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  • Running out of toolbox space

    I have a 26" rollabout toolchest from Craftsman, it has the 4 drawer bottom roll around, 18 inches deep, and the intermediate chest with 3 drawers and the top chest with several drawers and the top lid space, both 12" deep.

    I'm thinking about getting another 3 drawer intermediate cabinet of the same width but 16 inches deep, to go under my intermediate cabinet. Adds one more foot vertically. Only 85 bucks.

    Will the top chest be too high to use conveniently? I'm only 5'-6" or 5'-7" tall.
    Last edited by LCHIEN; 12-31-2018, 05:31 PM.
    Loring in Katy, TX USA
    If your only tool is a hammer, you tend to treat all problems as if they were nails.
    BT3 FAQ - https://www.sawdustzone.org/forum/di...sked-questions

  • #2
    Originally posted by LCHIEN View Post
    I have a 26" rollabout toolchest from Craftsman, it has the 4 drawer bottom roll around, 18 inches deep, and the intermediate chest with 3 drawers and the top chest with several drawers and the top lid space, both 12" deep.

    I'm thinking about getting another 3 drawer intermediate cabinet of the same width but 16 inches deep, to go under my intermediate cabinet. Adds one more foot vertically. Only 85 bucks.

    Will the top chest be too high to use conveniently? I'm only 5'-6" or 5'-7" tall.
    I have a chest, intermediate chest, and top chest. I am similar height and don't have any issues accessing anything, but I think another foot higher would make it difficult to look down into the upper drawers to see the tools. In addition, by setup is already "tippy" - it is too high for the footprint, so even loaded down with heavier tools on the bottom to lower the COG it acts like it wants to tip when I roll over a bump or even the slightly sloped floor around the floor drain. It has not tipped over, but it's uncomfortable and stressful when I move it, I am afraid it will tip.
    --------------------------------------------------
    Electrical Engineer by day, Woodworker by night

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    • #3
      I don't know how to calculate the ideal height of a tool chest to the height of a person - like I do with ideal working height of different shop tools to a person, however, I would say/guess that a tool chest's top height should not be any higher than 12 inches below eye level at best. In other words, Eye level height, then 12 inches below that for maximum height. Any higher and the viewing angle would be somewhat obscured unless directly over it, - plus reach into it would be awkward. I figure that the to tool chest height should not be above the arm pit to allow reach into the top of the tool chest to allow un-obstructive reach - probably 2 to 4 inches below the arm pit as a maximum.

      So, to me, the two criteria would be 1. view-ability into, and 2. reach into top chest - in relation to personal height, eye level and arm pit level as maximum. A few inches below that would be optimum.

      This is purely practical subjectivity - IMO.
      Last edited by leehljp; 01-01-2019, 12:01 PM.
      Hank Lee

      Experience is what you get when you don't get what you wanted!

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      • #4
        My toolbox is probably over 7’ tall. It’s a mixture of Kennedy bottom box and side boxes,Craftsman snap on top boxes. The drawers and top storage areas of the 2 top boxes that I can’t see in are used for tools that are seldom used and duplicates. I know where they are and like them there rather than hid away somewhere I might..... no, definitely will forget where I store them. If I need anything out of them I get out the step stool. My tool box is also raised pretty high off the floor because my rule is everything possible in the shop will be on wheels.... good stout wheels that I can actually move something with! I like to be able to sweep and vacuum underneath my toolsbox and equipment.

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        Last edited by capncarl; 01-01-2019, 03:02 PM.

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        • #5
          I have a couple of those HF 3-piece, 11-drawer rolling (4" casters) tool cabinets I bought about four years ago. By your description, it seems similar to the Craftsman that you have. On my HF, the top tray with the lid open is 51-1/4 inches high, and I stand 5'10, maybe 5'11 (gravity is getting to me) and that's no problem seeing all the contents of the tray area, even if I bend my knees a bit to match your height, I can see into the tray just fine. But, if I made it another foot higher I think I'd have to stand on my toes a bit.

