FRETS.COM Travel Tool Kit

Since 1995 I've become something of a traveling repair instructor/demonstrator. I still credit Dan Erlewine with giving me the appropriate kick in the butt (an easy target) necessary to get me out on the road.

It was such a pain to get all my stuff together each time I took a trip I decided to set up a permanent travel case with a special set of tools for demonstrating fret work and general repair. In 1998 I called Al Williams, who makes the Calton Cases in Canada, and asked him to make me a traveling tool box suitcase. I figured that if Calton cases protect some of the finest instruments in the world, one would do nicely for my tools.

He didn't have a toolbox in his list of options, so I selected the double mandolin-fiddle case, and had him make up one with two ribbed "bottoms" instead of the usual arched lid. In fact, he gave me a good deal on the job, because I didn't want any of the expensive padding and lining.

Here's my custom Calton case, plopped on my kitchen table:

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© Frank Ford, 9/4//00; Photos by FF, 8/15/00