I have been asked recently how to make a tool roll that can safely carry tools. I made mine over 20 years ago, when I first started carving – and it is in amazingly good condition after a lot of use. I guess that says a lot for Levis! As durable as they come!
When I started thinking about how to explain how to make one, I sat and stared at mine for the longest time trying to remember how in the world I got this tool roll out of 1 pair of jeans. After about 15 minutes of an extremely puzzled look on my face, I figured the only way I could have done this was to use 2 pairs of jeans. Duhh.
Here are the steps – the photos will help, as it is difficult to explain it in words.
I got 2 pairs of levis (these actually have “real” wear marks – not bought pre-worn like you can get now-days).
1. I cut both the legs off one pair of jeans (let’s call them leg A and leg B).
2. I then cut each leg open at the outer seam (where the seam isn’t doubled up). I actuallty cut out this seam so it doesn’t get in the way.
3. Then on the second pair of jeans, I cut one leg off (let’s call this leg C).
4. Then I cut Leg C down the outer seam (where the seam isn’t doubled up).
5. I then sewed each piece of leg C onto leg A and leg B so there are 2 large square pieces of denim (about 25 to 26″ square). So the roll is basically 1-1/2 legs wide.
NOTE: It is important to have the outer edges of the roll be the double seam, so it stays strong – otherwise, you will need to make your own hem at the edge.
6. Sew these 2 large squares together to make a long rectangle.
7. Fold 5 to 6″ of the edge over on each side.
8. Sew tool divisions about 2 to 2-1/2″ apart.
NOTE: Make sure these stitches are alternating from one side to the other, so the tools fit between each other.
So, I hope you are able to follow that. If not, get a pair of old jeans, cut them up and see what happens – I’m pretty sure that’s how I discovered this process.
NOTE: When storing the tools, I always put the handle in the pocket, not the blade - they hold tighter, and I can see the blade to be able pick out the tools I want. With the alternating stitches, they will be less likely to hit against one another.
I would not recommend storing your tools in anything like denim or leather if there is any possibility of humidity being stored with it. This is a sure way to get your tools to rust, especially if you only get to your carving tools every few months. I use this tool roll quite a lot when I travel and teach, but try not to leave anything in the roll more than a few weeks.
As you can see, my tool roll is pretty weather beaten, with the occasional hole that has been poked through. But for the amount I have used it, it’s holding up pretty well. I can hold 43 tools, and have actually packed quite a few more than that by doubling up some of the pockets. That’s not really recommended, as the tips of the tools tend to do a little more bumping into each other, but it’s a great way to securely hold them and safely carry them.