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View Full Version : Anyone use one of these machinist type tool boxes from HF



Axkiker
12-11-2014, 07:24 PM
Anyone have any experience as to the quality of the top portion of this box set

http://www.harborfreight.com/11-drawer-roller-cabinet-67421.html

Kinda thought about using it as a drill bit index / cabinet.

Thanks

JoeLee
12-11-2014, 07:36 PM
That sure is cheap!!! You can't even buy the middle section from Kennedy for that price.

I always wanted to buy one of the Huot master cabinets but not for $600.

JL............

Ironwoodsmith
12-11-2014, 08:00 PM
The HF line of red toolboxes are a lot better than the black ones. I have the red one and you can't beat it for the price.

flylo
12-11-2014, 08:25 PM
I'd go with this one http://www.harborfreight.com/44-in-8-drawer-glossy-red-roller-cabinet-top-chest-68787.html

TOOLZNTHINGS
12-11-2014, 08:27 PM
The red tool boxes/cabinets beat Craftsman hands down. The machinist chest looks pretty good, also.

PStechPaul
12-11-2014, 08:39 PM
If you print the coupons you will find the black tool chest for $149, and a 25% off coupon good until Sunday. (but some items are excluded, like the tool chest). I don't know if the red ones are that much better. Probably a heavier gauge metal. Here's a direct link to the coupons:

http://images.harborfreight.com/hftweb/home-page2014/images121114/25off121114-coupon-1.pdf

andywander
12-11-2014, 08:45 PM
I've got that set, and I use them for storing taps and dies.

I think they are pretty good quality.

PTSideshow
12-11-2014, 08:47 PM
http://slickdeals.net/f/1276399-harbor-freight-coupon-thread (http://slickdeals.net/f/1276399-harbor-freight-coupon-thread)
Here is the coupon wiki for harbor freight coupons are toward the bottom of the page

Video Man
12-11-2014, 09:36 PM
Looked these over at my local HF store. The black cheap one is ----cheap. Tinny. While I was looking a guy passing by warned me that his rusted right away. The red cabinets, however, are every bit the equal of Craftsman or Husky, appear to come maybe from the same factory. You pays your money, you gets what you paid for...

Ohio Mike
12-11-2014, 09:57 PM
The HF line of red toolboxes are a lot better than the black ones. I have the red one and you can't beat it for the price.

Yep this one is MUCH better.

http://www.harborfreight.com/26-in-16-drawer-glossy-red-roller-cabinet-combo-67831.html

andywander
12-11-2014, 10:13 PM
Yep this one is MUCH better.

http://www.harborfreight.com/26-in-16-drawer-glossy-red-roller-cabinet-combo-67831.html

Well, it may be nicer, but it also more than twice the price!

Take a look at the chests and make your own decision. I did.....

justanengineer
12-11-2014, 10:17 PM
You might consider keeping an eye out for a genuine Kennedy setup, the brown machinists' boxes dont sell for dink used. I see them fairly regularly at ~$100 for a bottom box, ~$50 for the larger top boxes, and ~$20 for the smaller #520 boxes, often containing tools. Worst case, you could also grab any used domestic box off craigs for <$100 and end up with something quite a bit better than the Chi-com stuff.

Personally, Ive got two Cman 26" top boxes back-to-back sitting on top of my "big box" - a ~60" Vidmar on wheels with common mechanic's tools. One Cman box is doubly special in that its the first toolbox I ever owned and contains heirloom and precision tools. The other is full of cutting tools, drills, and taps and IIRC was $7 at auction. Its holding ~300 lbs pretty easily. I'm also currently modifying an old Remline bottom roller box (another <$10 auction acquisition) to hold my mill "heavies" - 3 or 4 mill vises, rotab, dividing head, big angle plates, surface plate, and maybe a drawer or two of collets. That one is pretty stout compared to newer homeowner boxes, double walled 18 gauge like many of the older boxes are, not single wall 18-22.

radkins
12-11-2014, 10:22 PM
Just a note about the discount coupons, HF clearly says they CAN NOT be used for tool boxes!

