25th May 2022 – Rotherhithe

17 days to go before the Scoresby Sund Expedition starts

My new tool bag with its large pocket on the front which is big enough to take a note book

In the past I have used a round canvas ditty bag to hold my splicing and rigging gear, plus a Kuny tool bag for all my other tools, but it was always a struggle to stow both of them into Sumara’s small cupboard. I designed this tool bag to combine the ditty bag and the tool bag. I’m hoping it will stow away more easily. I’ll use some small canvas zipper bags to decant the tools which I’ll need for each task. The bag is made from very heavy canvas with a soft leather base so it won’t scratch the varnished table.

Space is always at a premium on a small boat so I generally throw away those massively oversized blown plastic boxes that socket sets and cordless drills arrive in. My complete 1/2″ drive socket set fits in a little Klein Zipper bag and my cordless drill with all twist and flat bits lives in a little Tupperware box.

The bag has loads of pockets.
The orange grips that you can see also have unique brackets to fasten them to a table or ledge.
In the side pocket you can spot my aluminium bronze adjustable spanner and my favourite ever tool alongside!
I got fed up with wrapping gaffer tape around hacksaw blades so I bought one of these handy blade holders

My tool bag above now contains the following:

And also in the Tool Bag are the contents of my Ditty Bag

Stowed elsewhere on the boat

In a canvas tool roll

In a box near the engine

In cupboard

In Forepeak

A quick shout-out for four really handy tools!

All my tools are special, after all, who ever regrets buying a decent tool? Yet some are a bit more special, either because they are unusual or they just do something a bit different. Here are a few of them.

Number One

This little bendy saw has all the teeth set upwards so that you can trim off deck plugs completely flush without scratching the deck. Luckily my new teak decks are bonded without any fastenings but the cockpit seating area still needs some occasional TLC.

Number Two

Why carry a rusty old clamp-on vice when you can have a pair of these? The grips open up big enough to hold scaffolding tube and I’m sure you are always wanting to saw scaffolding tube onboard. But you get the idea. You can hold things really secure onto any ledge plus you have two excellent “Mole” grips ready for action.

Number Three

These are automatically adjusting grips. You just set your preferred grip tension and off you go. They really come into their own when you need to secure an obscured nut inside a cupboard or on the back of a bulkhead. You can feel when you have found the nut and without even knowing the size, just snap the grips closed and the job is done.

Number Four

It’s taken me far too long to buy one of these stupidly useful tools. A full size hacksaw is pretty hopeless on a boat. Try sawing off a protruding stud in an awkward corner with a full frame saw. This little lightweight handle takes full length blades and they can be bent flush to the substrate for a quick and neat cut.

And finally……

……I do rather like my Leatherman Skeletool. Although I realise multitools are never quite as good as a proper stand alone tool, I do find the little Skeletool a very handy thing to quickly pull from my pocket when I need to spontaneously sort something out on deck.

So I’ve probably forgotten something that I have, or maybe something that I really should have. Please add a comment if you have any suggestions

9 Responses

    1. Some are rather obscure. We used to sell them at Arthur Beale but they have stopped selling tools to focus on gifting and fashion. I used to visit the huge tool trade fair in Koln and search all the stands for interesting stuff! I hope your sail to Plymouth gets a bit easier, the wind hasn’t been fair to you.

  1. I recognise most of those tools! It’s a shame that Arthur Beale has stopped selling them. You’d created a great collection of differing tools that a sailor (stagehand or tool enthusiast) could buy from one place at a good price. I don’t have such a comprehensive tool kit, but if I did I’d add a small head torch to it. On my recent two week trip to the Western Isles I mislaid mine. Somehow I survived, managing to tie on fenders in the early hours approach to ports, but if I’d had to stick my head down in the bilges with a spanner then I’d have been stuffed! I didn’t do much reading in my bunk either. Have a great trip.

    1. Ah yes! I do have a head torch but it is getting very old. I was thinking of upgrading it until I remembered that it doesn’t get dark in Greenland in August so I decided to make do for another year. Very handy things, well spotted.
      Yes, a shame Arthur Beale are dropping tools. I spent about thirty years sourcing them! My old company Flints Theatrical may have some of them. Have you seen the trestle I designed called a PlanKform. Handy in the boatyard.

      1. Have I seen a PlanKform? I was the fella who had to package them up for despatch down in the basement of 194 Shaftesbury Avenue. 😂

  2. I bought a little quick stitching tool from Alasdair, at an Arthur Beale stall at St. Catherine’s.docks.some years.ago:
    very excellent and useful.

    1. That will be the Speedy Stitcher! The Speedy Stitcher thread is good too as it is the closest colour to most classic coloured ropes. Marlow whipping twine is far to pinky. Looks like your wind will swing to the north tomorrow and you will romp along!

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