tool boxes and chests


solid fixture here in the forum
well ive been pondering long and hard about making the investment into a new (read much bigger) tool box to fit all my tools, and of course give me room to grow into it (read buy even more tools, bet the wife loves that).

and im curious what tool boxes you guys all use and what you like, dont like, would recommend.

im very partial to the ancient craftsman hand me down chest/cabinet combo that my dad gave me when he upgraded about ten years ago... but the casters are falling off and its really not big enough for the amount of tools ive got now, much less as i keep getting specialized and specific tools for the automotive stuff we all love.

i like the idea of a big tall tool cabinet but ive been leaning much more towards the practicality of having a real wide chest with a big butchers block on top that could double as a work bench of sorts (probably just end up getting a bunch of crap piled on it but its a nice thought anyway) something like this:

what do you guys use to store your tools in? what do or dont you like about your setups? any time i gotta get a big ticket item like this i really like hearing from people who use this kind of stuff (thanks to the internet i get alot of intel from online reviews on these stores websites and thats a godsend too)


  • chest.jpg
    20.7 KB · Views: 106
  • husky chest with butcher block.jpg
    husky chest with butcher block.jpg
    7.9 KB · Views: 107
it also occurred to me that utilizing a chest/workbench and installing a pegboard or trackboards above it to hold even more tools could be a great thing as far as utility and usefulness... i think if i went this route i would use a metal trackboard because the humidity in my shed has warped my wooden shelving over the years and im sure it would do damage to a pegboard with some heavy weight dangling off it.

you can just see the tool boxes between the lift upright posts

I purchased a sears professional grade tool chest combo thats similar to the picture posted above but in black, thats about 6 ft tall and about 30" wide , I no longer see listed, when I started out 30 plus years back after I found that I had several cheap tool boxes stuffed with tools, I soon found I needed a second similar box, I spent way too much on the two combined tool chests , but they have held up fairly well, I consistently see better quality , USED SNAP-ON and MAC tool chests on sale in CRAIGS LIST or BARGAIN trader , for prices that while high are similar to what I paid for the new sears tool chests and those boxes occasionally come with some limited tools as they are at estate sales ,or on sale when guys get divorced or loose jobs or move out of the area, yeah! never at the time you have the cash , but yes they are out there if your patient and shop carefully, I know several guys in the past that spent big bucks on used tools but got killer deals as a result, buying far more quantity and better quality tools than they could ever have afforded new.

Last edited by a moderator:
I am still working out of the same Snap On Toolbox after 20 years Phil.
A KRL Series with ball bearing drawers.
I want one of those $8-20K Moster tool boxes but I have noticed that Thieves eye them up.
The old tired tool boxes are ignored by thieves.
Dealerships & small shops are a favorite for thieves.
Despite best security, all can be overcome.
In just 5 minutes,they can load up all mechanics toolboxes.
Drive away in a box truck.
They made off with $50k in tools each bix.
Payoff if $500K for them .
Shit Old boxes they don't touch.
Think Italian .
Hide everything.
What I do.
I have multiple garages.
Here to Chicago.
Only C4 Vert Here.
Car I care about least.
Not even the Wife knows where all is at.
Move late at night.
Leave cellphone behind.
Impossible to track you then.
How I got a nice Kobalt for free.
Just recently there was a big garage nearby - half hot rod shop, the other half big rigs. The owner of the place, some old biker looking ass-hole I say was a "wannabee" would hire young kids just out of trade schools. These kids would come (seemingly)complete with brand new tools, boxes, laptops and loaded with debt from MATCO, SnapOn - you name it. This owner would hire them at a low rate of pay and shortly later fire them. He would say he would be responsible for their tool loans and confiscate their tools late on Friday after the other employees would go home. The couple older mechanics that were there longest had known about what was going on but kept to themselves. I started getting information 2 years ago when I needed some tools and asked a driver if he serviced a nearby shop I could meet him there. This tool guy hit the ceiling telling me about the "Hit & Run" guys that work there, get loans and take off. It didn't sound right to me because the mechanics would fill out loan apps and when approved the tool truck operator is not on the hook. (???) Skipping through a long story it ends at the shop owner, NAPA and Matco dealers with other shops using personal information that was on employee applications to obtain lines of credit and maxing them out ASAP!
Before the shit hit the fan this shop owner decided to hold an auction one Saturday and off about 2 dozen large and nearly new tool boxes with tools and equipment. Prior to this auction word was spreading fast and twsp officials were not happy. Someone important to me asked me to brainstorm a way to recover some money before this guy goes to jail and nothing can be done. I checked this guy's credit and was mainly concerned if he had a bankruptcy - none at that time. 1:30 pm on Friday the day before the auction I checked and there it was, just filed. I obtained a copy and at the very end of this auction served a copy to the auctioneer. That locked up the money and must be sent to the courts. one week later just before sun-up the cops busted down his door to arrest him for ID theft, possession of fire arms and some sort of US Postal charges. Off the record I heard former employees cleaned out every bit of this guy's place and where he lived. And btw, I got a nice Kobalt box that has a mini frig, lights and alarm dropped off by the fire department. :mrgreen:
It sounds like a Storie From Illinois Rich.
I have to tell you about the story sometime of Ninja Crotch rocket motorcyles stolen.
The guy was getting even.
Dug a Hole in the middle of a cornfield by hand & buried them 10 feet deep.
Bikes still there likely.
I've got a bunch of different boxes that serve particular needs. Some in my garage, some in my shop rooms, some I leave on location at jobs, and some I bring to day jobs.

