A simple homemade socket organizer

A Simple Socket Organizer

Do you need to rummage through a drawer full of sockets when you need one?

This is a quick and easy solution that just uses a few shop scraps and takes about an hour to make. In our woodshop, we don’t have a lot of sockets because we rarely need to do mechanical tasks. But there were a few small sets jumbled together in a mixture of boxes, cases and wall-hung metal strips. That meant there was a bit of duplication – several of some sizes. When we sent someone to the big box store to pick up a factory-made organizer, all he found was plastic and metal racks that separated the sockets according to the drive (1/4”, 3/8” and 1/2”), and then had a single pin for each of the openings. We have two and even three of some sizes, and there are times when you need two when the bolt and nut both need to be held. The most frustrating part was that these slick, glossy holders were all pre-marked with sizes, and those markings simply didn’t match our random collection of sockets that had accumulated over the decades.

To make the custom organizer shown here, we began by scoring a number of lines in the best face of a leftover scrap of plywood. The scoring is about 1/8” deep, and its function is just to keep everything in nice, straight lines. It also eliminates tear-out or bubbling when screws are driven into the plywood to hold the individual sockets.

We separated the sockets into metric and SAE, and then sorted them by size. Then we sorted again by drive. Some of the smaller sockets are kept in place by 4d finish nails, a few by 6d nails, and many by headless trim screws. Ya gotta do what works…

We found that a slope of about one in four keeps all of the sockets hanging nicely on the nails or screws – they tend to slide down and snug themselves. All edges of the plywood are broken so there are no splinters when the organizer is picked up and moved around.

We screwed one of those metal strips onto the organizer, and it holds all the drives. It’s handy because it has several of each size clip (again, 1/4”, 3/8” and 1/2”). Those clips can have quite a grip, and it can be a pain trying to remove small sockets from them. But they work well for the drives because those are big enough to grasp.

When we were all done, it just took a few minutes to use a fine point marker and write the sizes beside each socket.

One final note – we made it a little oversized so we can add to the collection later, if needed.

The organizer is not rocket science, but it does eliminate a degree of frustration. We hope this helps.