Nor can they be used for tool carts, air compressors, welders, floor jacks and several other larger items.

Axkiker
12-11-2014, 10:30 PM
You might consider keeping an eye out for a genuine Kennedy setup, the brown machinists' boxes dont sell for dink used. I see them fairly regularly at ~$100 for a bottom box, ~$50 for the larger top boxes, and ~$20 for the smaller #520 boxes, often containing tools. Worst case, you could also grab any used domestic box off craigs for <$100 and end up with something quite a bit better than the Chi-com stuff.

Personally, Ive got two Cman 26" top boxes back-to-back sitting on top of my "big box" - a ~60" Vidmar on wheels with common mechanic's tools. One Cman box is doubly special in that its the first toolbox I ever owned and contains heirloom and precision tools. The other is full of cutting tools, drills, and taps and IIRC was $7 at auction. Its holding ~300 lbs pretty easily. I'm also currently modifying an old Remline bottom roller box (another <$10 auction acquisition) to hold my mill "heavies" - 3 or 4 mill vises, rotab, dividing head, big angle plates, surface plate, and maybe a drawer or two of collets. That one is pretty stout compared to newer homeowner boxes, double walled 18 gauge like many of the older boxes are, not single wall 18-22.

Well where in the world are you finding these Kennedy lower boxes for ~100. I have kept an eye open on craigs for something like a lower that I could use and they all seem to be going for over 350+. Even the top boxes all seem to be in the 75.00 range well used.

After thinking about it a little I would prefer to find a roll around bottom with really shallow drawers. This box will be a dedicated drill bit milling cutter box. The flat top would allow me to mount a drill / mill sharpener when I get on. Almost trying to build a cutting / tooling station.

dalee100
12-11-2014, 10:48 PM
Hi,

I have had that set for 2 years now. It's a decent tool box set for the money. I've not had any rust issue in my non-heated part of the garage. I don't think it's a heavy duty as the the HF red boxes.

It's not my choice for a primary tool box set in a heavy use situation, but it does make a pretty good secondary box for tools that aren't used everyday.

Dalee

Tony Ennis
12-11-2014, 11:53 PM
I have a similar General branded box from HF and it is fine for the price. No complaints.

v860rich
12-12-2014, 12:47 AM
I have this HF set, very old & newer Craftsman boxes, cheap hardware store boxes and Kennedy roll around middle and top box.
Without a doubt the Kennedy boxes are the best.
The old (from the 60's) are next in quality with the newer Craftsman and the HF one listed are about equal in quality, but the HF are a much the better value of these last 2.
As far as rust I haven't seen any evidence of it in the couple of years I've had the HF's and believe me we have plenty of humidity around here!!!

THANX RICH

Paul Alciatore
12-12-2014, 12:51 AM
I can't remember if it was a black or a red one, but a couple of years ago, at about this time of year, I looked at tool boxes at the local HF and other stores. Craftsman was way over priced. WAY, WAY over priced. The HF ones I saw and I looked at all the ones in the local store, were c#@?. I wound up getting a Husky brand at Home Depot. It works every bit as well as the top of the line Craftsman chests and the price was only about $50 more than HF. Top and bottom for about $150 total. No problems and no rust in two years. Still looks and works like new.

If you are going to buy a economy tool chest, I would recommend that you only consider ones that are in local stores where you can inspect them. Try the drawers for smooth operation. Look at the gauge of the metal used. Look at the wheels; I like big ones.

All the usual disclaimers.

MichaelP
12-12-2014, 01:11 AM
I use the whole 3-tier cabinet shown in your link an agree with every word Dalee said above. For drill bits the top portion will work just fine.

