Need a quick present for a handy someone on your list? A tool roll could be it. If it’s a family member you may be able to sneak their wrench set away and make a tool roll for it, or just buy new wrenches and personalize it with a tool roll cover. It seems like every wrench set is different, so you’ll need to adjust the sizes I give below to the set you end up with. I bought a Pittsburgh SAE 9-piece combination wrench set from Harbor Freight for the roll cover below.
Material for Tool Roll
I was able to use scraps from the recent canvas work I’ve been doing. I used Sunbrella for the cover, some abrasion-resistant Odyssey for the liner, and webbing straps and sew-on velcro for the straps. Use whatever robust material you have – the wrenches are heavy and their open mouths tend to cut material if it’s not abrasion resistant.
For the 9-wrench set I used a piece of sunbrella cut to 14″ x 24.5″ and a piece of Odyssey liner at 13″ x 23.5″. You’ll need to lay out your own set to figure out the right size. Lay the wrenches out in the middle of the material and fold the bottom up to just under the heads of the wrenches. Then fold the top down so it extends just over the bottom and hides the wrench heads. Use these measurements as a place to start and test:
- Length: (height of wrenches x 2) + 2 or more inches for overlap of cover + 1″ for seam allowances
- Width: Width of wrenches laid comfortably next to each other + 1″ for seam allowances
- Liner sizes: same as above – 1″ each dimension.
Make the straps extra long and cut them off to size in the last step.
Other material that is useful but not essential is a strip of insignia stick-on dacron tape for marking which wrench goes where. You can also use a Sharpie or other marking pen, but if you use a dark cover material it may be difficult to read.
Making the Tool Roll, Step by Step
Hem Edges with Liner Inside
Lay the liner on top of the cover material with about 1/2″ left all around. Using seam stick tape fold over an edge of the cover material so it covers the liner material. Repeat for all four sides.
Sew down all four edges so that the liner is trapped inside the hems of the cover.
Sew Bottom of Roll
Fold up the bottom edge so that the largest wrench will fit with just the head showing. Sew as narrow a seam as you can, just enough to make your bottom edge of the roll. Leave the sides open for now.
Sew on Straps and Half of Velcro
The straps have to be sewn on before the sides are sewn. One strap should wrap around just where the wrench heads will be when the cover is complete – above the turned up edge you just made. The other strap will be just an inch or so above the bottom hem you just made – this strap will hold the handles of the wrench secure. Turn the cover over and mark just where the wrench heads will hit, and add a second mark just above the bottom hem.
With the outside of the cover up (liner is facing down), lay out the straps so they overlap the cover and extend off the cover. Using seamstick stick down the webbing and then stick down a piece of velcro on top. Sew the velcro and strap to the cover (making sure not to also sew down the flap!) I like to put the softer side of the velcro on the case and the stiffer side on the other end of the strap, but it really doesn’t matter.
Turn the cover over so that you can see the interior liner. Sew the left and right side hems to make a large pocket to put the wrenches in.
Mark and Sew Division between Wrenches
With the liner showing, lay the wrenches on top of the pocket and spread them evenly across the pocket. Mark a chalk line between each pair of wrenches at the top of the pocket.
Remove the wrenches and mark the lines all the way down the pocket.
Sew a seam down each line, reversing at each end to lock in the pocket. Trim the thread ends and add the insignia tape to the top of the pocket.
Put the wrenches back in and mark the diagonal seam that will keep the shorter wrenches in place. Remove the wrenches and sew the seam. Now mark the correct wrench sizes at the top of each pocket. Put the wrenches back into their pockets for the next step.
Fold the top flap over the wrenches and roll up starting from the side that doesn’t have the straps attached. Wrap the strap around the roll and mark where the strap end crosses the velcro on the roll itself. If the straps extend past the velcro, cut them off. Use a hot knife or flame to seal the ends of the webbing. Do this for both straps.
Sew the velcro on the opposite side of the strap from where you marked – if the roll is facing up with the wrenches showing then the velcro on the loose end of the strap should also be showing.
You’re done! Wrap it up and give it to that handy person you love.
Another idea…use elastic(of your choice for hardiness and desired color-black would be my choice) loops sewn on two edges to close up the roll, easier to expand around roll and doesn’t attract lint/gunk like the Velcro will eventually?
Great idea! I do find though that elastic doesn’t last forever either. I think the best bet for longevity is to not use them near battery acid! That’s what did the last set in after 12 years of use!