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Building Moxie’s 1st Annual Parade of Tool Belts :: Quick Shopping Tips


In this article, readers and friends submit their tool belt set-ups. With them, I think we get some practical advice on purchasing and utilizing. How to Set Up a Tool Belt.

Read on to see how the “Parade” came into being or Jump to the Parade below for more useful info. Including what I learned and some Buying Tips.

Throughout, I link to belts mentioned on Amazon. In all cases I tried to find the best deal. If purchased there, I should mention we receive a small commission.

Thanks and Enjoy! ~jb, Editor @



I’ll admit it, I was kicking around the idea of doing a holiday home round up. My editorial calendar said to do it. The pretty trees and the ultra stylized decorations from many of the folks, I mean – how could you not get a little warm and fuzzy about this season?

Then, some ideas: a Building Moxie Holiday Home Tour, a (much-requested and long-overdue) Building Moxie Holiday Gift Guide, BUT … and then … you have probably already seen a few. (I know I have.)

* THE QUESTION: What Do You Want for Christmas?

Now, around this same time, and as a certain yearly occurrence, I was starting to get THE QUESTION, “What do you want for Christmas?” (Stock Answer: “Nothing but your love Mom!” Really. … and thank you.)

Fortunately this year, and truth – I kinda already knew what I wanted. Still, though, the always unavoidable … legwork. So I dialed up Barry first, then moved on to Facebook.  Sharing with a small group of friends there, this is how I presented it:

Advice. I think it’s time in life to find *my* tool belt. Have a “rig”. I like it, it’s sturdy I can move the pouches, but I find that stuff flops around in them. End up, usually opting for a small leather belt (with suspenders and really have no idea what the brand is). But it seems to get too stuft too quick and the pockets could be a little more forward. I carry the basics: Hammer, tape, pencil, scribe, punches, 5-in-1 tool, utility knife, small pry bar, paint key, speed square, and I swap out on the given project. I’d love to do leather again with suspenders/harness. Would love to hear your thoughts on brands I should look at. thanks all. happy week.

[Insert banter back and forth here]

Then! And almost like magic, one name emerged.

Occidental Leather aka

Made in the USA.  Simple, for my holiday gift picking … right?… Well, ummm … not!

I mean – Occidental has like a gagillion options to choose from. Most belts are customizable with pouches, holders, holsters, clips and such. They call it “Leather,” but the list of materials runs on.

There are options by, well, let’s call it … task. For the electrician, the framer, the trimmers, guys like me … and stop already! There are “belt-less systems” and vests, and more I’m sure. It’s enough really for one to get lost, or at least work up a mild cramp drilling the Back button.

[Insert transition here]

* From a Few Facebook Pics to a Parade

Next, a strange thing then happened. Just as these same guys have, in the past, shared images of their (tool) storage and transportation solutions (usually to illustrate a point) – a handful began posting, well, their tool belts.

What unfolded, in my eyes – a kind of Tool Belts on Parade.  And over the next couple of days, it became clear to me that they (the tool belts) might actually be a little bit like a calling card. A sorta *ahem* holiday front door to the soul. (ha!) A little bit of an indication of what you’re getting with the guys that wear them. Or at least, a tell of what they are working on, well, right now.

So …

[Insert editorial legwork here]

And without further adieu …

Building Moxie‘s 2012 (and perhaps the First Ever, Anywhere) … Parade of Tool Belts

* First up, Jason Whipple

Jason’s 5191 Pro Carpenter Oxy.  He says, “Love these to death. Took a while to get use to the holders where they are situated, but they work great for me now. The lamb’s wool lining is awesome!”

Jason is a carpenter with a penchant for historic preservation. He is based out of Middletown, OH and can be found @


* Next, Josh Buesking

Josh shared two. “The one on the left is for rough. Right is for finish,” he said.  AWP and Oxy (I believe), and you know how I feel about suspenders!

Josh is in Louisville KY. While he does a lot of things, he says – “Commercial metal work is my main strength.”


* Brian Campbell

And his Oxy Tool Chest, next.  He calls this, “My set-up for trim.”

You may remember Brian is a Master Carpenter based out of St. Paul, MN. His business Facebook page is @


* Next, Jeff Crompton

Jeff posted these pouches which he says he sometimes pairs with a Blaklader vest.  Continuing, he adds, “I switched to the padded belt and a Fastcap hammer sling a few year’s back.”

Jeff is a Carpenter out of Essex, MA.  He specializes in interior and exterior trim, and is a master with siding and flashing details.  He says he’s been doing some framing lately.


* Then, Sal Donato

I have to thank Sal for getting this whole thing rolling.  Of his Oxy Pro Trimmer, he says, “More than big enough!”  He also shares his Task Pouch here, but claims he’s had virtually every set-up imaginable through the years.

Sal is the owner/operator of Westwood, NJ’s BSA Renovations.  He focuses on interior and exterior custom carpentry.



* Barry

Barry sends his, and in classic Barry-form, he adds simply, “By the time you get yours exactly right, you’ll be too old to wear it.”


* Yours Truly

Then, well, finally, there’s me – your faithful … maintenance man. McGuire-Nicholas at left & a no-namer at right. (See above for details.)



And that concludes this year’s Parade.

If I have it my way, my 2013 edition will include the below items.

And anyway, a very special thanks to all the guys above for their advice and for sharing so freely their set-ups.

* Lessons Learned :: Shopping for a Tool Belt

What I learned … shopping for and wearing tool belts is really like honing any other system.  It’s a process of figuring out what set-up works best… for you.  (It is something that may take many years.)  And as many of these guys, and Barry, suggested, there may not be just one tool belt that is right for each individual, let alone every individual, including me.  Like I had in the past, and swapping out, these guys too will use different set-ups for different, well, jobs.

More: For much more comprehensive guide, see these additional tips on partner site – Choosing the Best Tool Belt Rig.

– Thanks again all, and back to your holiday shopping. This post, it should be noted, was wholly un-sponsored.

To see the 2nd Annual Parade of ToolBelts, for more tips and advice, click there. ~jb

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