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  • Current options for decent tool chest rollaways

    Afternoon guys...been some time since I've poked around the forums and life changes are pointing me back to needing some new shop equipment for an upcoming life change for me.

    Who makes reasonably priced mechanics rollaways these days?

    I was honestly fine with my 22 year old 40" Craftsman unit and top box but I've outgrown the unit and setting up shop is making me realize I need to look into new boxes.
    My biggest complaint is most modern big boxes have these giant, deep drawers which are a waste of space. I'm in the mindset of multiple slim drawers.

    The second issue I see is much like everything in the modern era, the rollaways I've seen around just seem to not be well built.

    I cringe at the thought of buying Harbor Freight Gen 2 boxes {which seem to be Snapon rip-offs in design} but I really like all the drawers and storage space.
    Menards Mastercraft boxes also seem to have a nice setup on the drawers, but I'm not a fan of either box drawer lock design.

    My issue is I'm considering a 72" bottom box, and two 30" wide top boxes to maximize drawer space, along with a side locker or two.

    I've been poking around but I just need some general advice on who to avoid these days.
    Also, I'm not fond of the idea of dropping $20K for a box setup. I need to invest in other shop equipment like a used Auto paint booth, Paint Solvent recycling, a four post lift, and a few other basics I need.

    Last thing, I am looking for lines on older vice grips with the American Tool / Dewitt Nebraska stamping.
    C clamp vice grips etc, if anyone sees a large batch come up for sale, drop me a message.

    {I'm still bitter to this day over Rubbermaid/Irwin tools buying out American tool and sending the production to China and giving us nothing by garbage on modern vice grips.}
    Eliteman76
    Superhero BangShifter
    Last edited by Eliteman76; May 7, 2019, 10:36 AM.
    Andrew
    1972 Ford Gran Torino Sport and other FoCoMo problem children

    2020...year of getting screwed by a Narcissist and learning hard lessons into trusting the wrong people on a business venture.
    2021...year of singing "99 problems but an asshole ain't one"

    Moved cross country twice on a role of the dice...I left Nebraska and came back to Nebraska.

  • #2
    Believe it or not, Lowe's and Home Depot have a fair selection.
    Ed, Mary, & 'Earl'
    HRPT LongHaulers, 08, 09, 10, 11, 12, 13, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19.


    Inside every old person is a young person wondering, "what the hell happened?"

    The man at the top of the mountain didn't fall there. -Vince Lombardi

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    • #3
      I'd be good with the HF boxes. They've learned a lot from being in this market and their quality is growing by leaps and bounds. I've looked at them in the store but I don't REALLY need a box right now but if I did I'd certainly strongly consider theirs.

      BTW (at least back when mine was built) Snap On boxes were made by Metal Box and Cabinet (MBC) and as such were not REALLY exclusive to Snap On. But that Snap On tag about doubled the price. Does MBC still build in the USA - I don't know.

      Dan

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      • #4
        Originally posted by oletrux4evr View Post
        Believe it or not, Lowe's and Home Depot have a fair selection.
        Sean and I have bought Home Depot boxes in the last several years with excellent results!
        Patrick & Tammy
        - Long Haulin' 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2014...Addicting isn't it...??

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        • #5
          The fathers day fairies brought me a nice US General upper and lower box a few years ago. They did come from HF but they are a dang nice box, especially for the money. Nothing else in my price range compared. SO and Matco stuff is nice but I simply cannot justify that level of investment for home storage. Maybe if my tools stayed at work, then yes, but not at home.

          That's how I look at it anyways. Everyone has their own angle, and that's okay.
          Of all the paths you take in life - make sure a few of them are dirt.

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          • #6
            I have two stacks of Kennedy tool boxes . I have the machinist ones so the drawers are shallower . It's been 25 years since I bought them so I have no idea on the price point . But they are in just as good of shape except a little paint fading and I like the non flashy brown wrinkle paint .
            Dan Barlow
            ZF6 Bangshifter
            Last edited by Dan Barlow; May 7, 2019, 03:11 PM.
            Previously HoosierL98GTA

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            • #7
              I was going to say that if you pay close attention to the price of Craftsman boxes at Sears you can find them on clearnace to make space for the new model. Then I realized Sears sank some years ago and the last box I bought was a decade ago.

              I have an older mid-height HF box (by default, came with purchase) that has an Ammco brake lathe mounted to it. It's held the brake lathe for five years plus all the accessories to turn drums and rotors. I'm not fond of HF stuff in general but I have to admit that his box is holding more than I ever thought any HF box would.

