As an apprentice Oli needed something to carry his tools. Something that needed to be designed and created for all the requirements of a young joiner. Something that could be created at no cost, to carry all Oli’s tools safely from one place to another and to fit into the vans that he travelled in.
Now Oli had all the requirements needed to design and create, TOOLBOX!
Where there was nothing, there was now something.
Long enough, wide enough, strong enough, stable enough. All that’s needed to be included in the design. Then sprayed red so it was easy to distinguish from the other toolboxes on site. Finally a Cyclone cycles sticker carefully placed to connect it to Oli’s love of BMX. These connections run deep. When a person creates something so charming and functional and is perfectly built for its purpose a bond grows strong.
Toolbox then went on an incredible journey. Slowly learning the craft of joinery. Toolbox knew what tools it needed to carry so a difficult day can be made easier. Covered in sawdust, battered by tools, used as a step and as a saw bench. Toolbox never complained, and even if he could, it would not!
Then he left!
10 years they had been working together, then, Oli made the decision to leave the UK for Australia. But before he left, he brought Toolbox to me, to look after for a year or two. Or eight!
A new trade
But I could not leave Toolbox to sit in the dark, getting damp and housing spiders. It needed to remain active! So it joined me in my van, ready to learn a new trade – Window installation. Toolbox was given a very important job, to look after my ripping out tools. Because of his perfect size I could keep my reciprocating saw, long jammy bar and a variety of very persuasive tools used to encourage old stubborn frames to leave their comfortable apertures.
Day in, day out, Toolbox was there with me, and everytime I picked it up it reminded me of Oli. It connected me to him. It gave me something to smile at and sometimes to swear at. It had Oli’s personality and it gave me joy.
Over the next eight years the toolbox was by my side as we built our company, Glen Settle Windows. My role drastically changed as our business grew, as I went from a sole trader to director of Glen Settle Windows. The toolbox was eventually left to one side. I would not see it be thrown away nor be used by anyone else. As my wife knows, I am usually the first to throw something away but the toolbox had a hold over me and ended up stored in my garage, suspended in limbo.
Then he returned
After 8 years on the other side of the world Oli had to return to the UK. The Covid-19 pandemic had a drastic effect on the worlds economy and this meant Oli had to come back to the UK. Selfishly I was over the moon that my best friend was going to be coming home. And when we met again the first thing I handed over was the steadfast toolbox. Battered and bruised with more scuffs and marks on it than it had 8 years ago but it still serves the same purpose. As a carrier of tools from one place to another.
A good design means toolbox can be reused over and over again. For different trades, by different people, in different environments. This toolbox gave Oli and myself years of service. Both of us now have a bond with toolbox that will always be there. I am so grateful that I had the chance to be a part of toolbox’s journey but it gave me great pleasure to give toolbox back to Oli, and more than that, to give it purpose again.
Why design is so important
When you think of design, think of its purpose, its function and how the product will help you with your life. Design does not have to be “beautiful” or “striking”. It can be tough or rugged or strong. Sensitive or caring. Or all of them! It should help you love the environment that you live in, or the place that you work. It should look after you, and you look after it. Most of all you should be able to build a bond with something so strong that it becomes a part of you.
For crying out loud this is a toolbox and I will remember it for the rest of my life!