Mechanics toolchest for woodshop ?

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Can anyone recommend a good mechanics tool chest (roller base & upper) that can tolerate being in an often dusty woodshop? My current chest is too small, cheap, drawers are hard to open, and too much dust gets in the drawers and slides. Hoping not to spend too much money, ideally below $1k for a 36" base & upper.
Craftsman high-end would be about $2k for 36" base & upper, low end about $800, but low end slides are really rough.
Husky (home depot) seems really cheap.
Also considering Kennedy, Proto, Westward
Any recommendations appreciated.
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used. i see these on my local craigslist all the time.
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The current issue of ShopNotes No.84 has an article about choosing a mechanics tool chest:
Ultimate Garage: Roll-Around Tool Cabinets A metal, roll-around cabinet is a great way to organize and protect a shop full of tools. Learn all about choosing the right kind.
Might help
Jim http://www.woodblog.com
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I've been shopping for one also. The craftsman models seem to be on sale a lot. The main thing to avoid the cheap feel, as far as I can tell, is ball bearing slides.
The other day, I found an old copy of shopnotes with an "heirloom tool cabinet". Seemed sort of limited on space to me, but it got me thinking about it. I could invest some money in some seriously nice drawer slides, then make the entire cabinet myself. I still may do this, but I decided against it for the time being because all of my tools are in a vast collection of little red plastic tool boxes.
brian
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The Kobalt at Lowes looks OK. Our Costco has a nice, large, stainless, one unit for about $700 that looks pretty good, if the drawer sizes are right for you. I'm pretty sure a quality used one would be fine, if it's been cared for. Wilson

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on 10/26/2005 3:45 PM Folklore said the following:

As someone else said, ball-bearing drawer slides seem to be key. The cheap crap won't have them and once you have ball-bearings, there seem to be several grades.
I saw a rather nice looking roller base and chest at Costco. All stainless steel, ball-bearing drawers - a big honking combination.
Can't remember the exact price but I'm thinking around $750 or so.
Seemed really substantial but I gave it only a quick once over as I'm not in the market.
I have a set of Stack-On roller base, chest and side cabinet. Works well for my mechanic's tools and it wasn't high end. Drawers, though not ball-bearing, work well. They do have some nicer stuff for more $$$
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my BIL got the best one harborfreight sells. it doesn't look too bad- stout enough construction and ball bearing slides.
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Bet that's the one I just posted the url on. I've looked at it at the local HF and it's a pretty good looking chest.
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"Folklore" wrote

the early 70s. However, I was a mechanic and my box was in constant, high and heavy use until I changed professions in 87'. Recently, I needed an additional chest for my router-bits and accessories and chose the Craftsman 5 drawer/ball bearing slides box. Its not nearly as well built or heavy as my 30 year old Snap-on, but it keeps the tools organized just fine.
Dave
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Similar ones pop up at Home Depot now and then.
Did you look at Grizzly? I have seen two in shops and though they may not be the best, they are priced economically. And they have RTA shop cabinets, wall metal cabinets, carts, etc. The only objection I heard was that they didn't think that tool chests should be painted grizzly green.
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Sams Club has often had a top and bottom chest with good sized drawers. STAINLESS STEEL, 40" wide IIRC and both boxes stand about 6' tall. A bit under $700.
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I happened to look at this unit at Sam's Club the other day. (I can't afford one and was just looking out of curiousity.)
The ball bearing slides seemed a little bit rough for the price. The locking mechanism was screwed up on the display. The top was open and it was supposedly unlocked, but the drawers would not all open. I had to lokc the unit and then unlock to get all the drawers to open.
Brian Elfert
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I like the lowest Craftman line that has ball-bearing slides. Kinda Middle-ish. I worked in a custom electronics fab shop where we kept our mechanics tools in just such a chest.
I've also noticed MANY of these chests purchased by shows where they hide the logo ('cuz MAC, SnapOn, et al was a sponsor) which to me is always a ringing endorsement.
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Charles Krug wrote:

Same here.
I also have some extra bottom units with wheels around the shop holding routers, sanders, jigs, and saw accessories. They work fine, and they're relatively cheap. I got the idea in several local millwork shops. We all have the same boxes.
If I was going to spend for a pro-level box, I'd probably just build a nice one out of wood.
Barry
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Id' go with building the cabinet and buying metal drawers. http://www.leevalley.com/wood/page.aspx?c=2&pF037&cat=1,43326,43330
or maybe just buying metal drawer sides. http://www.leevalley.com/hardware/page.aspx?c=2&pE048&cat=3,43614,43616
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Might take a look at Clarke tool chests. Available at Tractor Supply (TSC) and I am sure other locations. My wife gave me a roll-around set for Christmas a couple of years ago and it is very nice equipment. Heavy gage, ball-bearing drawers, etc. Not cheap but well worth the investment.
RonB
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I've got a high end Craftsman that is doing fine after 19 years in machine shops. I've seen plenty of Kennedys and Waterloos that do just as well. For your use, any of the above will outlive you.

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I'd submit that the cheaper cabinets with the cheaper slides would be better suited for a woodshop environment vs high rent cabinets with special bearings, because of sawdust buildup. Cheap ones are real easy to clean too. John
Folklore wrote:

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Believe it or not, Harbor Freight has a really nice lower unit for a great price - as tool cabinets go. Under $400 and it's ball bearing loaded in the drawers. Lots of good sized drawers, nice flat work surface on top. It lists for $495 on the web site, but our local HF has it priced at about a hundred bucks lower than that all of the time. The URL is... http://www.harborfreight.com/cpi/ctaf/Displayitem.taf?itemnumber320
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gerstnerusa.com
Pricey maybe Bob AZ
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