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Toolboxes - onboard and portable - compact

Discussion in 'Technical Discussion' started by 30West, Jul 13, 2017.

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  1. 30West

    30West Member

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    If you want to go out and buy a toolbox for a boat, either mounted or something portable, what would it be?

    I keep big, rolling toolboxes at home and at one of my workplaces, and a pretty big box in my SUV. I've recently bought some Dewalt Tough System boxes for my car and boat, they seem as rugged and waterproof as anything I've found. They actually have pressure-relief valves like Pelican boxes, and over-centering latches. I'm not sure if the latches will rust, but the tools should stay dry with a desiccant pack.

    I like that I can latch them together to tie them down, or separate them for ease of carrying up and down stairs or ladders. I bought one big box for spares, and several shallow boxes for tools. It is always nicer to have drawers, but that takes up valuable space. Multiple shallow boxes allow me to stuff these full and still find tools when working. I bought one clear-top organizer box, kind of nice to see what is in it, but fewer handles and probably not as airtight. I'm still finding ways to organize in them, like putting all my combo wrenches on large D-rings made for that purpose.

    I looked at Bosch and other waterproof stacking toolboxes, their smaller footprint seemed like a plus, but less rugged, and some bigger tools might not fit. Pelican is a lot of money for what they are, even copies I looked at in China were pricey.

    I'm still not sold on this brand over the other similar offerings, but impressed.
  2. dainisk

    dainisk Member

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    I've tried different plastic fishing tackle boxes over the years. They have been good and bad, so you really have to scout around to find something that works for tools. My current one has canvas pockets around the sides, so that helps against corner damage by knocking the tool box against something. They are not waterproof boxes, but then, I keep the box in a dry location anyway. I've recently seen some purely canvas tool 'boxes', but haven't tried them yet. My mechanic uses a huge soft-sided tool bag. A few clear small parts boxes also fit in for small repair items, screws, lugs, bulbs, fuses, small tools, etc. I carry enough tools to fix about 99% of anything. As for spares, they are mostly kept in clear plastic stackable storage boxes. Again not waterproof and the lids keep things clean and they live in dry locations in the lazarette or other parts lower down but dry in the boat.
  3. RT46

    RT46 Senior Member

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    I have a full set of tools in a metal craftsman tool box mounted in the engine room.
    It is quite heavy and may be unnecessary, but there is pretty much every tool that would be necessary for just about any repair or level of maintenance that I am capable of.

    I also keep a small set of common hand tools in a drawer in the salon for quick and routine fixes and maintenance.
  4. 30West

    30West Member

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    I like the idea of a bigger box for major repairs, and hand tools quick at hand. I may set up a box of quick-access tools on the boat for daily trips, and add my bigger box from my truck for anything overnight or longer.

    I don't think my toolbox will get wet, but it is a humid environment. Canvas would be nice for moving in and out of boats, my boxes are pretty solid when they hit anything, and big and awkward. Even the small boxes can get pretty heavy when packed with tools.
  5. RT46

    RT46 Senior Member

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    toolbox in ER.jpg
  6. 30West

    30West Member

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    Do you strap that down, or is the bottom screwed down? Do you have another box for spare filters, belts, hoses, fuses, bulbs, etc., etc.? I have an empty corner in my engine room for a spares box, not very convenient for toolbox with drawers like yours. Might build a removable shelf/work surface over my batteries.
  7. ranger42c

    ranger42c Member

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    I keep a Craftsman 3-drawer version in the engine room -- similar to RT46's pic, but with a plastic body and lid and metal drawers. SAE and metric wrenches in one drawer, pliers and so forth in a second drawer, screwdrivers (and similar shapes) in a third drawer, and all the sockets and ratchet drives and related in the top. Mostly all the tools I routinely use down below. (The 4-drawer version would have been nice, but wouldn't fit quite as well in our ER.)

    Plus two smaller medium-sized plastic toolboxes in a locker in the saloon, along with the portable electric drill in its own box with extra batteries, charger, etc. The smaller of the two houses the tools we use most often, for various odd jobs. The larger holds the rest of the tools that we would usually use above-decks, but aren't in common demand.

    A fourth box -- a multi-layer tackle box -- is for electrical tools and supplies (butt connectors, fuses, etc.) and also kept in another storage area in the saloon.

    -Chris
  8. PacBlue

    PacBlue Senior Member

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  9. RT46

    RT46 Senior Member

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    for the record that is not my boat in pic. I took it off an internet listing.
    However it is the exact same tool box that I have, mounted in the same location, on the same boat.
  10. rcrapps

    rcrapps Senior Member

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    After near 10 years, my larger metal tool chest and contained tools show no signs of rust. Sitting ahead of my std 12v71.
    14 year old water heater looks good also.

    No Golden Rods or de-humidifyers, just the heat from a A/C water pump and a few A/C compressors.
  11. wdrzal

    wdrzal Senior Member

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    I Like my hand tools in a case with pallets ,each tool has its place. I have all the above, plus. You don't need water tight boxes. I purchase dozens of brief case style (usually 6" to 12" thick by 18" t0 22" ) for my company. Most are from Sears made by Chicago case company and are filled with Craftsmen tools. Sears doesn't display or advertise these in there stores. Pick up a Sears/Craftsman Tool catalog. From $300.00 on up you get tools fitted to the case. I purchased many winged pallet cases & tools for over 800.00 & up. In any case you get basic tools and room under and behind the pallets to personalize it to your needs with extra tools like a electrical meter and so on . There are manyother company's that fill these cases with there tools, but can't beat sears warranty policy

    A 6" Chicago case co. case is $100.00 to $150.00 without any tools.

