The value of being able to roll my tools to the job, have the correct tool readily available, have my tools organized for their protection and use, and to have a usable work surface is well worth the one-time cost of the roll-away.
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Friends Come And Go
One of the things that became lost when I was drafted into the Army in 1969 was my roll around tool chest. Since over the following decades I did not ever take another job as a mechanic, replacing it never became a priority. While I did pick up a nice tool box, the big red roll-around remained a distant memory in a corner of my mind. Over the numerous years and moves, I learned to hang my most used tools on garage peg board and piled on basement shelves. If I could not immediately locate a tool, then I drove to Sears or Harbor Freight and picked up a replacement. So it should not be a surprise to anyone that my garage was littered with piles and stacks of tool rolls, tool sets, and boxes of tools. Then last weekend when a former professional mechanic friend was hanging around providing oversight of a minor service on my motorcycle (using that oversight as his excuse for skipping his honey do list at home), he remarked, Why dont you have a proper tool box? Ah, the gauntlet was thrown down and we headed off to Sears!
Price vs. Want vs. Need
Walking into the Sears showroom I was immediately confronted with $2000.00 stainless steel professional tool chests. Fighting back the testosterone, I worked my way back to more the familiar territory of the homeowner series products. Once back where my wallet and needs belonged, I balanced what I once used to bring home the bacon and what I really needed handy to maintain my mini fleet of motorized loved ones. Balancing my list of most used tools with the displayed on sale tool chests, the 5 Drawer Homeowner Roll-Away, discounted by $50.00, fit the bill.
The 5 Drawer Homeowner Roll-Away has over 8,000 American cubic inches of storage space for 300 pounds of manly tools! For someone who grew up lusting after massive cubic inches of Dodge Hemi performance, numbers designated like that went straight to my heart. The chest is 31 1/4 inches tall, 26 ½ inches wide, and 18 inches deep. All drawers are 22 1/8 inches wide and 16 ¾ inches deep. Since most tools are different sizes, one drawer is 2 inches high, two are 4 inches, and two are 6 1/8 inches. That way you can make the best use of your new storage space. The deep drawers are at the bottom for heavier tools so that it is more stable. To feed that lust for manly tool storage, you are getting 63 ½ pounds of red baked enamel coated steel (OK, the drawer handles are made of aluminum), rolling tool chest with four 3 inch casters. Two of the casters are rigid, one swivels and one swivel caster has a toe brake to limit uncommanded roll-away. There is an external locking bar, with a keyed tumbler lock, to keep your tools safe from prying hands and eyes.
Out Of The Box
Picking up the roll-away presented yet another set of challenges. Sears has this chest packed for shipment by the most common of common carriers (those are commercial trucks to the uninitiated), so the box is a bit larger than the protected contents. Most buyers would welcome that level of thoughtfulness, but there was no way it would fit either in the trunk or through the back doors of my car ! Removal of the packaging revealed the shining red baked enamel, and allowed us to muscle it into the back seat. Assembly consisted of bolting the four casters onto the bottom with exactly the right number of supplied SAE American sized nuts and bolts. Removal of the bottom drawer like the directions state does make caster installation much easier. There is a storage / work surface area on the top that has a three sided lip to contain whatever you chose to put there. Normally that area is used to place smaller, additional drawered tool chests, so my smaller Craftsman tool box fit just fine.
Official Accessories Or Not
Any modern purchase would never be complete without accessories. Craftsman offers individual non-slip drawer liners, or rolls of non-slip material for $21.99. Always one who feels he has to beat the system, I stopped by the local home center and found three rolls of similar material for less than $15. Then there was the question of the $17.99 for a six piece socket tray organizer, that I answered with four $.99 Harbor Freight socket organizers. And since no handle was offered, I also picked up a $10 towel rack at the home center to attach to the chest. Even with the sale price of the roll-away, I was able to keep about $20 to use toward other stuff to put in those drawers.
Full disclosure includes reminding yourself that this is a homeowner designed product. It is not the serious professional grade product it resembles. No, even as it is painted red like the ones the big boys use, it is designed for lighter use. But since mine will rarely leave the comfort of my own garage, and will normally only be opened on weekends and during personal vehicle fleet service (those are the light maintenance tasks I do not pay a dealer service department to perform), it should easily be up to typical home mechanic (or would be mechanic) use. I fully expect this tool chest to still be around as part of my estate.
The toughest part of upgrading a tool box is filling it. Much like the proverbial womans purse, tool boxes end up being catch-alls for mismatched tools and left over mechanical bits and pieces. Those shelves and boxes stacked around the garage add to what should be kept handy in those non-slip lined drawers. I was almost embarrassed to find that the available 8,000 cubic inches of storage space held most all of the contents of two sets of cheap metal shelves! Being pushed to actually organize those tools piled around my garage I found that I had three complete sets of socket wrenches, and a bag of unmatched wrenches! Organizing my tools so that I could easily find them, or know that they had not been left in a critical location of the suspension or engine, really does speed a task to completion. At the end of the day, there was more space to work in, two fewer sets of shelves, and I was burdened with much less search time for that extra 10 mm deep well socket I needed for that once every 6,000 mile scheduled service! Some might say it was the benefit of organization, I say it was magic!
The real value of being able to roll my tools to the job at hand, to have the correct tool readily available, to have my tools organized for their protection and use, and to have a usable work surface is well worth the one-time cost of the roll-away.
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Amount Paid (US$): 109.99