              At one time I too thought deep lower drawers were a waste of space. Then I bought a 300psi oil pressure gauge for testing transmissions (or engines), a radiator pressure tester, a hexagon shaped large-gauge wire crimper, a ball joint removal/installation set, a suspension coil spring compressor, a cam degreeing kit, and several other tools that all came in/with their own storage cases that for the most part would be impractical to not use for storing the tools/sets. I wish I had more large drawer space or a lot more shelf space just for specialized tool storage.
              http://www.bangshift.com/forum/showt...n-block-wanted

              http://www.bangshift.com/forum/showt...-Blue-Turd(le)

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              • #8
                Older used stuff will probably still be better than the new. I was lucky enough to inherit my Dad's Craftsman boxes from the 70's.

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                • #9
                  Harbor Freight was known to buy Snap-On boxes, crate them up and send them directly to China for exact copy. Saved the guy all the design and engineering costs, and even market research as Snap-On wouldn't be offering stuff they didn't already believe would sell. Then they come back with a name like...US General, as the more factual "China General" would not create the perception needed to make sales here. Since Chinese people are at the core just as smart as American people, and possibly learn much faster, the boxes are in-fact good stuff but since they don't have the environmental regulations etc. etc. and needing to pay the workers (like us) much as we do here the price even after having to cross the ocean is far less. I'm telling you the reason I prefer to avoid them and don't personally know anyone with a "US General" box in their shop, but I am not the judge and Snap-On with their horrific (for the customer) margins certainly helped create the deal. Of-course Snap-On's distribution system is all geared to make it convenient for the mechanic on the job and there is value in that, the average guy who doesn't mind blowing half a day to go to Lowe's...or Harbor Freight...for tools would be nuts to pay for a truck to roll up each week and arrange something like a payment plan, but it's been a long-time successful deal for the pro mechanic.

                  My shop is all Craftsman stuff, some new/some old, which I would rate 3 out of 5 stars (they sell the range from good to crappy depending on what you want to pay) but cost vs. quality, appropriate for my use. In a repair shop situation where I was really banging drawers open and shut all day I would buy better which I believe Craftsman along with the other brands does sell.

                  I did buy a couple new boxes, cheap (Craftsman made in USA from imported steel) ones for parts/hardware storage, from Lowes a month or two ago as it happens, using their online ordering service. Picked them up the next morning already loaded on a cart and the whole thing from turning off the street to turning back on took twenty minutes, maybe less. Nice.

                  My machinist boxes are Kennedy, mostly bought in the eighties - nineties. No roller drawers or anything, they're made for careful guys probably wearing inspection glasses, not for mechanics throwing around 3/4" wrenches. One big bench/drawer set came from a trade show, I asked the Kennedy rep "Hey what are you going to do with that sample at the end of the show, wouldn't you rather I came along with a hand truck and some cash than you had to load it all up and take it home?". (As it happened, I would be travelling right by that area again at just the right time.) Yep he would. Half-price.

                  And BTW I do have some HF stuff. My 2000# (diesel) engine stand I bought a few months ago which will get used twice in my life is from there, I suppose that if it had some kind of we'd-like-you-to-believe-it's-American-instead-of-where-it's-actually-from sticker I'd have to decide what to do with that...
                  ...

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                  • #10
                    I got a nice (but not nearly 72" wide) roll around unit at a door prize at a race I was at a couple years ago, that I still haven't put any tools in...so I'm not in your situation of needing more tool storage space. What I do need, is to make the time to organize all the stuff I have, and get my shop arranged so it works well.

                    Sorry I can't be of more help.

                    My fabulous web page

                    "If it don't go, chrome it!" --Stroker McGurk

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                    • #11
                      Costco sometimes has some decent boxes, with ROLLER drawer slides, for decent prices, but they come and they go, as their buyers scoop up what they can for a smoking deal, then move on to the next deal, so continuity is always a problem. There have been several set's I've seen at my local outlet that I would have pounced on, had it been in the budget at the time
                      But, worth looking @ you local outlet, as well as online, because they often have items on the webpage that the stores don't stock.

                      Here, over the last few years, they've had TORIN, HOMAK, and more recently I've seen KIRKLAND (Costco's house brand). But Costco Canada & Costco US always have different items from one another.

                      Here's a Top & Bottom Box I found on the costco.ca website ***And that price is CDN $$ **Already looked on US site, that item number search did not yield a result...

