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I need to get a tool box. Not a huge one but one to nicely organize my current sad tool collection. Any thoughts on where to best pick one up. Sears?? Costco?? Net??? Just looking for some ideas. I generally like to purchase in the "best bang for the buck" catagory.. Kinda Like our cars :). I would even consider tool boxes that come with tools as well. Would be willing to spend up $400.00 I never really had a real tool box so I fugure it's time. Thanks
 

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Sears has always been a good source for me for this kind of stuff. Others will have their favorites I'm sure.

Have fun choosing! :)
 

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Sears is the best for the regular do it your self mechanic. They have many sets to choose from depending on your needs. Although their re-stocking fee has been added to many of their 100% warrantee tools...the tools themselves will last you your lifetime.

Not sure what Lotus uses but coming from the S2000 scene, I was able to get all the metric sizes I needed to get just about anything I needed done under the hood.

You might want to consider getting the ratcheting box wrenches. They are a MUST for working in the engine bay were a socket will not work.

Tim
 

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I'll second the recommendation on the GearWrenches. I have both kinds, GearWrench brand straight handled ones, and Craftsman branded reversible angled handled ones. The two variations help fit in places you normally can't get into. I hardly use my regular combo wrenches any more. A 1/4 socket set (regular and deep) is very handy on a small car like the Elise.

For Toolboxes (and tools), Sears Craftsman is always a good bet - especially if you wait and get things on sale. Costco (and other big box stores) often have nice stainless steel boxes, and I've heard good things about them. I've even found a nice one at Harbor Freight once (low price), but other's there were junk. Of course Snap-On, Matco, etc. are excellent tool boxes, but the price goes up - way up...

I have two roll around tool boxes, one an older one with "regular" drawer slides, and the other with ball bearing slides. A lot of people make a big deal about the ball bearing ones, but it really isn't that big a deal. Some people claim that the ball bearings matter when you have the drawers loaded, but both my boxes are heavily loaded with tools (heavy tools) and the ball bearings aren't that much better - better yes, but not that big a deal. The ball bearings are a bit nicer, but don't pass up a good bargain on a "regular" slide box.

Some boxes have "high" drawers, others have "thin" ones. More drawers provide more area to lay tools down on neatly. Some boxes are sold advertising cubic inches of space, but that is not very important - you need more surface area to lay out the tools (more drawers) - unless you are planning to store you circular saws in the box . Some cabinets have multiple drawers "horizontally" (what should be one drawer is split into two or three side-by-side drawers. Avoid these. You can't store much in them - and it's a real pain to discover that you tool that you want in the drawer is a 1/2 inch longer than the width of the drawer.

Roll around tool boxes are often two boxes put together - the bottom and the top chest. Most bottom chests have drawers that are 21-22 inches deep (front to back). Some of the top chests are nearly as deep, but many (most?) are 4-6 inches less deep. This dramatically reduces the space in the top - look for the deeper top chests. One "trick" that they seem to pull at the stores is to slide the "shallow" top chests forward, leaving the gap at the rear. Make sure that the top drawers are the deeper ones.

Sometimes Sears has deals where you get a smaller bottom and top, and you get a "free" 3 or 4 drawer add-on (actually in between) chest. This really isn't a good idea, since you lose a lot of space in the base and top of that addition add-on chest - space that could have been two or three additional drawers on your stack.

I learned the lessons the hard way (which is why I have the second tool box)...
 

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I've always been a Sears Craftsman fan...Good value & reliable. Here's a pic of the second bedroom of my condo. :D
 

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Look at Loews....and at Sam's Club. I liked the sets at both places.


Saying that....i have had a sears set like the one on the left above....since 1968
 

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Lowe's tools suck ass. Kobalt used to be decent, but now it's just re-branded Task Force crap. They don't offer 6-point sockets for 3/8 or 1/2 drive. That's a recipe for stripped nuts, IMHO.

If you plan on working on cars extensively, get the best tools you can afford--they'll pay for themselves in busted knuckles and rounded-off fasteners. Snap-On, Mac, Facom, etc.

For those on a budget, I'd recommend Craftsman or Husky. Both are readily available and have lifetime warranties. Craftsman offers this kit:


http://www.sears.com/sr/javasr/prod...OL&pid=00933263000&subcat=Mechanics+Tool+Sets

It seems to have most of what you'll need and comes in a nice storage container.

Husky (Home Depot) offers this kit, which comes with trays that will drop right into a rollaway:

http://www.homedepot.com/prel80/HDU...earchResults.jsp&MID=9876&N=2984+3865&pos=n22

As far as tool chests go, get what fits your space and budget. I'd avoid Craftsman's "Home" series. Go to the store and pull the drawers yourself. Make sure they're smooth and don't hang up or bind.

