Scott's New Toolbox
The people that follow my blog are all quite wonderful. A special thank you goes out to my friend Mark Lewis in Granite Falls, North Carolina. Mark read my blog and saw that I was thinking about buying a new wooden toolbox and told me to "hang on, I've got a great coupon for one of those that will save you a bunch of money! Just let me drop it in the mail." Mark and I have never shaken hands before or seen each other eye to eye, but he is willing to help me out...and volunteering to do so.
As will most model railroaders, he was true to his word and the coupon arrived in the mail yesterday. The savings would be $40! He didn't have to do that but I'm so glad he bothered to take the time to send it to me. Naturally I wasted no time in using the coupon.
Mark Lewis...you are a gentleman and a scholar. I appreciate your friendship, kindness and fellowship in the hobby. Thank you for sending me the coupon!
Really, the hobby is about friends!
The toolbox came from Harbor Freight. This is the Windsor 8 Draw Wooden Tool Chest. It normally sells for $99.99, but the coupon from Mark made it $59. You can't beat that. My old tool box is well worn. I bought it on sale at Sam's Club about 25 years ago, or so...Sam's had just recently opened. It was a cheap knock off of the legendary Gerstner Box which is legendary to toolmakers. They are customized, finely crafted pieces that are quite expensive. One like mine would be about $700. I'm NOT spending $700 on a wood tool box when I can get a reasonable facsimile for $59. Ok, the drawers may be a little loose, the finish not quite perfect, felt a little bumpy...but no one even sees it but me. Ok, and you!
The box was picked up at the local Harbor Freight in West Jordan, UT which is a very nice, clean and well stocked store.
It was packed in plastic and foam to protect it and the outer corrugate was banded for support. I read the review on it, and like other things I've bought at Harbor Freight, you have to manage your expectations. Scott is NOT expecting a Gerstner Box. But it should function...
The finish wasn't great, with some dark and light panels, but all in all the color wasn't that bad. It was protected with a very good clear finish. The chest weighs 18 lbs empty.
This is a big box. 16 inches high, 20 inches high and 10 1/2 inches deep, it is larger than my other two tool boxes. The felt is a good even green color and smooth. The lumber is not the best cabinet lumber in the world, but it will hold up fine. My old box has a hole in the back where I bumped it once...this one is thick enough to absorb a hit.
This is an 8 drawer chest. The first two drawers on top come with subdividers. The are not finished, and are loose. I may put a coat of stain on them. Drawer action is surprisingly not to bad.
The next four drawers are a bit loose, but nicely finished. Perfect for smaller tools.
The last two bottom drawers are very loose and slide a bit rough. We may can fix that. All drawers are removable.
Let's take one out and look at it in detail...
These are very simple glued butt joints with two brads. Not very strong. The bottom is a thin hardboard material that would not take a liquid spill.
Here you can see the wood quality and the back of the drawer pull. The drawer pulls seem ok.
Here you can see the bottom of the drawer. If you wanted to upgrade the box a bit for yourself, I'd start with the drawer bottoms and put in a 3 ply ultra thin plywood.
The outside of the chest got a pretty good bit of finish, but inside appears to be scratched up a bit.
The front plate does not come out like the drawers do. It wouldn't be strong enough for a light work surface.
Here is the make and model information. Guess I better not remove it! I hate the Label Police!
The top opening is nicely finished with a shiny mirror. That is a machinist's tool that I've never had a use for. Now, if it was removable! I use small mirrors for lots of things.
The hardware all seems solid enough. Latches are strong, corners are covered. Hinges are well fit and strong.
The handle is steel with a plastic grip. There are no side handles, or "chest handles" for carrying it when its full. When you add tools it can approach 90 lbs!
Here is the side. Very coarse grain wood.
Back looked good. My guess is that if you buy one, buy it at the store and check it there before you bring it home. Pick out one you like better.
The chest does lock, but I'd probably never lock it. I seldom took my old one anywhere.
It comes with two sets of keys; one for the top hatch lock and the other for the plate that covers the drawers. Ok, more keys to worry with.
Here is the old soldier. Hardware is failing, hole in the back, drawers dirty and torn. Still, it works. I'll relegate tools that I seldom use to this box and put the frequently used tools in the new cabinet.
The runners are a bit rough, and there are drops of glue here and there. But it is sound construction for what I need. Using Lemon Pledge Furniture Polish, I gave all the runners on the chest and the drawers a good coating to help them slide better. Eventually I'll coat them in silicone when I find the tube.
All in all, if you can get this chest for $59, it is well worth the investment. If you have a spare $750...buy three great locomotives and still buy this chest.
My old chest had handles on the side which made it much easier and safer to carry. I'll miss this on the new chest.
Taylor is helping me by pulling all the tools out of the old chest. Things were overflowing out of the drawers and the top hand't closed since we had a good president. We decided to throw it all out, clean it all and sort it.
See how dirty it is? Here in the shop anything can fall in if the top is open. The drawers weren't that dirty.
I have too much stuff, and a lot of duplicates. Let's weed them out and straighten this up so that I can more easily find what I'm looking for and can build faster.
Mark Lewis...thanks again. I love the new chest! And saving $40.