PHOTO: J. Keeler Johnson
August 8, 2017

Farmers need a lot of tools. It’s a fact of life, and of course, those tools are all completely necessary … and, well, rather fun, too, regardless of whether you’re engaged in construction, tractor maintenance or fence repair.

Keeping so many tools organized, though can be a challenge, albeit an enjoyable challenge. One way is to simply have all of your tools in one place, lined up on shelves or on a pegboard where you can easily find each one. But if you’re a bit more ambitious, you can create separate tool boxes for different projects, filling each box with all the tools and supplies that you might want for that particular task.

As an example, I have created a special tool box containing all the tools and supplies needed for fence repair. I can’t tell you how much time it saves to have everything in one place when I’m heading out to work on a fence repair project—I just grab the tool box and run, without having to stop and gather all of the appropriate tools and supplies.

Basically, my fence repair tool box is a three-layered box. The top layer (built into the lid of the box) comprises numerous small compartments, the middle layer (which is removable) features a few bigger compartments, and the bottom layer is open and much more spacious to allow room for larger tools.

Of course, the exact tools and supplies that you might choose to keep in such a tool box depends on the types of fences that you have on your farm. My tool box is geared toward repairing and maintaining electric wire fences, but you can modify my approach to suit your needs.

Here’s how I have organized my three-layer fence repair tool box.

Layer 1

The many small compartments (which seal tightly when the lid is shut) are perfect for organizing tiny objects, so this is the layer where I keep screws, nails, bolts, zip ties, electric wire insulators and similar supplies, all separated by type and size. I also keep several types and sizes of drill bits in this layer of the tool box, even though I generally recommend that you stick with a single type of screws.

Having a tightly sealed lid that separates each compartment has the added benefit of keeping everything sorted in the event that you drop your tool box or it tips over, which would otherwise create quite a mess.

Layer 2

With its larger compartments, the second layer is good for medium-size tools used in fence repair such as pliers of all sorts (including locking pliers), wire cutters, a tape measure and a utility knife. The fact that this layer is removable (with a handle so that you can carry it around) makes it even more ideal for holding frequently used tools such as these.

Layer 3

The bottom of the tool box is where I keep the largest fence repair tools, such as a hammer, a ratchet (somewhat like this one) for tightening electric fence wires, and a fence voltage tester to check that the fence is working properly at any given location. Unfortunately, the tool box isn’t quite wide enough to hold an electric drill, but this is probably just as well. After all, my electric drill receives such frequent use on other projects that it surely wouldn’t remain in a specific tool box for long.

Of course, a few other necessary tools don’t fit either—a shovel and a digging bar, for example—but overall, organizing a specific fence repair tool box has turned out to be a great decision that makes it much simpler and quicker to work on fencing projects.


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