Metal tool chest for non-wood working tools?

Status
Not open for further replies.

kooshball

David
Corporate Member
For the storage of automotive tools and assorted non woodworking tools, which chests repent a good value? I saw some kobalt ones at lowes that look nice, but doe anyone have experience with the cheaper HF or Northern Tool chests? Just looking to segregate non woodworking tools in a metal chest and don't want to spend a fortune or spend too little and have the thing collapse.

Any thoughts?
 

bobby g

Bob
Corporate Member
Sears Craftsman has served me well. I've my set for 25 years now. They used to always have deep discount sales on them... hopefully they still do.

bobby g
 
T

toolferone

For me the main thing is the drawer slides. The better ones use ball bearing slides. That being said, my 25+ year old craftsman are still going strong with out ball bearing slides. I have seen several woodworkers make wooden tool chests for there metal tools. Would be a great shop project.
 

Dudelive

New User
Dude
I have had several types and brands over the 45+ years of turning wrenches. In my opinion the craftsman are an excellent box as long as you get the ball bearing drawer slides. As mentioned look at craigslist under tools and be just look around there are several that pop-up from time to time.

Get the ball bearing drawer slide type and tilt the front up slightly and you will always have closed drawers.

You can not mix mechanic tools and woodworking tools and be happy.

Just my 2 cents worth.
 

merrill77

Master Scrap Maker
Chris
I have a medium-size rolling cabinet from Kobalt. Sometimes I think I should have bought a cheaper HF unit -- the better ones seem pretty decent. The Kobalt will outlive me...and probably still be in perfect condition.

Heresy, perhaps, but I have a lot of my WW'ing tools in it. Planes, carving tools, large auger bits.
 

scsmith42

New User
Scott Smith
I have a medium-size rolling cabinet from Kobalt. Sometimes I think I should have bought a cheaper HF unit -- the better ones seem pretty decent. The Kobalt will outlive me...and probably still be in perfect condition.

Heresy, perhaps, but I have a lot of my WW'ing tools in it. Planes, carving tools, large auger bits.

David, I have several Snap On, one Craftsman and one Grizzly tool box. Two of the larger Snap-On chests were some good Craigslist scores, but still pretty high dollar.

I was very surprised and pleased by the quality of my small Grizzly box. It has ball bearing slides, and is made of heavier steel than my Craftsman. It was part of the package that came with the table saw.

Ditto the other's comments about watching Craigslist though.
 

kooshball

David
Corporate Member
Thanks folks, looks like it is all about the drawer bearings. I will see what I can't find.
 

BSHuff

New User
Brian
One other major thing to think about with mechanics boxes is if and how often they will be moved. A cheap box may be ok if they are set on a bench/parked and never moved. If you move them much when loaded they will fall apart. Getting a good quality box you can move them loaded.

I judge a mechanics box by taking the middle drawer and extending it all the way out and then trying to rack the drawer side to side. The better boxes stay straight the cheap ones are like a wet noodle
 

eastern_shore

New User
Rich
Craftsman boxes used to be made by a company called Waterloo, so a Waterloo box will be the same. I echo what others say about purchasing used before going to Harbor Freight for a box; actually I would avoid boxes like Harbor Freight and Stanley. Auctions are another good source for tool boxes. I have half a dozen tool boxes. My Matco is best followed by the Craftsman with bearings. After that, I have two very solid wooden boxes for tools such as blades, taps, dies, machinist's tools and bits. Last on the list is the non-bearing Craftsman. If you're looking used, Kennedy boxes also represent a good purchase. They are usually brown in color.
 

JackLeg

New User
Reggie
I have a medium sized Kobalt chest which I'm now using to store screws, sandpaper, and frequently used tools. Quality is acceptable for what I'm using it for.
 

JimmyC

New User
Jimmy
I've got two Craftsman upper and lower box setups, neither have roller bearings. One is from 1978 and when I went looking for another combination set I looked at Craftsman again, thinking about buying their bearing slide models. In the end, becuase of cost and the fact that I never had any problems with my older non-bearing box, I bought another non-bearing set in 1994. Both boxes are going strong and eventually my kids will be using them.

If you are a mechanic and will be opening and closing your drawers dozens of times, every day of the week, every week of the year, I would buy bearing slides. Otherwise you'd be better off looking for sales on a Craftsman box.

