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Discussion Starter #1
I'm fed up with having my tools located in numerous tool boxes and want to upgrade and better organize. Yes, I've been a cheapskate all these years.

What's a decent low-to-mid range tool chest these days? I can't afford $nap-On models and I've read mostly bad things about the quality of today's Craftsman units.

I'm thinking 26"-27" width, as I have some fairly long wrenches and specialty tools that need a better home. I think 24" may be a bit too narrow for some of these. I guess it depends on the thickness of metal and slides. I'd rather not have to store these tools diagonally.

I also have some bulky specialty tools that aren't going to fit in shallow drawers, so I'll need a combo that has 2-3 deep drawers at bottom, medium depth in the middle and then the usual shallow ones up top. Maybe I could get by with doors at bottom. I definitely want enclosed storage all around.

I'm not sure how many drawers I'll need up top, and whether to go with split drawers (side-by-side). I do have quite a few smaller tools, but it seems the split ones generally cost a lot more (due to the extra slides & bearings, I presume).

I want something that will last me a long time, as a weekend mechanic, but won't break the bank.

Are the Harbor Freight US General models worth driving out of town to take a look at?
 

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Watch for Snap-On used on craigslist. It may take a month or two but I've seen killer deals on really clean boxes for those who have cash and can pick it up quick.
 

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I have Snap-On and Stanley Vidmar boxes. I have them because I got a crazy deal. I know quite a few folks that have the HF boxes and they are not bad. People will talk smack about them because they are from HF, but they are actually about the same quality as the newer low-end Craftsman boxes for a much better price. You can also find really good deals on vintage boxes on Craigslist or estate sales.
 

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After 6 years of fussing with this tbird, at this point, I'm not sure i need any more hand tools. I keep getting extra freebie points from Sears but there's nothing much that I want/need to buy at this point. I think my last purchase was a 36mm just because (not that I plan to detach any spindles from axles anytime soon).



I second the nomination about buying a second hand chest if you can find someone upgrading who hasn't beat the first one to hell.
A friend sold me his old COMEC Model 220 tool chest - 32" w x 18" d x 33" h (it's an italian mfg and he personally brought it over from Israel) for $100.
It was $100 well spent but I still needed to add a smaller chest on top for the screwdrivers/etc.
Smaller chest added another
Width (in.):20.6
Depth (in.):9.3
Height (in.):15.2
Width Range:Less than 26 in.
All together, this combo is perfect size to roll onto the truck to take to the racetrack and I don't need the top to be workspace b/c my garage already has benches.

I keep all my hand tools+makita+diag tools on it and the bigger items (ex: sledge) in the pockets on the side. Some of my specialty tools (ex: grease gun, brake bleeder, harmonic balancer puller, etc) don't fit but can easily be transported in my old standby for the race-track (stackable milk crates).

If I had to buy something new, I'd get a taller chest (something with the top chest) but I'm not sure I'd go wider. I access the stuff I keep in my toolchest regularly but i do NOT need to access my specialty stuff that often so there's no issue (for me) with that stuff living on a shelf in the garage above the workbench instead of a shiny red/silver/blue/black box.

-g
 

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The Parts Guy
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Watch for Snap-On used on craigslist. It may take a month or two but I've seen killer deals on really clean boxes for those who have cash and can pick it up quick.
I'll second that. My bottom cabinet is a Snap-on that is far older than me, and is certain to be around long after I'm gone.
 

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Personally, I just upgraded from a Harbor Freight lift-top to a Cornwell 57" unit. Had no qualms with the Harbor Freight unit aside from the slides on the drawers were a pretty light duty. I needed the space and got a second hand Cornwell box for a clean $3000. As with Snap-On, the slides on them are super sturdy and each one of the could support my weight if I felt brave enough to risk it. Harbor Freight boxes are decent, but the quality is consumer grade at best. If you have a lot of heavy tools, I would look for something professional or industrial grade, like Snap-On, Cornwell, MAC or Matco, etc. Otherwise, any of the consumer grade companies like Craftsman, Husky, Harbor Freight and the like will do you just fine. Just make sure to take care of them, as the slides and caster wheels wear out a little easier than the expensive boxes.
 

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At work I have a Kobalt and the top Box has the same capacity as a HF complete chest. Brand is not that important, just make sure to get quality slides.
 

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Discussion Starter #8 (Edited)
Found a couple of stainless ones on local-ish CL: CSPS and Steeltek

The CSPS features diamond plate drawers, which seems like it should be pretty sturdy under load (?).

I like the thought of not having to worry about paint coming off for any reason, a need for refinishing, or rust.

The biggest problems would be getting it here and making room in my tiny garage (e.g., the 41" one). I don't have a truck, but I suppose I could rent one (or a van) for about $20 for a day + gas, and factor that into my offer(s). I'd also need to make sure the seller could/would help me load the thing.
I can [generally] get new units shipped to my front door, and I have a back that's prone to catching, so there's that to consider.
 
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