What’s In Your Toolbox?

Invest in high quality tools and equipment, making sure to keep them all in good working order.

What does ‘toolbox’ mean to you? Everyone’s toolbox is personal. The term toolbox can mean the same as container or tote. A toolbox can be a five-gallon plastic bucket with a heavy cloth jacket to hold tools in an organized manner or just the bucket itself.

It may mean a rolling workstation with built-in workbench or a simple wooden tray that holds the tools you need for a specific job. While some people prefer a small lightweight toolbox dedicated to a certain type of job, others try to cram everything they need into one carrying case. A briefcase can also be a toolbox.

Is there a special brand of toolbox, tote or pouch you like? The choices are almost endless, with some locksmiths carrying a specific toolbox for each specialty area and some fitting everything into a general toolbox.

Popular toolboxes have separators and pouches that permit organizing tools. These formed plastic boxes come in dozens of sizes and styles and offer a variety of compartment sizes. Another handy choice offers a specially designed pouch type of toolbox that fits over the edge of a standard five-gallon bucket.

For the purposes of this article, we’ll look at toolbox types and focus on different popular tools for each of seven different categories: General, Car Opening, Automotive Service, Installation, Aluminum Storefront, Safes and Electronics.


Here is a suggested list of things that should be carried in a toolbox used for general work including bids, surveys or job walks. A simple digital camera with removable memory can record detailed images of doors, frames, installations and applications on a job, allowing you to review the pictures at a later time for quoting/bidding on a job. It also allows you to show someone else a specific situation when you may need help solving the security solution. Note: No job is too small not to use a digital camera for the purpose of photographing doors, frames, hardware and locks.

Remembering everything a customer discusses regarding a job is hard to recall the next day. A pad and pencil or clipboard gives you a place to make notes for later review.

Always carry a supply of business cards, company brochures and a receipt book in a sealable plastic bag to keep them clean and pristine. You will always being able to identify yourself and present your customer with pertinent information.

Duct tape can be written on and used to protect the surfaces. As an alternative you can use the blue masking tape. Blue masking tape can be written on and easily removed without leaving an adhesive residue.

A good quality tape measure eliminates guesswork on dimensions.

Screwdrivers come in all forms. One handy tool is a four-way or multi-tip screwdriver that contains large and small tips for slotted, Phillips and other applications. Multi-tip screwdrivers include sets of tools or individual replaceable tips that conquer hex/pin, tamper resistant, Torx, one-way and other specialty fasteners.

Hex or Allen wrenches are available in small or larger foldout sets. Do not skimp by purchasing cheap needle-nose pliers, locking pliers and standard pliers. A craftsman is known for the quality of his/her tools. They should always be designed for heavy use and not picked from the 99-cent barrel. Tru-arc pliers come in internal and external designs with some tools having the ability to interchange for both applications.

A heavy utility knife is essential along with various files. Coarse and fine types of triangular files, round files, flat files and pippin files allow an infinite adjustment of fit and finish for lock and key work. Taps and dies allow re-threading of a mortise lock body or threaded cylinder or simple drilling and tapping of a hole to accept a specific size of threaded bolt or screw.

Stamp sets offer a way to mark key blanks with identifying information. The combination of letters and numbers can identify where a key fits or to whom it was issued.

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