Introduction: How to Cut and Install Drawer Liners in Your Toolbox
Video tutorial on how to cut and install liners in your toolbox. There are various types available on the market, some are rubber, vinyl, or foam style. I’m not a huge fan of the foam style as I find it’s harder to clean if needed and can also tear easier. This can be purchased online, at your local hardware store, a tool supplier, and even some big box stores that have this. This particular rubber is labeled as a toolbox liner, but it can sometimes be labeled as a floor liner or mat.
toolbox drawer liner
Step 1: Protecting Your Tools & Toolbox
This will prevent tools from sliding around to a certain extent, makes the drawers easier to clean, and most importantly protects the drawers. Depending on your toolbox size, this will determine how much is required. I purchased about 20ft as I lined most of the largest toolbox, along with another smaller box and my machinist box. This particular liner has ribbing, keeping this running in the same direction also affected the quantity. I’m still in the process of organizing my tools which is why not all the drawers are organized and the toolbox is fully filled yet.
Step 2: Measuring
First is measuring the drawers. Toolbox designs do vary, some drawers may have the same dimensions which makes the process a little easier. You may have rolled edges on the top or folded edges on the bottom where the mat will sit, these are things that you’ll need to take into account when measuring.
Use the same tape measure for the whole process if you want to ensure a tight fit. Or at least make sure you have two tape measures that have the same accuracy. Not all tape measures have the same accuracy, so be mindful of that. You can use the hook on the tape, but can also start at the 1 inch or 10cm measurement first, just make sure your numbers are recorded correctly. This too helps with some accuracy, the hook can have accuracy issues either from new, from use, or even damage. As for which measure I prefer, if you’re comfortable using metric, for the most part, it’s the more accurate option. Not all tape measures have a 1/32 increment or it’s only up to a certain distance such as 6” on this tape measure. 1/16 of an inch is equal to about 1.5mm, therefore it’s not as accurate. If you have a folded edge in the bottom, measure the thickness of the metal used in your drawers and subtract that from your measures on the top of the drawers.
Step 3: Cutting the Mat
With the color being black, it can be hard to see any markings so I would recommend using tape to mark out the cut points. A pencil or a fine tip pen can be used. Considering this was cut from a roll, there’s a good chance the end may not be square, so that’ll need to be fixed which I’ve already done here. A square is a big help for checking any cuts or marks, the large the better. If you don’t have a square, you can take diagonal measurements instead. This is the 3, 4, 5 method. This can be done using metric or imperial, the larger the dimensions, the more accuracy you’ll have. The bottom corner would be 90 degrees, measure 3 up, either in metric or imperial. 4 over, then the final measurement is 5. You can double the numbers to 6, 8, 10, or even multiply by 10, which would be 30, 40, and 50.
As for cutting, due to the cold weather outside, I’m doing this indoors. The rubber is much easier to work with when warm. A razor knife will give a clean straight cut, just make sure you have a new blade or change as needed. The back for cutting is a large strip of spring steel, this is just to protect the floor. You may consider using a smooth wood back or a cutting mat.
Once you have those marks in place, using a ruler, make the cuts. Due to cut a large span, a mistake can be made so take your time. I used my foot to hold the ruler on the opposite side and before removing the ruler, make sure the rubber is fully cut. Otherwise, it can be tricky matching the same cut line.
Cutting with the rubbing can be tricky, I have found at times, I may need to make a thin cut on the opposite side so I’m not cutting directly on top of the rib. Typically I’ll make my cuts 1mm or a 1/32 smaller than my drawer measurements. This will give the mat a little movement with temperature variations and account for out of square drawers.
Step 4: Installation
Before the mat gets installed, I always clean the drawers. The large toolbox and the machinist box will eventually get restored, however, it’s a spot where I can organize all my tools. When the mat is stored in a roll, it does tend to keep its curved shape, especially in the cold so it can take time for it to flatten out. It’s best to place heavy items on the mat so it doesn’t catch on the drawers until it’s flattened out. If any oil, grease, or dirt gets into the drawers, the mats can be easily removed and washed. If you have a new toolbox, this will even protect the drawers from any harsh chemicals.
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