You can go out and spend your hard earned cash on a nice metal tool chest with all the bells and whistles. And for many people like shop mechanics, this is just the thing they should do. But for others, the thought of going out and buying what they can just make themselves just doesn't settle right. These folks will find the most satisfaction from making a nice tool chest from plans or from their own design. And there is yet another type of person who wants something unique or special that can only be had at an auction house, or in an antique store. Lets take a closer look at these three options.
Go for a metal tool chest: Walk into virtually every mechanic's shop in the country and you will see not only one, but likely many tool chests that constitute the heart of the shop. Can you imagine a shop without these essentials? It'd be a pretty silly and unorganized shop that didn't have at least this basic organizational necessity. Wrenches, sockets, screwdrivers, pullers, measuring tapes, cutters, and literally hundreds (if not thousands) of tools of various sizes and shapes all readily accessible in the right tool chest. I, for one, am glad my mechanic has all these tool chests, especially at today's shop rates! Can you imagine if every time he needed a tool he had to dig through everything thrown into a cardboard box together? Yikes!
The modern metal tool chest usually includes ball bearing drawer slides, and lots of them. Casters that lock are common and are really nice for rolling a heavy chest across the shop. Tools are expensive, so keyed entry into at least some of the drawers is important. Some of these can get fairly spendy so do your research and make sure you are getting what you really want. If you have the need, and the money, this type of tool chest will give you years of faithful service.
Go for an antique tool chest: The person who opts for this type of tool chest is someone who probably doesn't really need one at all. Rather, they like old things that speak to them. If this person is you, and you keep an eye open at estate auctions and antique stores you will eventually find just the right chest that has the patina and charm of age that appeals to you. I've seen people use these types of chests to store almost anything other than tools. Probably the most interesting use I've ever seen was an old guy who had his massive collection of political buttons stored in the shallow drawers. It was ideal for him.
Go for a homemade tool chest: For the person who makes their own tool chest, he probably has a specific function in mind. A friend of mine made his out of black walnut and it hangs proudly on the wall of his wood shop. It has three panels. The center one is stationary and the two "wing" panels are hinged to swing out from the center. Inside is an amazingly organized system for storing his tools. I can only imagine how nice it must be to access the tool you need without digging in the bottom of a tool box siting on the bench.
These are just three ways to go and only you know which way is best for you. Now get out there and buy, make, or search for the perfect tool chest for your needs.
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