          If our tool chests are similar in height, you may have to put a small 4-inch step in front of the cabinet.

          CWS
          Think it Through Before You Do!

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          • #6
            Yeah, I think the top drawers will be hard to see into. But vertical space is almost free in the shop whereas horizontal space is now at a premium. I'm planning on a small wooden step (yes, CWS, about 4-5 inches) that's just tall enough not to block the bottom drawer. Fortunately I have the tools and skills to make one easily!
            Last edited by LCHIEN; 01-02-2019, 10:10 PM.
            Loring in Katy, TX USA
            If your only tool is a hammer, you tend to treat all problems as if they were nails.
            BT3 FAQ - https://www.sawdustzone.org/forum/di...sked-questions

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            • #7
              My suggestion above was purely subjective. Capncarl's method is what I used to do. But since passing 70, I don't like excessive climbing of steps to reach things when I am in a contorted position. I can still do that, but I need to work smarter - by avoiding the hints of potential falls or mis-steps or getting off-balance.
              Hank Lee

              Experience is what you get when you don't get what you wanted!

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              • #8
                The tools that I keep in the top section of my tool box are combination end wrenches 1” and larger..... real space hogs, all sockets above 1” , specialty tools that only get used once, like a crankshaft locking tool for a Honda Civic, cylinder hones, ring compressors and duplicates already in the lower part of the tool box. I looked in the top boxes for the first time in over a year during Christmas when I was purging my duplicate tools to my sons.

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                • #9
                  I got my toolchest from Sears online for a reasonable amount. It arrived with free shipping at the local Sears Hardware store and I picked it up. Less than a month later the store closed as Sears declared yet another reorganization.

                  Yes, I have to use a stepstool to locate and get stuff from the top - small, narrow drawers so its not an option to relocate larger less used tools to the top but the stepstool is still lower than the bottom drawer so I don't have to remove it to get at the bottom drawer.

                  The quality of the toolbox has gone down, this one was not level and I had to shim one of the corners to keep the chest from rocking.
                  Loring in Katy, TX USA
                  If your only tool is a hammer, you tend to treat all problems as if they were nails.
                  BT3 FAQ - https://www.sawdustzone.org/forum/di...sked-questions

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                  • #10
                    The shop step stool I use is a 2 step, cant think of the brand, that folds like a step ladder and has hand grips and a fold up shelf that is about waist high when standing on the top (second) step. I feel reasonably safe using it.
                    A design flaw of the consumer grade tool boxes is the lack of reinforcement in the bottom of the tool box. The casters are simply bolted to a thin flat piece of sheet metal that buckles when the tool box is really weighted down or pushed around on the driveway and encounters concrete expansion joints or cracks. Heck, you can’t even have a friendly tool box race don the driveway with a couple of your overweight beer drinking buds hanging on top without caving in the bottom of the box with the casters!
                    The drawers and slides are usually equally as cheaply made.

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                    • #11
                      Why not make a tool box to fit the space you have? It doesn’t have to made out of metal to be a good tool box! in the wood side of my shop I had a piece of junk 7’ x 36” metal cabinet with 2 warped sliding doors that never wanted to open. The only good thing about the cabinet was the top that is 2” thick composite wood, making a good work bench. I knocked the front out of it and built 2 slide in cabinets with drawers sized to fit skill saws, router boxes etc. the drawers are 3/4 plywood glued and nailed together and the slides came out of some computer server rack. The slides are really heavy duty, I believe you could stand in the drawers and not damage them, the slides are over reach and pull out the entire drawer depth. The cost was 2 sheets of 1/2” and 1 sheet of 3/4l Lowe’s plywood and 7 sets of drawer slides from Habitat. Lots cheaper than what harbor freight boxes that size would have cost, and the my tools fit where I want them.
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                      • #12




                        Or you could add stairs if it's a little too big to see the upper shelves.
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                        YOU DONT HAVE TO TRAIN TO BE MISERABLE. YOU HAVE TO TRAIN TO ENDURE MISERY.