Puckdropper
12-12-2014, 10:28 AM
I can't remember if it was a black or a red one, but a couple of years ago, at about this time of year, I looked at tool boxes at the local HF and other stores. Craftsman was way over priced. WAY, WAY over priced. The HF ones I saw and I looked at all the ones in the local store, were c#@?. I wound up getting a Husky brand at Home Depot. It works every bit as well as the top of the line Craftsman chests and the price was only about $50 more than HF. Top and bottom for about $150 total. No problems and no rust in two years. Still looks and works like new.

If you are going to buy a economy tool chest, I would recommend that you only consider ones that are in local stores where you can inspect them. Try the drawers for smooth operation. Look at the gauge of the metal used. Look at the wheels; I like big ones.

All the usual disclaimers.

I agree. I looked at Sears' tool boxes, and knew from the feel I would be getting a piece of junk. The Home Depot box of similar size and price was a lot better quality.

Some of those Harbor Freight tool chests I consider heirloom quality. Buy them when you're young, enjoy them, and pass them on to your kids.

Puckdropper

astroracer
12-12-2014, 11:38 AM
I am in the process of geting my lathe/mill combo set on one of HF's 44" rollers.
The lathe has been sitting on this stand I built for 22 years. The little tool cart has been there for that length of time also. I am also doing a major cleaning while I am at it...
Here are some pics of it's current disarray.
http://images61.fotki.com/v443/photos/5/904975/13518229/photo-vi.jpg
http://images58.fotki.com/v154/photos/5/904975/13518229/photo2-vi.jpg
As of last night I have to unhook the light bar and get the lathe moved to the new cabinet.
http://images16.fotki.com/v387/photos/5/904975/13526005/photo2-vi.jpg

The lathe will get moved to this US General 44" roller with 13 drawers.
http://images108.fotki.com/v1629/photos/5/904975/13518229/photo-vi.jpg
I also picked up an add-on cabinet with 7 drawers. This set-up is 58" long, has 20 drawers and was 120 bucks cheaper then a 56" cabinet with only 11 drawers.
With most everything transferred to the roller there is PLENTY of storage for all of my lathe tools and paraphenalia.

Mark

Guido
12-12-2014, 12:29 PM
Axkiker----------Don't know your location, but----Pull up Craigslist and look under tools for 'Kennedy'.

Mike Amick
12-12-2014, 02:08 PM
Those US General's are really nice and a good bang for the buck.

BTW .. I learned on that lathe, lots of fun.

Mike A

dp
12-12-2014, 03:29 PM
This is probably worth watching. I learned something last year when I first saw it.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ys760EvzfZE

The only things I've purchased from HF that I don't like are sheet metal products. This is utter crap, for example:

http://www.harborfreight.com/material-handling/service-carts/24-inch-x-36-inch-steel-service-cart-5770.html

The thing begins to rack with only 20lbs in the upper tray and with much more you begin to wonder if it is going to rack all the way to the floor.

These welding carts are junk:
http://www.harborfreight.com/welding/welding-accessories/100-lb-capacity-welding-cart-69340.html

Very flimsy, and the spot welds holding the axles on pop when you roll it over a bump. I doubt it would survive wheeling it across the parking lot from the HF store to your vehicle.

PStechPaul
12-12-2014, 03:37 PM
If they are cheap enough, think of them as projects or challenges, and add bracing and extra welds or hardware to make them solid. And a few cans of red spray paint will turn them into the doubly-priced item. :rolleyes:

flylo
12-13-2014, 06:55 AM
The black set that started this thread is on sale thru sunday for $149 Only $149.99 with coupon 76373459

chevy3755
12-13-2014, 09:05 AM
im happy with my black set up and its full

justanengineer
12-13-2014, 10:33 AM
Craftsman was way over priced. WAY, WAY over priced.

I agree that if bought new for full retail theyre seriously overpriced, but something well worth looking into is the scratch/dent section that most (every?) Sears store has. Ive gotten some hellacious deals between that and the clearance bins, often boxes with a tiny ding sell for <50% of retail. I've been seriously tempted every time I see the 40"+'ish boxes, new theyre $700+ but the local manager often marks them $2-300 and will haggle lower (esp if buying multiples).

