Each year I gift my twin boys with one tool for their birthdays.
Our society has become increasingly specialized, disposable, and planned obsolescence has led to tons of fixable items being trashed on a daily basis.
As a parent it is my responsibility to teach my kids critical thinking skills in all areas of life. One of those areas is mending and repairing items when they break or creating new items out of available materials rather than discarding and always purchasing new.
In order to fix broken items you have to have the proper tools.
The problem with high quality, lifetime tools is that they are expensive.
In writing out a list of basic tools I’d like my kids to be proficient with by the time they move out I quickly realized that a complete kit would be very expensive indeed – most likely ending up in purchasing mediocre tools to save some money if purchased all at once.
Instead, I’ve started a tool-a-year gift for their birthdays.
Every year I buy each child one tool of excellent quality. Over the years they will learn how to use these tools correctly and leave our home with a kit that will last a lifetime and, most importantly, the knowledge and experience to use them.
This tool-a-year project spreads out the financial cost of quality tools over many years and also gives them personal items that they can learn to use and be responsible to care for.
I feel compelled to state that although I only have sons, rest assured that if I had daughters they would be receiving these gifts as well and would be held to the same expectations.
Tool-a-year gifts really excite me and I know my boys will appreciate them for years to come. There will be many memories made using these tools and I expect they’ll become something the boys can share with their children in the future.
I hope my tool-a-year project has inspired you and that you’ll consider enabling your children to be handy and resourceful as well, one year at a time.
Keep reading and learn about this year’s gift – the best one yet!
THIS YEARS GIFT
This year I decided that a toolbox would be the gifted item. I wanted something compact yet large enough to hold a full-size hammer and folding saw.
I headed to the local hardware store to peruse the options. I quickly decided that a 16 inch box might be too small yet a 24 inch box was definitely too big.
It was also apparent that the flimsy plastic on most of the handheld boxes would not hold up to years of use by children learning to take care of belongings and still serve its function on into their adulthood.
What did catch my eye though was the structural foam boxes that many big brands are now offering in stackable configurations. (Click here for an example)
After inspecting the options available locally, I came home and made a wish list of what a perfect toolbox for this application might look like.
The Perfect Handheld Toolbox:
- Durable Materials
a. Structural foam construction is what I wanted. The thin flimsy plastic just wasn’t going to hold up for 30+ years and although metal is an option it is significantly heavier and subject to rusting.
a. At least 18” long but no longer than 22”. I wanted it big enough to hold a basic, thorough, hand tool set (minus cordless drill & driver) yet not be too big as to be cumbersome.
a. I wanted black or grey and as plain as possible. I’m not a huge fanboy of any brand and really wanted the personalization aspect of these toolboxes to stand out – not a huge logo of yellow letters or a bright red and black color scheme that screams “steal me I contain valuable tools!”
b. I also wanted to personalize these toolboxes – make them more than just a toolbox – so there needed to be an obvious space to add the boys’ initials as well.
a. I wanted a removable tray – the toolbox I’ve been using during road trips and military moves for the past 10 years has one and it really helps keep things organized.
Four main criteria, shouldn’t be too hard to fill right?
I spent many days and countless hours scouring tool store websites searching for something that met all of these criteria. I almost got to the point of compromising when I stumbled upon the perfect box.
I don’t recall exactly how I wandered my way through the internet rabbit holes to come across this box but I’m glad I did.
THE PERFECT TOOLBOX
The box I chose is made by Contico (www.contico.com/tuff-box) and it fills every criteria:
- Made from structural foam
- 20 inches in length
- Solid color with plain design and an obvious location for personalization
- Removable tray
- BONUS: Made in the USA!
Jumping onto etsy.com I quickly found what I was looking for. I made a custom order through MadRiverLaser (www.madriverlaser.com) The shop owner, Nicole Pratt, worked with me to create them exactly as I envisioned and they turned out perfectly! Check out the product, customizable options ,and her other pieces here – MadRiverLaser Etsy Store.
Again, going for durability and longevity, I decided rivets would be a better attachment option over screws. I ordered a rivet gun and after drilling two holes into the toolboxes, attached the nameplates.
Don’t they look awesome?!
I’m incredibly happy with how these turned out. These are pieces that my boys will get use out of for decades to come and they are unique to each of them.