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Building a Case for Measuring Tools Without Damaging Them

Euclidean

Aluminum
Joined
Dec 13, 2020
I plan on building a case for my measuring tools similar to the one in the attached picture. We have an exotic hardwood supplier nearby with some beautiful wood in stock.

The concept is similar to the picture attached but the plan is to make it somewhat bigger as to fit the calipers the micrometer next to the square. Additionally, I plan on using the lid to store the spring divider set. Unlike the attached photograph, I plan to both sides of the box for storage.

My question is what is the best way to secure these tools so they aren’t going to be damaged if the case is held on its side during transport. I’m thinking of either using foam liners. Or, should I go with a routed option like Starrett and Mitutoyo make for their squares (like this person did Making a Wooden Caliper Case - YouTube

My cabinetmaker friends suggested just using little wooden turnbuckles which would make lid storage easier but I don’t want to damage the square’s blade or harm the micrometer/calipers if the box his held upright. What do you think is the best route to go with this project?

s-l225.jpg
 

Cyclotronguy

Stainless
Joined
Sep 21, 2005
Location
Northern California
Many of the foams degrade and the residue is corrosive, even to satin chrome pieces.. no foam!

Instrument cases were were traditionally mahogany

Oak is bad because of the tannic acid.. but having said that I made a from fitting case for a sinebar out of red oak and sealed it with nothing more sophisticated than tung oil. It's lived in that case for 40 years, and it's still spotless
 

EPAIII

Diamond
Joined
Nov 23, 2003
Location
Beaumont, TX, USA
The first thing I think about when storing my measuring tools is rust. I do not want anything that will suck the oil film of of them and bare wood certainly qualifies for that. So does foam and felt. Varnishing the wood would work for a while, but that finish will chip and wear off and you are back to bare wood exactly where the tools are in constant contact with it.

What would I use? Wood is OK for the outer box, but I would use other materials for the inside parts that touch the tools. Plastic, aluminum, brass ??? Something that does not absorb oil or grease.

As for retaining the tools, I would take a clue from the drill index boxed. They are designed so that closing the box automatically retains the drills while opening it allows free and easy access. You would need to apply this idea to each tool individually. You may need a center partition to hold the retainers or even the tools. But if you are clever, those retainers, perhaps just pins, can be placed on the top for the bottom's tools and on the bottom for the top's tools.



I plan on building a case for my measuring tools similar to the one in the attached picture. We have an exotic hardwood supplier nearby with some beautiful wood in stock.

The concept is similar to the picture attached but the plan is to make it somewhat bigger as to fit the calipers the micrometer next to the square. Additionally, I plan on using the lid to store the spring divider set. Unlike the attached photograph, I plan to both sides of the box for storage.

My question is what is the best way to secure these tools so they aren’t going to be damaged if the case is held on its side during transport. I’m thinking of either using foam liners. Or, should I go with a routed option like Starrett and Mitutoyo make for their squares (like this person did Making a Wooden Caliper Case - YouTube

My cabinetmaker friends suggested just using little wooden turnbuckles which would make lid storage easier but I don’t want to damage the square’s blade or harm the micrometer/calipers if the box his held upright. What do you think is the best route to go with this project?

View attachment 318304
 

Euclidean

Aluminum
Joined
Dec 13, 2020
As for retaining the tools, I would take a clue from the drill index boxed. They are designed so that closing the box automatically retains the drills while opening it allows free and easy access. You would need to apply this idea to each tool individually. You may need a center partition to hold the retainers or even the tools. But if you are clever, those retainers, perhaps just pins, can be placed on the top for the bottom's tools and on the bottom for the top's tools.

Thanks for the reply! I'm having trouble visualizing the drill index. But I do see what you mean about using retainers around the tools. If I put the retainers around, say, the head of the square, should that be enough to hold it in place so that the square's blade won't get damaged if the box is placed on its side for transport?
 

Euclidean

Aluminum
Joined
Dec 13, 2020
How about putting a thin layer of wood between the upper and lower halves, you would open it out flat, then unlatch the thin layer to access the top. Line with felt of your color preference.

I was thinking about that! I would take it one step further and do some laser engraving on each layer. Would have to make the hinges work somehow.
 

HuFlungDung

Diamond
Joined
Jan 19, 2005
Location
Canada
One thing that has always pissed me off about the boxes that tools come in, is that most of the time, you have to waste perfectly good time adjusting your micrometers to 'halfway' closed so the damn lid will close. I can see the same thing happening with all your spring calipers there, the damn box won't close unless you crank them all just a certain way. Bah. Humbug.

Better off to make an envelope or partition type storage case that you can just drop the caliper into, no matter what opening it is set at. You could partition it however you want. But don't just make a tool coffin that doesn't really work for you. Maybe use actual leather. Or plastic.

Some guys make nifty storage inserts with a 3d printer.
 

donie

Diamond
Joined
May 17, 2003
Location
Walla Walla Wine and Wild Turkey
Here is another idea, called "French Pocket", the items profile is cut into a piece of wood, the pocket is padded and lined with satin or felt.
This box I made for a single Colt revolver, but more pockets can be added, for various tools, keeping them separated.

jIDMtFn.jpg


With the lid closed, it doesnt even rattle when shook.
 

HuFlungDung

Diamond
Joined
Jan 19, 2005
Location
Canada
Here is another idea, called "French Pocket", the items profile is cut into a piece of wood, the pocket is padded and lined with satin or felt.
This box I made for a single Colt revolver, but more pockets can be added, for various tools, keeping them separated.

jIDMtFn.jpg


With the lid closed, it doesnt even rattle when shook.

