The adult-ed program where I teach has very complete toolkits we
loan out to the students on a class-by-class basis. We tend to loose
odds- n-ends, but seldom anything massive. (and that’s with 12
classes of 24 students rolling through the kits every week, for about
Two suggestions based on our experiences: (A) make it easy to
quickly eyeball check the kits coming back in. Ours have such a raft
of stuff that it’s hard to keep track of it all, at least in a quick
scan. (B) paint the tools if you can. If you’ll have few enough kits
that each one can be a near-primary color, do it that way, if not,
pick a “house tool” color, and paint them all with whatever obnoxious
color you pick. (day-glo green is a personal favorite. It’s both
incredibly ugly, and incredibly obvious.) Number the tools so that
you can figure out which kit they belong to.
The fitted tool roll idea was great, but it limits what you can add
to the kits later, and makes it hard to change types of tools later
on. (Say you’ve got 3 basic files now, but 3 years along, you want to
add a fourth…you’re out of pockets. Equally, if you start off with
3 6" files, but later decide that an 8" bastard file would be better
for the wax class, you don’t have the room in the fitted kit to deal
with it. ) On the other hand, having a perfectly fitted tool roll
makes it very easy to eyeball check. That ease of checking may
outweigh the lack of flexibility. Your call.
Budget for replacement parts from the outset. Even with the best
will in the world, tools will get lost, broken, or dull. It happens.
Plan for it.
Best of luck,