiessen  Member


You can also add pouches to it for a custom configuration. I think you can get magnetic strips also. Plus it looks sweet!

9/4/17       #12: Tool bags ...
Pat Gilbert

This is what I ended up going with.

I'm afraid it is going to get heavy though. Maybe I will add suspenders or decide it's not that much trouble to carry around a screw bin and a few tools and place them near where I'm working.

View higher quality, full size image (2048 X 1152)

View higher quality, full size image (2048 X 1152)

9/6/17       #13: Tool bags ...

I prefer nothing other than the sidekick in the shop. Finish carpentry I like a durable apron with a hammer loop. Framing is a simple separate two pocket leather pouch and a separate metal hammer holster.

3 most important tools

9/6/17       #14: Tool bags ...
Pat Gilbert

What's the 3rd?

It comes down to carrying around some items in a small box or similiar or carrying them in tool bags.

I have to admit yesterday I worked in a 4 story house, at the end of the day the tool bag was a bit much.

OTOH it is time saving to have the screws and hand tools that you need all the time.

9/6/17       #15: Tool bags ...

Pencil, tape measure, and the Sidekick.


9/6/17       #16: Tool bags ...

There are some really durable aprons from Ergodyne or bucket boss on Amazon. More comfortable than a framing belt. The screws don't poke holes thru the pockets.


If you could figure out a way to stop carrying that hand truck on your back you could skip the suspenders.

9/7/17       #17: Tool bags ...
Pat Gilbert

No Adam

I use the hand truck to carry the belt.

I think the tool belt as configured is worth the saved steps.

The only caveat is to just carry the screw gun when you have to. Otherwise there is not much weight to carry.

3 types of screws a combo square a utility knife a pozi screw driver and a wisk broom, hammer, tape, and pencil

With the hammer in the back there is not much risk of damage from banging into cabinets.

9/7/17       #18: Tool bags ...

We only install cabinets, and use nothing and I really dont see the need for any of this unless we are talking about installing trim or whatever throughout the house.

Pencil goes behind the ear, Tape clipped onto pocket, screw jar right by where we are working, driver right by where we are working or hung from jeans pocket, knife in back pocket. Basically we install one room, then move to the next room. I never really understood the need to have all these tools hanging off you on a belt provided you are working local to one room.

9/7/17       #19: Tool bags ...
Pat Gilbert

And there you have it the controversy continues, clearly it never will be resolved.

Although I will say the majority of installers I see where bags.

9/7/17       #20: Tool bags ...
Mark  Member

Yep, you've said it Pat- to each their own.

9/7/17       #21: Tool bags ...

We effectively do what JM does. My ears are incompatible with pencils. I got tired of wearing out my jeans with tapes. The sidekick solves that problem. An open tool box that holds the guns a multiple size screw box, nails/pins for the guns, a combo square, nail sets, etc. Its quickly carried from room to room. I personally hate stuff hanging off of me. It also tends to ding up doors, trim and walls and the cabinets.

9/8/17       #22: Tool bags ...
Pat Gilbert

Nuff said, I'm going to post on something less controversial like one of Tim's threads.

9/12/17       #23: Tool bags ...
Jim Herron

I prefer the Carhartt waist apron fitted with a Dewalt hammer holder and Mohoo side pouch.
I have one of those vests, and live near's hotter than the gate hinges of hell...

9/12/17       #24: Tool bags ...
Pat Gilbert

I changed my mind.

The bags gave me lower back discomfort.

I went to carrying the tools in this:

View higher quality, full size image (1200 X 1200)

9/17/17       #25: Tool bags ...
Michael Woods Member

I too am constantly trying to improve my setup. The past couple of years I've been using this vest from Duluth Trading. It has 4 bags that are removable. They are the weak link in the system. I'll replace them with some custom made ones soon.

I'm not suggesting it is the best one but I really like the vest concept. I really needed to get the weight off my waist and its worked great.

I also keep my tools limited to essentials and keep their weight down. I'll pay twice as much for a lighter tool because I feel the difference at the end of the day (ie. titanium hammer). Or use a 10 or 12V impact/drill instead of an 18 or 20V with a huge 5 Ah battery.

View larger image

Work Vest

9/22/17       #26: Tool bags ...

I spent some time doing trim and cabinet installs, and have seen some different methods for carrying tools.

The advantage of a tool belt-it is faster if you can handle wearing it all day.

Think about the extra couple steps and time you spend every time you want to get more screws/shims/figure out which cabinet you left that drill bit in/where did i set that hammer down, etc.

I see it as similar to lean thinking. If everything in your tool belt is organized, easily accessible, and in the same place every time you need it, you will get more done in a day.

That being said, I think if you are working in a small area the same could be said for storing your tools in some other way off of your body.

10/4/17       #27: Tool bags ...
ron bergley  Member


We use a tool bag and carry just the couple of tools we need often. I think a vest for interior millwork is overkill, gets in the way of doing the job, is heavy, and makes you hot.

Quality Custom Interiors Bellevue

10/4/17       #28: Tool bags ...

I've been using one of these for a few years. Its got plenty of room for the typical hammer, 2 combo squares, a couple of block planes, I keep a couple of Japanese hand saws in the side. The best part is because its open you can carry an impact gun and screw gun as well. On top I carry my stabila 32" level.

With that box and a smallish screw box, I can install anything.

Fatmax toolbox

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