Good luck.
 

jazzflute

New User
Kevin
My boxes cover the spectrum; a Craigslist Snap-on KRL1001 is my cheap box. (Wait, that was what I told my wife, right?) I also have three Harbor Freight five-drawer tool carts that can be purchased, with stacked coupons, sales, etc. for about $100 each. I like them because I can take them to the workpiece. Each is/or-will-be-REAL-soon-now set up for different tasks, i.e. sanding, planing, drilling or other verbs ending with -ing. They aren't great boxes, but they work adequately for what I need. The Snap-on holds all my mechanics tools, and a bunch of woodworking tools as well, although not in the same drawer, as I'm sure that would violate some state law.

K
 

DaveD

New User
Dave
I've been buying tools and toolboxes for about 50 years now. To me the newer craftsman ones (even with ball bearings) are 'not what they used to be. My 40 year old craftsman are still going strong though. I have had loaded drawers rack off the guide rails and once that happens it seems it will continue to do that 10% of the time you open the drawer. I have a 3 year old average sized floor Craftsman full roller glide tool box that can't handle 40# in the bigger drawers consistently. It was a mistake buying that box.

About 5 years ago I bit the bullet and bought a big MAC upper/lower tool box for 50% off list. Should have been that smart (many may disagree with the smart part) 30 years ago. I have since bought another MAC lower box used for 70% off list. Also had a big Snap-on I got for 30 cents on the dollar (used) I ended up giving my son. I love those 24" deep drawers too. If I had the room, I'd be looking for a 3rd used one. I still keep checking Craigslist for a upper MAC box to match my 2nd lower.

The price hurts (only for a little while) but I can smile every time I open a fully loaded drawer on a MAC/MATCO/Snap-on commercial box. I like drawers that can easily handle 100# each or a big full width drawer that can handle 200#. I don't think Northern Tool and Harbor Freight tool boxes wouldn't even come close to handling that weight on a consistent basis.
 

Len

New User
Len
My daughter gave me a set of 'Gladiator' tool chests for Dad's Day a couple of years ago.

What I did was make wood inserts for the some of the shallower drawers to hold chisels, marking knives, etc. The medium size drawers got some thin plywood with strips glued on to hold planes and keep them from shifting when the drawer is opened or closed. And for the deep drawers, I made stackable inserts to hold my Japanese saws, water stones, and other sharpening paraphanalia.
 

Phil S

Board of Directors, Events Director
Phil Soper
Staff member
Corporate Member
After years of using many subpar boxes, I have moved up to Snap-on which is a good box. I found mine on CL and could sell today for more than I paid.

But by far the best box I have is my Lista. Twice as strong as Snap-on and for less $ because you can buy direct. The small Lista seven drawer roll around weighs 475 lbs empty

Each drawer is rated for over 400 lbs. I have a nine drawer unit and even the fully loaded drawers open and close with one finger

IMG_00854.jpg
 

ehpoole

Administrator
Ethan
I have the Craftsman stainless steel ball-bearing w/Griplatch (the drawers automatically latch when closed, lift up on handle to open) and have been extremely happy with my purchase (about 4 years old now). I have one drawer in the upper unit that easily has 50+lbs of pneumatic nails and staples in it and it handles the load without any complaint and the glides open and close smoothly even with that weight. My other drawers are typically less loaded by comparison but still have a good deal of weight with numerous wrenches, sockets, ratchets, pliers, and so forth.

I have looked at some of the cheaper alternatives in the past, but they were all built from considerably lighter weight sheet metal and were flimsy by comparison.

I don't doubt that some of the even more expensive units are even better built, but for my needs the stainless steel Craftsman Griplatch ball-bearing unit has performed in accordance with my expectations and I have zero complaints after four years of ownership and a fair bit of use. I also like that the Griplatch drawers automatically latch when you push them closed and can be just as easily opened by lifting up on the drawer's front grip/pull. This means that when/if the toolbox is rolled you don't have to worry about drawers unexpectedly sliding open if the floor/terrain is less than level -- and no accidentally toppling your toolbox from such.
 

kooshball

David
Corporate Member
Looks like there are a few Excel chests that are well reviewed online for a medium duty box. Best I can tell, I see a bit more value for the money than the Craftsman but a trip to Northern will be in order to see how they are built.

Anyone here have any of the Excel chests???
 
Status
Not open for further replies.

Our Sponsors

LATEST FOR SALE LISTINGS

Top