                      James

                      https://www.costco.ca/Kirkland-Signa...100427074.html
                      Kirkland Signature 43-in. 16-drawer Top Chest and Cabinet Combo

                      ★★★★★★★★★★4.7 out of 5 stars. Read reviews. 4.7 (3)

                      Item 1600050

                      Your Price
                      899.99$


                      Shipping & Handling Included

                      Features:
                      • Brand: Kirkland Signature
                      • Heavy-duty steel construction
                      • Anodized aluminum handles
                      • High security tumbler locking system


                      Click image for larger version

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                      • #12
                        Originally posted by Tubbed Pacecar View Post
                        Costco sometimes has some decent boxes, with ROLLER drawer slides, for decent prices, but they come and they go, as their buyers scoop up what they can for a smoking deal, then move on to the next deal, so continuity is always a problem. There have been several set's I've seen at my local outlet that I would have pounced on, had it been in the budget at the time
                        But, worth looking @ you local outlet, as well as online, because they often have items on the webpage that the stores don't stock.

                        Here, over the last few years, they've had TORIN, HOMAK, and more recently I've seen KIRKLAND (Costco's house brand). But Costco Canada & Costco US always have different items from one another.

                        Here's a Top & Bottom Box I found on the costco.ca website ***And that price is CDN $$ **Already looked on US site, that item number search did not yield a result...

                        James
                        I wonder who builds that one? Looks good. I keep toying with the idea of keeping my most-used hand tools in a 4 drawer roll-around (HF has 'em for about $250ish IIRC), getting rid of an old stack of mis-matched stuff I use for odds and ends, and reorganizing into my Snap On box and my big SS box. The idea would be to be able to roll my most used tools to the vehicle I'm working on.

                        Dan
                        DanStokes
                        Ancient LSR Guy
                        Last edited by DanStokes; May 8, 2019, 11:39 AM.

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                        • #13
                          Originally posted by DanStokes View Post
                          I wonder who builds that one? Looks good. I keep toying with the idea of keeping my most-used hand tools in a 4 drawer roll-around (HF has 'em for about $250ish IIRC), getting rid of an old stack of mis-matched stuff I use for odds and ends, and reorganizing into my Snap On box and my big SS box. The idea would be to be able to roll my most used tools to the vehicle I'm working on.
                          Based on input from a bunch of guys that wrench all day - this is my plan Dan, I picked up a black HF 4 drawer a year or so ago for $169 I think. I has already come in handy and I'm still in the early phases of getting the new shop set up.
                          milner351
                          No Life Outside BangShift.com
                          Last edited by milner351; May 8, 2019, 12:14 PM.
                          There's always something new to learn.

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                          • #14
                            Originally posted by milner351 View Post

                            Based on input from a bunch of guys that wrench all day - this is my plan Dan, I picked up a black HF 4 drawer a year or so ago for $169 I think. I has already come in handy and I'm still in the early phases of getting the new shop set up.
                            My friend Marcel Marceau used to say "Great mimes think alike".

                            Dan

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                            • #15
                              Thanks guys. I spent time looking at Menards Masterforce boxes and while the look suitable, drawer depth is really massive compared to my 22 year old 40Ē rollaway.
                              only thing I noticed was the tops of the Menards boxes are damn tinny and flex.
                              Menards and the recent sears boxes are identical.

                              I ventured to harbor freight and was looking at their boxes.
                              you could tell the boxes they had were thicker steel. Tops were much thicker steel.
                              IímThe drawer action on both boxes felt really good.

                              The one series of boxes which are the snapon type really seemed damn solid, I was honestly surprised.
                              the other larger box series, had these goofy individual plastic drawer locks and I get the point but damn it was annoying!

                              I'm used to my craftsman box not having drawer locks and it was driving my ass bonkers lol (being too picky, I know).

                              I was also looking at the service carts and thatís been added to my list.

                              My biggest change however may be instead of one 72Ē bottom box I may be going a couple smaller bottom boxes and top boxes and a tall side locker.

                              The last attempt I had for the day was trying to find a seller for Homak as their boxes look outstanding. But I want to physically get my hands on one so I can just physically feel the boxes and see how it feels.

                              I have other shop equipment to get but first priority for me is my tool storage!

                              Thanks again guys. I do appreciate the input on things.
                              More to follow...still going to check out a few more options.

                              Andrew
                              1972 Ford Gran Torino Sport and other FoCoMo problem children

                              2020...year of getting screwed by a Narcissist and learning hard lessons into trusting the wrong people on a business venture.
                              2021...year of singing "99 problems but an asshole ain't one"

                              Moved cross country twice on a role of the dice...I left Nebraska and came back to Nebraska.

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