Along with the interest in tools used in any pursuit there is an interest in their storage. How are they stored safely, carried to the place of work, and kept handy. Consider this toolbox used by Adam Savage of MythBusters fame.In his own words: Ahh, my toolboxes. Obsessed with working quickly, I’ve spent years designing toolboxes with what I call ‘First Order Retrievability’. That is, that nothing need be moved out of the way to get to anything else. Above is version 2.0. The Scissor lifts are so that, when seated, I needn’t lean over too far to get to the tool I need.
When we began beekeeping we anticipated that with its hive tools and smokers and so on there would be some special toolbox or tote in which to carry them, even if not as elaborate and highly optimized as Adam’s for his work. In this we were disappointed. Most beekeepers seem to use any old hardware store tote or bucket. A few will make concessions for the heat of a lit smoker and cobble a special hook to keep it from the main body. We ourselves would have one of us carry the smoker and the other a largish basket in which tools and miscellany were willy-nilly tossed. We have since graduated to an Ikea plastic tray and still carry the smoker separately. At least the tray is divided into two compartments so we can keep sharp implements like hive tools and warré knives away from bags of syrup.
Looking in beekeeping catalogs we only find a Merrill toolbox. Its main feature seems to be that it is dimensioned as a nucleus hive so that if one suddenly discovers the need in a beeyard all its contents can be dumped and frames added. Other than a special hook for the smoker there are just elastic straps to hold various tools against the outside. Anything kept inside it does not fare much better from being kept in our basket or tray. In some way the depth of the box, handy for frames, would make finding small or short items worse. It does not show promise to become an Adam Savage toolbox for us.
Perhaps just as well since such a high degree of optimization must be idiosyncratic, suited to each individual’s situation. A beekeeper who needs to visit many remote hives has different needs than we with our few in the backyard. We must design one of our own then but with our few years of experience what must it accommodate? We can only keep lists of everything we ever take to the hives and then someday devise a carrier for all seasons.