I’ve never liked wearing a toolbelt. The weight of the bags and tools always seems to put a strain on my back and hips. I wear a tool vest instead because it distributes the weight on my shoulders. My current favorite is the Blaklader cotton-canvas Bantam Kangaroo vest (#3120, blaklader.com). It has several deep-hanging pockets that hold my tape, Speed Square, chalk box, and other tools, plus hanging chest pockets with extra compartments for a cell phone and a pencil. It also has a hammer loop, but I don’t use it because an exposed hammer head and a swinging handle can damage finish work. Instead, I drop my hammer into one of the two rear pockets head-first, which works well. The vest can expand to fit over a jacket, but I seldom use that feature because I normally work in comfortable interiors. Unless you expand the vest, the zipper hides behind a flap, so it won’t scrape your work. The vest costs a reasonable $55 online.
Frank Caputo is a finish carpentry contractor in Cool, Calif., and presents the Exterior Living Designed to Last clinic at JLC Live New England .
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