I took some pics in my garage today because I'm putting up new light fixtures.The row of black boxes on the left were on closeout for 39.95 each at HD so I bought 6. I bolted them all together (in place) to make them sturdy and not roll when opening drawers. Almost impossible to move (steal)because they were bolted while on the sloped garage floor and I barricade the overhead door with cars. While not great boxes they work perfect for what I keep in them. The Matco box on the right is a really nice piece and great for things I need to get out and put away frequently as well as supplies used often.You can put lots of weight in a drawer without noticing any difference in operation. Again barricaded by cars and it's too heavy to pick up or roll on lawn.

The Craftsman rolling box/bench with a vice is a piece I take to do complete rewiring jobs. I load the box up with everything I need for the job once on site and empty to remove when I finish the job.

My favorite box is an old Craftsman handed down from my grandfather. I've been putting tools in and taking them out of it since I started helping him as a little kid over 50 years ago. I've had it the past twenty five (give or take) and it still functions fine but the memories are worth far more than the box.

Ive seen several guys I know take that route (buying several matching cheaper tool boxes and bolting them together) , usually with a couple long sections of 2" angle iron bolted every 6"-to-12" thru the back surface along both the back lower and upper edge too add structural rigidity and a carefully cut double thick section of 3/4" plywood on the top surface as an upper work bench.
the results have varied wildly simply because the quality of the boxes structural strength ,roller wheels and the ability of the designs to handle weight, were seldom up to the eventual loads they were subjected too,and the drawers seldom have decent tracks that handle or support weight well , so the results have varied a great deal, but the concept does seem to have some merits if your not moving the tool storage. I can see where it would certainly allow someone to have built far more tool storage space at lower cost in some cases than paying for one of the huge name brand tool boxes, if you find a bargain price on a decent quantity of the smaller quality tool chest designs


sort of off topic, but i didnt want to start a new thread about it....

I am currently enrolled in an auto service technician course that is basically an ASE prep course for each of the ASE certifications required to get your MASTER ASE TECH certification, so each semester is a different ASE cert, this one where i jumped in happened to be electrical and electronic systems (A6). i go there in the morning from 8a-2p and then resume my regularly scheduled hot rodding in the afternoons and into the night. its nice because the army pays or the schooling through my GI Bill benefits AND they pay me a steady check to go to school as a way to supplement my income so i can support myself while bettering myself.

anyway theres only two or three guys there including mself that ARENT fresh out of high school and i try to impose on the younger guys there the importance of investing in QUALITY tools and tool boxes and specialty items. if these guys intend to go out into the world and make money in this business it pays to get quality tools and equipment that will be able to pay for themselves in the long run, and a quality box with a good locking system to protect them. alot of these guys want to get the cheapest set of autoparts tools they can score and call it good... i havent been in the game as long as any of you all on this site but ive run thru my share of cheap tools. not the nickel and dime stuff like screwdrivers and 1/2 to 3/8 adaptors either... if i can get back a dollar for ever 19.99 multimeter that took a crap on me when i needed it i could probably buy myself another one.

just today i went out and scored what will hopefully be the last multimeter for a while. i really want a fluke or a power probe but its out of the budget at the moment however i discovered this little discrepancy on the sears website.... ... ockType=G2 ... 0P?prdNo=1

this is basically craftsman taking a quality product and rebadging it... while at the same time... selling it for 16 dollars less than the actual manufacturers product. anyway i went and got one of these today andd hopefully it works out better than the cheapy investments in multimeters ive made in the past.

i also went to home depot to get myself a soldering gun, since my old soldering iron is almost old enough for medicare (although i dont know the brand, ive been using this hand me down soldering iron for over 15 years and really have no complaints) but after talking to alot of guys i know who do electrical work they say go get weller products because they last forever so i scratched up 30 bucks and got myself this puppy... ... er_reviews

as a thank you to myself for being myself. in a couple weeks i think im gonna get a heat gun so i don have to keep refilling the old butane torch and melting heat shrink all the time.

long story short, reliable tools that are there for you when you need them are a MUST... and they dont have to be expensive snap on brand stuff either, they just have to WORK


  • craftsman.jpg
    36.1 KB · Views: 75
  • extech.jpg
    28.9 KB · Views: 75

while I'm quite sure I'm not going to order a set of these sticker decals,
for my personal tool box
I can easily see where the sentiment gains a good deal of popularity