    There rugged for everyday commercial use, I have some of these tool kits that are 30 years old and the latches work perfectly. Even all my personal cars carry a 4" or 6" case with basic tools . I also had Chicago case company build specific pallets and cases to hold tools grouped for job specific use. I've even take tools that come in a case and double case them ,to keep the original case in good condition .Especially soft cased tools like say a fluke multimeters and items of that type ,or very sensitive or expensive test equipment.

    With all that said you need many other types of boxes for other purposes.

    If they wouldn't commit me to a insane asylum I would have some cool looking tools hanging on the walls or out for display in my home instead of pictures, and other clutter I'd decorate with tools.

    My DSL has been dropping out dozens of times a day for a week, so while I'm typing this I'm watching a Fluke 200Mhz 4 channel color oscilloscope trying to isolate the problem. Looks like noise on the line. Now too see if the noise is on the line coming in or something inside my home like a modem, phone or fax is starting to fail.
    link:

    http://www.chicagocase.com/
    http://www.chicagocase.com/mainCategory.php?id=15

    Walt
    Last edited: Jul 16, 2017
  12. olderboater

    olderboater Senior Member

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    Sentinel and Pelican make some great cases not dissimilar to those you linked to from Chicago. Snap-On has some great cases under their name as well.

    I wonder what we'll see develop with Craftsman now that they're owned by Black and Decker and not Sears.

    It's hard to beat the long time leaders in the automotive and truck industries and that's Snap-On and Mac.
  13. ranger42c

    ranger42c Member

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    I forgot to mention a Rubbermaid step-stool/toolbox thing I keep in the engine room, too. Has an insert tray, so some small things on top and bigger things in the belly. I use it mostly for plumbing related stuff: flush adapter fittings, zincs, etc. Makes a good seat, too!

    -Chris
  14. wdrzal

    wdrzal Senior Member

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    I have Pelican boxes ,there great, but much more expensive. Case's military spec boxes are water proof also.

    I head Craftsman is discontinuing there Professional line of tools. I'm a fan of those, hope that's not true. I have Snap-on and Mac tools too, but unless you buy something every week they stop showing up unless they are there to pick up you payment on the money you owe them@ 32 percent interest.
  15. olderboater

    olderboater Senior Member

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    The Stanley Black and Decker acquisition of Craftsman has a lot of interesting aspects. First, they bought the entire line, not just the tools, and only 35% of Craftsman's sales are tools. They sell everything from lawnmowers to garage door openers, things SBD didn't have.

    The reason some expect the professional line of Craftsman to be dropped is that SBD already has MAC. By that same logic though they'd drop the regular craftsman as they already have Stanley and Dewalt and others, so I don't think that's automatic. Another twist is that Craftsman has US manufacturing agreements while Stanley is largely foreign. SBD might capitalize on those agreements.

    No one has said what limitations the contract on the sale has as to where Craftsman can be sold. Right now they're almost all Sear's except for some Ace Hardware. So, where will we see Craftsman?

    Stanley Black and Decker has been built on acquisitions so nothing unusual about this move, just the name. However, Craftsman doen't have nearly the market share they once had, so it's not as huge a deal as it might seem. Their sales were dependent on Sear and we all know how Sears sales have dropped.

    For anyone worried, SBD has said they will honor the existing warranties. They haven't said anything about future warranties, but based on their other entities and prior acquisitions I wouldn't be surprised to see the warranties changed.
  16. rcrapps

    rcrapps Senior Member

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    My last several attempts at Craftsman tool replacement has been a bit disappointing; The offer refurbish ratchets, that at the register, don't work. I have to go thru a selection to find a good tool. Pretty sad.
    They have denied tool replacement at first on screw drivers and wrenches till I called managers in and asked them to read the name on the tool. They remember me and don't argue like they did at first.
    They have won some arguments on discontinued tools also.
    My best tools in my van continue to be SK. I have no idea who they are. Never split a SK socket. Picked up in a pawn shop. Best bux I've spent on sockets and wrenches.
    Mac, Craftsman, Cornwell and Snap-on are in my boxes also.
    The tool van drivers up here don't like a stranger taping on them for tool replacement; Did you buy this from me??????
    Guess I can't blame them.
  17. olderboater

    olderboater Senior Member

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    I can understand why the drivers don't like that since it's their business you're asking. We obviously don't have any van that comes by regularly but we call the local one when we have a need and schedule a time. We have very few replacements. Every once in a while a screwdriver or something we misplaced. No more major tool purchases until we purchase another boat and that's not happening this year.
  18. 30West

    30West Member

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    Similar experience with Craftsman over the years, they can't seem to make a 1/4" ratchet wrench that lasts through a use, and the refurbs are no better than their new. They seem to keep selling their torque wrenches, probably because people have to keep replacing them. I've found Stanley from a big box hardware store does very well, and the big box store replaces them no question if there is a problem.

    Chinese quality has gone up rapidly, better quality control and metallurgy, better machinery, even the expensive tools seem to be made there now. SK tools are a mystery to me, I have some that appear to be very high quality, and some that are just junk. I'm not sure if there have been two SK tools over the years.
  19. wdrzal

    wdrzal Senior Member

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    Proto is another of my favorite high quality brands that hasn't been mentioned yet.
  20. chesapeake46

    chesapeake46 Senior Member

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    I have also had good luck with Proto in both the 1/4 drive sets and 3/8.

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