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Organizing For Sanity: The AR Parts Holding Template

Organizing For Sanity: The AR Parts Holding Template
The Builder Board, as they call it. I call it, “A darned fine idea.”

Tired of losing springs, screws or roll pins while working on your AR? Let the AR Parts Holding Template remedy that.

Ever be in the middle of an assembly project or reassembling something after cleaning and drop a part? Sir Isaac Newton had no clue regarding the physics of small parts: The smaller and more necessary a part is, the faster it scurries to the darkest corner of your workshop to hide behind a bench leg. I’m convinced when the old neighborhood revives and someone rehabs the building my gunsmithing operation used to be in, they’ll find parts. Lots of ’em.

Other times, you’re holding a part up to the light, wondering which one is this one?

Let Edge Independent Product Developers help you with that. They make a tray they plan for use as an assembly template for your AR-15. Me, I see it as that and a great aid in keeping things straight during cleaning and rebuilds.

The template is simple: a laser-cut and laser-labeled sheet of wood bonded to a backer, so you have parts-shaped pockets. And this isn’t even the best part—they have them numbered. There’s a laminated instruction sheet in the kit that tells you what number goes with what part, but the cut slot for each makes it pretty easy to figure out.

Somebody out there is all set to be insulted. “I know my AR parts,” one will say. Yes, you do, but once you bump the table and the various springs all roll together, have fun sorting them out. There’s even a small magnet set into the board to let you keep ferrous parts from escaping, parts that you might want to keep close at hand. And there’s an inset marked “misc” for the “whatever” parts. It even comes with tweezers so you can pick the small springs up out of the slot into which they fit.

The laminated guide gives you the number code just in case you haven’t committed them to memory.

Assembling And Cleaning

The fellow who got me onto this thought it was a great idea for those who are assembling an AR-15. I agree, but it’s even better for those cleaning one. The kit comes with links to assembly instructions (not that those are difficult to find online), just in case you need some guidance.

For me, the trick is in cleaning. For that, I plan to dig into the shop and find a spray can of something polyurethane to give the board an oil and carbon-resistant finish (it may already have one, I haven’t abused it to see), so I can easily clean it once I’ve dumped grubby parts into it.

I won’t have to worry about losing this or that (it’s amazing what parts will do if you take your eyes off of them for just a second) and can keep them corralled waiting their turn.

Just to indulge in one of my pet peeves of other gun writers: Patents have been applied for. So, don’t go thinking you can horn in on this great idea. And I’ve been told there are other popular firearms models receiving the same template treatment, so you can soon have control of parts for those when cleaning or building.

There’s a magnet for small parts you don’t want to lose, and tweezers so you can pick them up.

And the best part? The Edge template is smaller, edge-to-edge, than a sheet of copy paper and thinner than a politician’s promises. This means you won’t have to work hard to find room for it in your workshop or loading and cleaning bench. In fact, you might have to work hard to find it, once you’ve slid it in-between a couple of boxes on the shelves. Now that I think about it, I might, once the polyurethane is fully cured, just paint the edges bright orange or neon green, so I’ll be able to find it on the shelf.

Online, from Edge Independent Product Developer, it goes for $45. You might think that’s a bit high, but after dropping and breaking, or dropping and losing (or spending a half-hour fishing it out of its special crevice behind your workbench) a vital part, you’ll find it money well spent.

For more information, visit EdgeProducts.bkollar.com.

Editor’s Note: This article originally appeared in the December 2023 issue of Gun Digest the Magazine.

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