FLUKE is the brand of choice but they are expensive, shop around, Ive still got the original fluke multi meter I bought in HIGH SCHOOL and it STILL WORKS Ive purchase several imported multi meters from harbor freight , in the last 10 years alone and only one still works ... urer=FLUKE ... TERS&path=


a good quality if temp gun helps more than you might realize at diagnosing problems ... _-AllPages

if your dealing with tool rust issues

go to walmart and pick up a gallon of evapo-rust
throw in one tool and let it soak over night and see if you like the results,
before doing everything else.
after you let them sit over night, in evapo-rust,
rinse off in hot water and dawn dish washing detergent
dry heat gun,
then spray down in WD 40!2966!3!281698275525!!!g!469721874896!
Here in south florida, the moisture in the air is a constant problem concerning tool rust issues,
Ive for years just lightly misted the contents of the wrench and socket drawers with WD40 every few weeks

btw is you place a layer of cloth like terry towel or felt in the bottom of the tool chest drawers and theres also chemically treated liners designed to reduce rust forming
spray the tools ocasionally with WD 40 ,
they tend to rust less as the cloth retains and re-spreads the oily protective vapor
Last edited by a moderator:
philly said:
yea id love to get a fluke 88 but the things are pricey
Craigslist Phil.
Fleabay Ebay.

Best time to sneak onto ebay & win or Buy It Now is Midnight to 6am Central time I have found.
Or 12 Noon sharp. People having Lunch.
Few or none around . Just You.
87vette81big said:
philly said:
yea id love to get a fluke 88 but the things are pricey
Craigslist Phil.
Fleabay Ebay.

Best time to sneak onto ebay & win or Buy It Now is Midnight to 6am Central time I have found.
Or 12 Noon sharp. People having Lunch.
Few or none around . Just You.

good call im gonna check it out
so i went to harbor freight and picked up some deals today... including this tool box! this is what the finished product looks like in the shed now.


  • photo (5).JPG
    photo (5).JPG
    490.1 KB · Views: 58
the pegboard and associated hooks and accessories cost about 100 bucks total from home depot. the tool box i picked up today on sale at harbor freight for 369 bucks.

upon initial inspection the box is very solidly constructed, the drawers have a magnetic lock which i dont know if i like, i feel the latch mechanism is a more secure closure.

the four casters are big and solid and seem to be durable but i guess only time will tell. two of them swivel and the other two are fixed like a shopping cart. i think the box would be more easily mobilized if all four wheels swiveled but whatever.

the box itself is 41"wide and 40" tall and 18" deep and fits in my space there nicely. im going to grab my book of stickers and start bombarding it with some parts related stickers ive accumulated over the years.

all in all its a big solid box for a low low price, and it is expandable to a four piece superbox so that as i grow as a mechanic and my funds grow, my toolbox can grow with me. see below:


  • image_23824.jpg
    211.9 KB · Views: 58
That's a Nice Toolbox Phil at a Great Price.
As You grow as a Mechanic , Wait for the scratch & Dent specials from Snap On.
The Tool guy Dude. You can get them at 1/2 off or even 2/3 off from full price.
Ok To Haggle with them .
I do.

That picture of Monster Full set would be around 30K from Snap On.
Its the Mechanics Trained Mind & Skilled Hands that are most important assets.
Toolbox is nothing meaningfull.
thats why i wouldnt buy a massive getup from snap on as its so damn expensive... money better spent on go fast parts or actual tools
philly said:
thats why i wouldnt buy a massive getup from snap on as its so damn expensive... money better spent on go fast parts or actual tools
Yes Phil.
You will figure out when to invest & purchase the good stuff.
When starting out its most important to earn $$$&$$.
Learn trade secret shortcuts & done right the 1st time.
if you keep a sharp eye out on the classifieds and both Craig's list and bargain trader magazines
youll occasionally see estate sales or widows selling the late husbands tool sets
guys get divorced, fired, injured, businesses fail, guys get sick, guys retired, partnerships break-up, or a business is forced to move out of state for family or tax reasons, etc. most sets you see listed are junk or picked thru before you get there but occasionally youll find huge bargains if you have a few thousand $$$$ in ready cash,
I have knowledge of one guy I know,from a local track, who picked up easily $40-$45K in tools and tool boxes from a shop that closed about 20 years ago, when a guys wife was selling off assets after he got killed in a car accident, he offered her $19k ,(all he had access too)after looking over the shop and list of tooling, he was amazed at the extent of the shop tool list, and it included, lots of expensive machine tools, she said because he had not tried to be absurdly low in the cash offer like several other guys , had been before him,not only would she sell him the tools for the 19k, he could take the 7 full new 55 gallon barrels of racing fuel in the shop with the tools. so it obviously pays to both give realistic offers and treat people like you would hope they would treat your wife in a similar circumstance.

personally I think a few skilled helpers in the shop might make things go smoother

they all look like they have the potential required SKILLS TO ME!
Last edited by a moderator: