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Building Moxie’s Parade of Tool Belts (2nd Annual)


Last year, around this time – I ran a rather tongue in cheek Parade of Tool Belts, the first ever.  And yes, it, in part, was a response to the countless holiday home tours you see this time of year.

That post actually originated out of my own search for a solid Christmas gift idea. Seeking help, I asked my building-type friends for their advice with picking a quality, “will last me a lifetime” toolbelt. In a private FB group, they (about seven guys) posted their setups. I then took the resulting images and, well, ran with them – creating the post.

In that process, I learned that toolbelts, especially, are highly individualized.  Many pros have multiple get-ups. These are often further customized. They synch with the myriad of tasks they perform regularly.  Set ups evolve over time and really, are never truly finalized.

Revisiting the First Annual Parade of Tool Belts

My family did pool, and I did receive the Occidental Pro Trimmer – which I asked for last year.

Now, because I typically store various hand tools in specialized tool boxes and tool bags, I seem to load my belts only on an “as needed basis.” Over the last few years, I have done a good bit of work high on ladders. For example, Installing Half Round Gutters, and as you can guess – this type of work requires, well, belted tools. Odd though, instead of using that new (and theoretically improved) belt, I found myself reaching for the same old, “what I knew.”

I did make a call for images in this recent post. I was a little surprised by the number of accomplished diyers who said they flat out do not own a toolbelt, let alone an apron. But I did receive a few responses representing both diyers, as well as the pros. So … without further adieu …

Building Moxie’s 2013 Parade of Toolbelts

– First up, Stephen Grudier:

Stephen says, “I still wear this once in a while but have become incredibly efficient at keeping my basic tools in my Carhartt pockets. Just a Lowe’s special from 12 years ago. When I wear it I usually have about 20 strips of nails in it so I can refill and refill all my help that doesn’t carry all the different nails.”

Stephen lives in Washington where “nail spec is heavy for earthquake.” Stephen is

– Next comes, Stacey Nachajski:

Stacey you may remember is the genius behind social media efforts for custom cabinetmaker – Crown Point Cabinetry.  Stacey and her husband are building a new home, diy-style in New Hampshire. Of this image she writes, “Here’s my husband, Mike (all the way on the right), and two of his buddies, Keith and Adam, putting on siding this fall.  My friend Emma, my painting helper for the day, looking out the window at me.”

– Next, we have Sal Donato, who I can credit with pointing me to my Pro Trimmer:

New Jersey-based Sal was an anchor in last year’s Parade. This year it is fun to have a look at his set up now to see how it has evolved. He sent three images, a Framing setup, a Trim setup and a Drywall setup.

Sal’s framing rig

Of the Framer, he says, “That setup is for framing, siding, and pretty much most everything that is not trim or drywall (my other two pouch setups). A home grown setup. Right bag: Oxy Strong Hold. Left bag: Oxy Finisher. Belt: Diamond Back. Back bag is a Dewalt maintenance pouch. I had bought a bunch of the different cheaper Dewalt bags years ago and always find a use for them.”

Sal’s trimmers rig

Of the Trimmer, “My most used. This is a Skillers rig that I have had for years and wind up always coming back to. It’s very easy to customize, and before they went out of business I bought just about every pouch they made and a spare belt. They are designed for an electrician, but I really like how everything has a place. It’s probably the reason I didn’t last with the Oxy Trimmers that I had last year. Also my work load seems to change so I am always evolving my setups for the jobs at hand that week/month/year. This year I am starting to specialize more in trim and hope to keep this rig around as it’s really improved my speed for doing crown and other interior trim.”

Sal’s drywall rig

Of the Drywall setup, “My little drywall installation setup. It’s an Oxy Strong Hold tool pouch. And a fastener pouch that happens to have zippers and a belt loop that Lowe’s and HD sell for storing small tools. I find it perfect to hold a couple types of screws and when I am done, I zipper them closed so not to loose any. Of course, there is a generic drill holster and tape pouch also on a nicely padded belt.”

– Next, Bob Kovacs:

Perhaps bragging a little, Bob sent only this image. He says, “Calculator is a Brookstone– no model number available. Pen is a Pilot G-2 0.5 tip, and the soda is a standard 12-oz Diet Coke.”  You can find Bob @ Green Barn Woodworks where he provides training, DIY assistance, and carpentry for residential clients. He is located in Holly Springs, Georgia.

–  Staying on the unconventional, Dria Szwarc:

Dria from DIO (Doing It Ourselves) Home Improvements sent this. Dria says, “I ALWAYS keep a hammer on every floor in my house (one in the bedroom on the second floor, one in the bathroom vanity on the first floor) and of course a few in the basement. I hate having to run down to the basement for some tools that get used frequently, so a hammer, drill and hand screw drivers I keep stashed throughout my house on every floor. For all the other tools/materials I may need i just grab a milk crate fill it with what I need and bring the crate up to whichever room I’m working in”.

I’ll add – for small project interior work I may opt for a milk crate or an empty shipping or old cardboard box myself. & I am definitely a fan of egg crates.

Lindy Weston (who I first learned about on Bob Borson’s Life of an Architect):

Lindy is a Dallas-based designer, photographer and electrician who frequently opts for a backpack. He will occasionally load a set of small Husky bags. Of this he says, “My tool belt is unique because it is intentionally small.  It requires me to be more efficient and think about what I am doing, in an effort to reduce the weight of my tool belt.  Less tools means less weight, and less fatigue at the end of the day. Less tools in my tool belt also means more trips up and down the ladder, if I haven’t planned my task carefully.  I found the individual tool bags at a local home improvement store, and I pair them with a regular work belt. This set-up works better for me than the traditional full tool bags because unnecessary tools cramp my style. I keep tools on my right side, and hardware in the left.”

To learn more about Lindy find him @

Aaron Gillison:

Sweet transitional set ups like Lindy’s bag make me think of Aaron Gillison’s post on the organized truck from earlier in the year. I asked Aaron for image of one of his belts and he shot this over. He says only, “Those are Occidental leather Pro Trimmers.”

Aaron is Aaron Gillison Custom Construction.

– Lastly, I have Barry Morgan:

You may remember Barry. (Again we see an evolution over last year.) Of his setup, Barry says, “We are called upon to do many different types of jobs, so, I have a loose belt system in which I attach the pouches I need for the work at hand, and draw my tools from a central open top bag.“


And that concludes the 2013 Parade of Toolbelts and I’d like to thank everyone who sent images. Again the First Annual version is here >> Building Moxie’s First Annual Parade of Tool Belts.

Here’s to happy and efficient working in 2014. Feel free to send images for the round-up anytime. For now, in the Comments, I would love to know how you wield your tools. Peace.

~ jb

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