What has it got in its pocketses?

Well, quite a lot, as it turns out…

two penknives, a screwdriver, some dice, a penny, and a bike lightFront right pocket: The wooden and brass penknife is blunt on purpose, and I use it for cutting the glue on watercolour block. It’s a very specialised tool. It does also get used as a butter spreader in emergencies. The tiny blue screwdriver set is from tinamous, a company run by a friend of mine. It’s got three bits in. I’ve ground down the smaller flathead so that it can repair eye glasses, and the small crosshead is a size smaller than the screwdriver set you’re going to see later. The larger flathead is about the right size for small choccy blocks and anything too small for my other set. The bigger knife is one I have to leave behind or put safely in my bag if I’m going out, but when I’m opening packages or need an emergency teaspoon, it’s vital. It’s by Webley, and I bought it because it opens easily with one hand, for when my other hand is full of something that needs cutting. I’ve replaced the rubber grips on the side, after they perished, with some leather that I superglued into place and then trimmed to profile. Occasionally I put some oil onto it, and I keep it pretty blunt, because it stays in my pocket when I’m at home, and a sharp knife can ruin both your day and your ability to bend your index finger. I also keep my change in this pocket. Currently I am low on cash.

The dice are because I find them around the house from time to time, from gaming sets, and because they are a good demo piece for the Warco mill I sometimes teach on. If you can make one of those, you know a lot about how to make things.

The bike light needs repair, as the rubber band has broken. As it’s a small thing I’ve stuck it into my pocket to help me remember, and some day soon I’ll pick up a new rubber band. A rubber washer in the right size is ideal and much cheaper than the replacement part.

Keys, a square nut, a skate bearing, earphones, and a glasses clothThe left pocket has my keys, here carefully arranged so they cannot be 3D printed from an image of them, and a huge amount of data on the keyring. That silvery flash drive is pretty old now, but when I got it, it was the size of some commercially available drives. I have high quality images of paintings and I like things being backed up. The other drives do different work, and the /other/ silvery flash drive is usually a disk image, so I can deal with broken computers wherever I go. Not that I’ll admit to this, of course. Then, the glasses cloth is very useful for my specs, and I like being able to see. The headphones were a surprisingly good buy. In not having them tangled up and annoying me, and because they have a hard case that protects them, they have lasted literally for years. When the last set fell apart I took them back to the Apple store and explained the problem, and they just gave me a new set, so one purchase has lasted five years or so, and saved me a lot of money and aggro along the way. That’s a really good example of a thing I would buy again. The nail clippers are a single-use tool. I have very soft nails, and it’s worth having a thing to shape them so they don’t keep on breaking.

Things like nuts tend to accumulate in my pockets as I find them after I’ve tidied up. When I am in the right place and I remember, I unload them to wherever they go. The skate bearing is sort of a fiddle toy. The headphone package does the same thing for me, letting me keep my fingers busy while I stare at them and think. I don’t like fidget spinners, because the idea of spending money on things I already have annoys me. I’ll probably tidy away the bearing at some point, but I don’t have any that match it, and it’s not a size I tend to use, so I’ve got to find a place for it, and in the mean time it can keep me company.

Brass spork, drill bit collection in holder, cloth bagIn summer I wear cargo pants, meaning I have thigh pockets. The right hand thigh has my brass spork in it. It’s more of a sp’rk, as it’s very short. I made it myself, and I think I should probably make a steel one, but the brass is fine for the moment. In the winter I’m in jeans and the sp’rk fits exactly over my right hip-bone, in the mini pocket there. The drill bits are 1/4″ and they come in a packet that has an impact driver protector with them – the green and black part. That will help protect the bits from the slamming action of a drill. I tend to use these as part of a hand screwdriver, but it’s worth keeping them in the packet and thus I keep the impact protector with them. The cloth bag is for a moon cup, because sometimes I’m female while on duty, but it’s not usually part of my carried kit.

When I carry sharpies on me, they sometimes go in the right thigh pocket, hooked over the top, but I’ve never yet mastered not losing sharpies, so that doesn’t always happen. I tend to keep art-based things in a separate pencil case.

Gerber suspension multitoolThe rear pockets keep my wallet and my phone. In winter, when I am usually in jeans, that’s one in each pocket, but the cargo pants have room for both, which is lucky, as they only have one rear pocket. Then, we’re done with pockets and onto the right hand side of the belt. Gerber Suspension. It’s the nazz. All people who need spring-loaded pliers near at hand should have them, and it’s part of the mini tool kit that I carry. I can do a lot of things with what is on my belt, and that’s a big part of the reason why. The pliers are a fantastic size for my hands, and I can keep a constant grip on them because the spring does the work. I don’t use most of the other bits on the tool, with the notable exception of the bottle opener and the occasional exception of the scissors. It’s got a couple of magnets nestled onto it, because I thought they might come in handy, but they haven’t really been needed yet, and they’ll probably get put back in the pile of good ideas. The screwdriver attachments used to get used a bit but I shouldn’t need to any more because of…

Wera Kompakt screwdriver kit, adjustable spanner, 3D printed mini bit holderMy newest buy, and a very happy person I am too. The Wera Kompakt kit sits on the left hand side of my belt. It has screwdrivers and a handle with 1/4″ drive, meaning those bits I already have in my pocket are suddenly very useful. There is a little overlap in sizes, and some torx drivers that I find useless and will probably be replaced with flat heads, but that doesn’t have to happen immediately. I’ve got Posidrive and Philips, and that covers most modern situations. It’s a great kit, improved by there being room to shoehorn a couple more things in. I’ve got a Bahco adjustable spanner, which is fantastic for holding nuts while the screwdriver is deployed. There’s also a 3D printed case which holds some Allen bits.

Silver 3D printed Allen bit case, open to show 3 1/4" drive Allen bits.I have a lot of use for the smaller Allen key sizes, and given how tiny they are, I do keep dropping and fumbling them. Fishing a 2.5mm Allen key out of a full cup of tea was made all the more amusing by the fact that other people saw it happening and laughed as well, and I ordered a solution the next day. The drive bits are fantastic, but they are tiny so I 3D printed a case for them. The bumps that help it to fasten close also keep the bits at either end from drifting, meaning I can open it and there is only ever one loose one. I lever the thing open with a fingernail, but the next version of it will probably have some opening bumps. The case sits inside an elastic loop in the Wera case, and completes my on-me tool kit, at least for the moment.

It would be hard to fit more on, as an other belt fittings would stop me from getting to pockets easily, or stop me from sitting down. However, with what I have on me I can do a lot of my tasks without even having to reach out for a tool. The main usefulness comes because I know where everything is, so I can reach for it automatically.

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