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                        • #13
                          Height challenged tool box? Bottom of the box is 7+ high.
                          Not everything can be at ground level.
                          Here is photo of my 3 storage tool boxes that I use for electrical breakers, boxes and conduit fittings,, specialty auto tools and hydraulic hose fittings, fittings that I will probably never use but just refuse to get rid of.
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                          • #14
                            Originally posted by LCHIEN View Post
                            I have a 26" rollabout toolchest from Craftsman, it has the 4 drawer bottom roll around, 18 inches deep, and the intermediate chest with 3 drawers and the top chest with several drawers and the top lid space, both 12" deep.

                            I'm thinking about getting another 3 drawer intermediate cabinet of the same width but 16 inches deep, to go under my intermediate cabinet. Adds one more foot vertically. Only 85 bucks.

                            Will the top chest be too high to use conveniently? I'm only 5'-6" or 5'-7" tall.
                            FWIW, that puts you at 5-6" shorter than me, so take that into consideration...

                            I have an old 26" Craftsman bottom chest sort of like https://www.craftsman.com/products/2...?taxon_id=6715 but with 2 extra small drawers, so add say 4" to the height.

                            For a top chest I have a Stanley Proto 7 drawer top chest that is about the size of this Craftsman. https://www.craftsman.com/products/2...?taxon_id=6713 But one drawer shorter, and the top drawer is split into three, so subtract 3" from the height.

                            WIth this setup My 5' tall wife has no problems getting to items in the top chest.

                            I had at one time, and they don't seem to sell them anymore, a 3 drawer intermediate

                            I too am running out of space. Much of it came from bits and pieces that were tossed my way over the year that are truly excess that I need to go through and purge. When I bought the tool cabinet oroginally I was working as an auto mechanic, over the years I have obtained tools for plumbing, electrical, HVAC, and of course woodworking.While the woodworking tools would stay in the on wall storage cabinets I built years ago, I could consolidate my auto, plumbing. HVAC etc... tools and oddly enough, save floor space by going with a wider tool storage unit. Going higher certainly won't work. My wife will never be able to access it so would become worthless as a shop helper, and I'd have to stretch too much to get to it...

                            I can do a little rearranging, which I intend to do here in the next couple of years, clean out stuff that doesn't get used, and more efficiently lay out my space, and at that point I am considering going with, assuming they still offer it of course...These cabinets currently come in a great variety of colors. Red, Orange, Yellow, Blue, Green, and Black. I personally am hard pressed to pick between the Green and Blue, but might lean a bit toward the green ones just because they are so different from what you usually see.
                            US General 56" Double Bank Roller Cabinet in Green. https://www.harborfreight.com/56-in-...net-56110.html
                            US General 56" Double Bank Green Top Cabinet. https://www.harborfreight.com/56-in-double-bank-green-top-chest-56113.html

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                            There are other brands, and models, and US General themselves offers narrower and wider units. For me the 56" in just about right...

                            Once i grab the US General boxes, odds are better than good I am going to sell the Craftsman / Proto rig as it won't be needed any more.

                            As others have noted, you can build wall mount cabinets up by the ceiling to tuck away and save space lower down, but you will need a step stool / step ladder to get to stuff it in. Not a bad arrangement if you are willing to step up now and then.
                            Last edited by dbhost; 06-13-2019, 02:32 PM.
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                            • #15
                              Over the years I have collected a lot of tools that I do not use much, some that I will probably never use again. Tools that I might by some chance use again, like sockets and combination end wrenches over 1” go in the highest part of my tool box. I can reach them with my step stool if I need them but my 5’0 wife will never ever need them. They are in a good place. The tools like my piston ring compressor or piston ring grove cleaner and other tools that I probably most certain ever use go in the cabinets over 7’ high. I don’t particularly like the tools in a high location but really don’t want to put them in the attic. I do agree, if it is a tool that my wife might ever use it needs to be in a drawer she can access.

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