In the 1948 book Cheaper by the Dozen, efficiency experts Frank Bunker Gilbreth Jr. and Ernestine Gilbreth Carey give an inside look at what it’s like to raise 12 children with the discipline and order of an assembly line. (We’ve never seen it, but apparently the 2003 Steve Martin movie bearing the same name doesn’t follow the book or the 1950 adaptation.)
Adam Savage, of Mythbusters fame, probably appreciates the Gilbreths’ model of efficiency, if his workshop is any indication. For an episode of Tested, Savage and Will Smith, who hosts the This Is Only a Test podcast, showed off the space and how ridiculously tidy and well laid out it is.
“I like my shop to operate so that I don’t have to move anything out of the way to get to other things,” Savage said, explaining what he likes to call “first-order retrievability.” In order to make sure anything and everything he needs is at his fingertips, the special effects designer custom made a stand, on wheels, that puts tons of tools on display. “Drawers are evil,” according to him, because whatever you put in them inevitably gets covered up or shoved to the back. Instead, he drilled holes into slats and took a “stadium-seating” approach the shelves.
Everything is grouped together, so all of the needle nose pliers are in a row. No matter what size or shape he needs, he can instantly put his hands on the right one, instead of hunting through a tangle of them. There are bins of X-Acto blades, a row of awls, and room for drills and saws on the bottom rack. Tweezers are stored together, as are files, on the top. It’s basically a replacement for an entire Craftsman tools stack. “Having it all of it accessible in one thing, this has become incredibly useful to me,” says Savage.
It’s a pretty brilliant system, but it’s also just fun getting a look at all of the specialty items he has, like a pair of Apollo astronaut scissors and an arthroscopic stapler. Hey, Adam: When are you going to Kickstart these custom stands?