Jim
 

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FWIW, the better Sears boxes are made by Waterloo.
 

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jtanner said:
Lowe's tools suck ass. Kobalt used to be decent, but now it's just re-branded Task Force crap.
Last time I looked`at Loews...they were Kobalt. I did not know they changed brands.
 

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tvacc said:
Last time I looked`at Loews...they were Kobalt. I did not know they changed brands.
They're still branded Kobalt, but they're no longer made by Snap-On, and they're nowhere near the same quality.

Jim
 

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Just buy a GearWrench set separately. I got the set with the hinged heads, which is very handy. I've come across situations where it was very useful to have the ability to change the angle of the wrench as I turned the nut. The ones with the hinged heads are the most expensive, of course.
 

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Recommendations for reasonable 3/8 and 1/2 torque wrenches? Snap-on seems to be highly recommended, but a bit expensive. Good things cost good money, it seems. :)
 

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How accurate do you need to be? I bought a Craftsman 3/8 torque wrench a few years back, and am pretty happy with it. I had it recalibrated once because I accidentally put it away still set to 79 ft-lbs, and it wasn't too far off.

A friend of mine likes the Husky torque wrenches. The advantage there is that they cost about as much as the recalibration service, so if you ever screw it up, you can just throw it away and buy a new one.

Some people also recommend the beam-type wrenches if you don't need to use it in tight spaces. They're inexpensive and never need to be recalibrated.

Jim
 

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The low end Sears ones seemed really bad when I was shopping for one; I ended up buying a midrange Sears box and have been very happy with it.
 

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Vantage said:
Recommendations for reasonable 3/8 and 1/2 torque wrenches? Snap-on seems to be highly recommended, but a bit expensive. Good things cost good money, it seems. :)
I shopped around a lot recently and decided upon Precision Instruments. High quality and some on-line stores discount significantly from list price:clap:
 

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These discussions about tools always seem to become like PC/Mac wars - one is always better than another.

One group claims that Snap-On is the only tool to have and anything less is not good enough.

Another group is firmly in the Craftsman side.

Still others believe anything is good enough (and often buy all their tools from Harbor Freight).

They are all right, depending on their point of view.

Snap-On tools are the best. But not everyone needs or can afford them. Kind of like Ferrari - and we don't all drive them do we?

Craftsman tools are good enough to get the job done at a fairly reasonable price - great performance for the price. We drive Elises don't we?

Cheap tools are can get the job done, but you may not enjoy it, and you may have other problems with it. Like driving a Yugo - it meets the minimum requirement, but it make break just when you need it the most.

Like all things, there is a compromise. The professional tools Snap-On, Matco, Proto, etc. are great if you are a pro - you make your living with the tools. The truck stops by your place of work, and brings the new ones right to you, and brings the replacements should you break one.

Craftsman, (and Husky, which appears to be made by the same company - Kobalt started as good tools, but have apparently rapidly done down hill), a great tools for the home mechanic. They are quality, work well, and have a great warranty. One advantage of "store bought" tools is that if the tools breaks on a Saturday afternoon, a quick run to Sears, and you get it replaced (I've had no problems getting replacements for the one or two Craftsman tools that I've broken in the last 30+ years, but the one time that I had a broken Husky tool, it took forever, and they didn't stock individual replacement tools). By the way, lots, and lots of professional mechanics make their living with Craftsman tools.

Cheap tools, often don't fit well, break, and are hard to replace - you really want to avoid them, unless you understand their limitations. Although I avoid most of Harbor Freight tools, for example, I have bought some bargain tools there and have had no problems. I've also bought quite a few air tools from HF - they are not the highest quality, but for the use I give them, they work fine.

Me, I have a combination of tools - the vast majority of my tools are Craftsman. I have a few Snap-On tools, and a selection of HF "specialty" tools that have been handy for a few tasks, but if they break, I throw them away.

One of the comments above concerned torque wrenches. I have a selection of Craftsman clicker type torque wrenches, some fairly new, one that's over 30 years old. For the occasional use that they get, they are very accurate - I've actually compared them to a calibrated wrench, and they are spot on, including the 30 year old one. Just make sure that you always crank the setting down to the lowest setting when you put them away, and take care of them - they are a precision instrument.

By the way, the tool boxs show above, is an example of what I was talking about of the less "deep" top tool boxes setting on the "deeper" lower box. Sears (and others) now sell boxes that the top is essentially as "deep" as the bottom - you can fit a lot more tools in the "deeper" drawers.
 
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