Like knife rolls, tool rolls are a great way to transport a collection of implements in a compact and secure package. There seems to be a greater variety of tool rolls than knife rolls on the market, perhaps due to the broader categories of trades that need to carry the former. Here we'll look at some of the styles available.
The Mopha Tool Roll (available at our own Hand-Eye Supply) seen up top is great if you have just a few tools to transport, like to make a few quick and specific types of repairs on your bike. Those with more expansive tool collections would probably gravitate towards larger rolls like these:
These two tool rolls look like they'll do an excellent job of keeping their wares secure in transit, and the socket pockets on the green one are a nice touch, but neither well addresses the problem of how to store objects with similar handles and yet still make them visually distinct (so you can quickly grab the one you need). Those of us with legacy tool collections are not going to want to purchase new ones with color-coordinated handles. We could take the time to put differently-colored strips of electrical tape on the handles of different tools, but I want the object to suit my needs, not the other way around.
One way to visually expose the tools is to minimize the securing mechanism, as seen in this replica of a 1914 Brooks Motorcyle tool roll. However, given that it lacks sides, I'm not sure how confident I'd feel about the screwdriver and one-sided wrench on the left remaining securely in place during transit.
On the other hand this bespoke Bob Smith Coachworks leather tool roll, a replica of the kind that came with the Ferrari 250, does a beautiful job of not only keeping the tools secure, but revealing them completely by means of the unfolding side flaps.
While we're looking at tool rolls designed for specific vehicles, here's an old one carried by the Royal Australian Electrical and Mechanical Engineers corps in the '50s and '60s to repair army trucks. Design-wise it maintains a middle ground between clear visibility and tool density.
This 21-tool roll for woodcarvers exposes the variety of blades necessitated by that trade by using clear vinyl.
Ditto with this one, although the way the tools are arrayed in the photo appears to be incorrect. I imagine they're meant to go into the vinyl parts blade-first, staggered top and bottom, with the handles in the center.
There are tons of tool roll plans online, and if you have access to a sewing machine with a decent amount of power (to punch through canvas or duck), it's a simple and straightforward project.
With these two, the creator has gone the extra mile and embroidered the tool specs on the individual pockets, another way to get around the identification problem.
Have a favorite tool roll design of your own? Leave us a comment with a link.