Monday, July 29, 2013

Post Office Tool Case No. 3

Let me introduce you to the British Post Office Tool Case No. 3.

These tool cases have been around I'm told for over 50 years, I have two of them, one of them is about 40 years old, the other celebrates its 30th birthday this year! Whilst I didn't work for the 'Post Office' or British Telecom as it would now be or BT for short, I did work for a government organisation with close ties to the GPO, PO, BT etc.

So here are the two cases I have.

The older one is the one on the left and it's had a hard life! The only main differences between them is the ID pocket on the outside of the older one and the saddles on the handle strap are sewn to the case on the older one, where as they are riveted on the 'newer' one on the right.

Looking at the older one now in some more detail.

As you can see the leather is very soft and supple on this one. It's currently empty waiting for me to renew the zip on it. A job I did about 28 years ago as well as redoing some of the stitching. The leather hasn't had any special treatment since it was issued to me.

So opened out you can see the running loops running across the case for tools to slot in to, these can be varied in size and they tend to stay at the same tension all the time, no elastic is used, just leather.

The big pocket on the left is for small items and it is held shut with big press studs.

And moving on to the 'newer' one.

As you can see from the stitching the design is the same with only a few minor differences. Not quite a supple as the older one, but it is gradually getting there I guess, may be another 20 years and it will be as good.  It still has the original zip on this one, but the tag fell off some years ago and a cable tie has been serving that duty since!

And here is it fully populated with tools, some of the tools are the same age as the older case, still giving good service, no need to replace them. The side cutters are new though, these do become blunt or damaged with use. It didn't come with all of the tools you see, I added to it over the years, hence doubling up on the loops!

And again inside the pocket are some additional hand tools, bits and bobs etc.

The remarkable thing about these tool cases is that you can still buy them, not cheap I give you that, but as you can see they will last a life time! They are available from this company Canford in UK sizing details are in their own PDF file.


  1. Thought I had already left a comment, but I don't see it so apologies if this shows up twice!
    Really like this - has gone on my wish list as I know my husband will love and use one of these!

    1. Thank you for your comment. They are a delight to own.

      Last night I unpicked the stitching on the zip on the older one to replace it. I've replaced it before about 28 years ago! I've got a new one in the right colour this time! I might even treat the leather whilst it is empty!

  2. Hi Steve. Spent 13 years as a BT engineer and purchased my toolkit, which included my much loved No3, when I left. Like your the zip has finally perished. Any advice on where to get a suitable replacement zip and any tips on fitting it? Much appreciated. Kenn

    1. I got my zip from a haberdashery shop. You need to look for a decent YKK Zip if you can get one. It is easy enough to fit because you can use the existing holes in the leather. Since doing that post I've stripped off the old blue zip which was itself a replacement, I have a new zip but not got around to replacing it yet!

  3. Hi Steve. Bit late asking, but just bought a no. 3 and needs some sewing.. Where did you get the matching thread?? Can you remember or even have a link. Cheers.

    1. I bought some waxed cotton thread from a fabric shop in Tunbridge Wells, but I can't remember the details now. Look for the sort of thread used for repairing tents and things like that it's fairly tough stuff!


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