See what I mean? You can't even put that gun away with the hammer cocked! :D
 

thermite

Diamond
Joined
Sep 21, 2011
Location
Sol, Terra
See what I mean? You can't even put that gun away with the hammer cocked! :D

Why would one put a GUN "away" unless it WAS a cherished heirloom / collector's item / "decorator"?

The one's that must be to-hand in the case they are called on to work for a living spend their days in rapid-access situations. Few of those are much to look at. "Handsome is, as handsome does," and function is all she wrote!

Joke of the age was the late Ian Fleming having his "James Bond" uber-expert 007 carry a slab sided semi-auto in the famous "Berns-Martin Triple Draw" holster.

It was famous enough in its day, yes. Fleming had noticed THAT much.

But it was famous for how well it held a revolver!

Only!

:D

Joke number two? Same folks involved in a seriously good wheelgun holster had also done a sheath for the most uselessly contrived and over-rated "combat" knives ever to actually go into production. Blade was OK. Grip was a bad joke for anyone with hands larger than a three year-old. Go figure it lasted too long in comic books.
 

JST

Diamond
Joined
Jun 16, 2001
Location
St Louis
I understand the comment about foam, although not for the same reasons. I do not understand the comments about wood and felt.

I have tools that have lived in plain wood boxes for decades, with no issues at all. Not in controlled environments.

I have tools that have lived in felt lined boxes, some in formed pockets for those tools, for decades, no issues.

The felt I have glued down myself in some of them, using diluted hide glue. Zero problems.

The only problem I have ever seen was with felt glued down using yellow wood glue, which I did many years ago...once. Left it to dry for a couple weeks, but when the tools were put in their holders, after a bit I noticed a hazy stain on them where they touched the felt.

It was the glue. When I cleaned the parts, and redid the felt using hide glue, after removing the old glue (sanded/planed it off) the problems disappeared, and never came back.

Foam seems to tend to hold moisture and rust tools, and some seems to have a corrosive breakdown product. Some foams are OK, but it is difficult to know what you really have.

Boxes like that picture often seem to be the least efficient containers, space-wise. And calipers of that type are just as well rolled up in a pocketed cloth tool roll and put in a toolbox. That will protect them, assuming it is not put in with the hammers.

Spring calipers are useful tools, and worthy of reasonable protection, but are not gold bullion, nor artwork. I don't think they need a "presentation box" of the sort shown. I'd put mics, indicators, dial calipers, or specialty measuring stuff in that general sort of box (more efficiently though) but likely not spring calipers. I have a box like that which will hold the "King-Way" tool copy that I made, for instance.
 

thermite

Diamond
Joined
Sep 21, 2011
Location
Sol, Terra
The first thing I think about when storing my measuring tools is rust. I do not want anything that will suck the oil film of of them and bare wood certainly qualifies for that. So does foam and felt. Varnishing the wood would work for a while, but that finish will chip and wear off and you are back to bare wood exactly where the tools are in constant contact with it.

What would I use? Wood is OK for the outer box, but I would use other materials for the inside parts that touch the tools. Plastic, aluminum, brass ??? Something that does not absorb oil or grease.
Seen more attempts than enough to protect the surfaces of finely-finished metals. Old Skewl velvet isn't TERRIBLE. Nor is rebonded cork. Still imperfect. Still can spot or stain.

Gave up on that war.

The bang-sticks get blue-bagged.

The metrology and fine tooling see a periodic rotation of fresh VPI/first-cousin paper under the drawer liner/pad. The vapour works. But the paper is out of the way of being torn. Bulky stuff gets a wrap of paper. Long-storage, low-use get a loos sheet lad atop before shuttgn the case.

Just remember to refresh it once a year or so, not let it decay until it becomes a part of the problem instead of the main line of a solution.

Not pretty? Agreed. It is not "pretty". At all.

Xin Loy!

But the goods it protects look just fine when extracted to the light of day!

Which WAS the plan...
 

Street

Hot Rolled
Joined
Apr 16, 2015
Location
Melbourne Victoria Australia
second not using foam at all really bad for corrosion.

where you store them is important too....too much variance in temp is bad and low temps below dew point are bad as well.

Old cases i have are wood painted and it works so why not go for that.

Pockets look nifty if you can do that as well.

Thermites post about the paper VCI vapour corrosion inhibitors is good info ...a tested product but renew periodically.
 

Euclidean

Aluminum
Joined
Dec 13, 2020
Here is another idea, called "French Pocket", the items profile is cut into a piece of wood, the pocket is padded and lined with satin or felt.
This box I made for a single Colt revolver, but more pockets can be added, for various tools, keeping them separated.

jIDMtFn.jpg


With the lid closed, it doesnt even rattle when shook.

That is some beautiful woodworking.

This is exactly the type of case I'd like to make, if I can figure out lid storage with retainers.
 

Euclidean

Aluminum
Joined
Dec 13, 2020
This would work well, making the case lid as storage also.
I just made a couple of boxes for single tools, I will dig those out.

I'd love to see your work.

How would you layout the hinge configuration with two thin layers on each side?
 

donie

Diamond
Joined
May 17, 2003
Location
Walla Walla Wine and Wild Turkey
Right here where all my diabolical ideas are hatched, on the un-hackable drafting table with full awfulmatic paper weight!
These two boxes made of western maple, with box joint corners
B174hi2.jpg
, and cheap hardware.

The box for the deep hole indicator was needed, before it ended up on the floor, that thing does not sit well on anything, it has a back plunger.
The box for my old import grinding vice was just added on to the effort.

yPKoiZO.jpg


Dont use western maple, I have to rip cut and laminate the wood so it doesnt warp!
 

DDoug

Diamond
Joined
Oct 18, 2005
Location
NW Pa
Velcro could be employed, straps so the tools don't have to be adjusted to a certain size (as mentioned above)
Wood ribs with slots for the majority of the holding, velcro strap to come over top
and retain.
 

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