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Equipment query
Someone just asked this question over at my forums:

"I am trying to organise a surprise birthday present for my boyfriend. He really needs something to keep all his equipment together when on digs. Could you please let me know what you find is the best way to do this? Is it more preferable to have a 'tool box' as it were or a belt, and is a waist belt ok or is one with shoulder straps better? Any insight into this will be very gratefully appreciated!"

Can anyone help out pls?

Steve White
Depends on how much kit he takes out to the hole with him, his role in the organization, the type of excavation, if it's commercial, volunteer/society, university and so on.

Mainly, does he take out hand tapes, big tapes, pens, drawing stuff, nails, finds bags and tags, plumb bobs, line levels, dental tools, little wooden things, brushes, spoons, string, gardening hand tools, bulldog and crocodile clips and so on and so forth? Or just a trowel and the rest is provided by the organization? Or does it vary?

Not my most useful post I'm afraid but it's a bit of a how long is a piece of string thing!

We owe the dead nothing but the truth.
Could I suggest that if he doesn't already use a box/bag/belt etc that is probably for a good reason. (almost certainly because he finds a Tesco bag is quite enough to carry any/all his tools in). I think that whatever the girlfriend decides to buy him it is unlikely ever to get used.

Several reasons for this:

1) Getting a toolbox from ones life-partner is akin to getting one from your mum.

2) Unless he works for Time Team, he is never ever going to wear a tool belt or (God forbid) shoulder straps. See previous corrospondence re Trowel Holsters...

3) What your boyfriend really wants for his birthday, is a suprise party in the archie pub that he normally frequents (with chips thrown in roughly half way through the evening).

4) Cool presents for archies this year are MP3 players (2Gb and bigger), tractor caps, a mobile phone that take dead good photos and plays music, Ben Sherman shirts, Camper shoes and very badly used Ford Escorts.

Don't listen to top of the tree type people. They usually gave up drawing or recording years ago and left it to some poor digger or superviser. Tool boxes need to be relatively strong and relatively light. Don't buy the kind of shoddy crap you find in most big DIY places (usually own brand) unless it looks well-made. Make sure the lid is permanently fixed in place rather than clipped into hinges. The clipped in type will fall out on the first day of use and never fit properly again. Keep in mind that a tool box will usually be used for drawing kit and a few small digging tools such as trowels, spoons, etc. It took me a long time to find a decent tool box that didn't break on the first attempt.
My best advice.... and one I have myself is the 'Artists Roll' like this one

I can put a ruler, pens, pencils, brushes, Line levels, Plaster leaf etc etc into it and then roll it up ... V good!

Another day another WSI?
what it really needs is an unbreakable lock, or some sort of electric shock mechanism to ward off thieving site staff. fed up with never having a pencil when i want one cos some buggers wandered off with it
What I found really useful was a box strong enough to sit on when you're drawing and doing the paperwork. saves loads of backache, and means that yoting in front of the section. And big enough to put suncream and drinking water in there.
I visited a site in Europe a few months ago and the thing that seemed most popular there was like a hunting vest. It seems that pockets are very much 'in' there. I did see a couple of toolboxes too - one was like the Stanley one I have for PC spares - really robust thick plastic and with a load of compartments for 'bits'.

I don't know how practical it is to have a toolbox. Good for some things - particularly where site facilities are minimal and useful as a prop for a drawing board. Bad for carrying around and getting pinched.
Thanks all.

I hope he likes what he gets....
Like Silent Bob said all those things about a box but one more thing it must be able to support body weight as mine can makes all the difference if you have to sit on a wet floor.

May god go with you in all the dark places you must walk.

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