Personally I think Cman is like the professional truck brand boxes and the other USA (Waterloo/Kennedy/etc) boxes in that theyre the best long term investment if you can get a fair deal initially simply bc of the parts support. I've repaired/restored quite a few Cman machines and boxes for relatively little and cant ever remember not being able to get a part, tho I do go through the 800 number and typically lookup my own parts via online owners manual NOT the $7/hr store flunkies. Even for the cheap power tools from the 80s, theyve got everything including the decals. Truck brand and other pro boxes are similar, if you ever need or want new slides just stop the local truck guy and theyre both free and readily available, youre not paying a premium trying to cobble other slides onto your box in 20 years when it starts to get sloppy/sticky. I wish Vidmar did similar, I replace the slides on my other boxes every decade or so just to keep things moving nicely.

dp
12-13-2014, 03:22 PM
Here's some numbers: The Harbor Freight set weighs a total of 123lbs. My 5-drawer Craftsman roll-around alone weigh 100lbs and costs about $150. The equivalent Snap-On roll-around weighs about 250lbs and costs over $1100.

tmarks11
12-14-2014, 10:36 PM
I have the HF red 26" chest combo. Way better than the HF black one (which is really flimsy):

http://www.harborfreight.com/26-in-16-drawer-glossy-red-roller-cabinet-combo-67831.html

http://www.harborfreight.com/media/catalog/product/cache/1/image/9df78eab33525d08d6e5fb8d27136e95/i/m/image_11487.jpg

If you look around, you can find a coupon for $320 for one.

It is an awesome chest, shallower drawers are handy for storing measuring tools and end mills.

I have two Craftsman 26" tool chests, and this HF one puts them to shame. Much thicker steel, better construction. I don't like buying stuff from HF, but these tool chests are the exception. They sell better tool chests than any of the big box stores.

I bought one after I saw one that a friend had, and read this thread:
http://www.garagejournal.com/forum/showthread.php?t=153445

Axkiker
12-14-2014, 11:10 PM
Im still just not sure how I want to do this. Maybe you all can advise. Several of the ideas I have are as follows

A typical Kennedy style upper box for drills and or taps. Would end up setting on my work bench.
A larger upper box possibly like the red HF boxes. This would be large enough to hold pretty much all my trills and corresponding taps.
A lower roll around box like some of the kennedys with shallow drawers. This would allow me to mount a drill or end mill sharpener to the top portion and keep the bits below.

Im almost sold on the lower roll around but its really hard finding something with shallower drawers. Most only have 1 or 2 then go into the deeper drawers. The Kennedys from what I have seen are pretty pricey.

I have also considered mapping cabinets which I could mount directly under my bench. I just dont see them sold locally all that much .

Anyways just ideas.. Whatcha think???

Tim The Grim
12-14-2014, 11:45 PM
I have two of the black HF sets in my home shop and have thought about getting a third.
They are tool boxes and they hold tools. When I need one of the many tools I have from my many years in the trade, the drawers open and the tool is there. That is all I ever ask of a tool box...to hold and protect my tools. I don't wax them or adorn them with labels and stickers. I don't roll them over to my lathe or mill. They stand against a wall and things are where I want them when I want them.
My original machinist box from '74 is a Craftsman and still sits on my bench with a 2drawer Kennedy riser I won in a raffle .
Money not spent on fancy tool boxes can buy lots of tools to put in cheap tool box drawers .
JMHO.

chevy3755
12-15-2014, 08:39 AM
im with you Tim..............

photomankc
12-15-2014, 09:33 AM
The red ones are the best value out there. They open and close like they are floating even with many Lbs of mills, fixtures, vices, and gear in them. I have purchased several now and I have zero regrets unlike some of the flimsy sheet stuff I've bought before at Lowes or HDepot. I did manage to get one back in the day when the 25% off coupon was valid on them, they have since corrected that ;)

justanengineer
12-15-2014, 12:41 PM
Anyways just ideas.. Whatcha think???

Not to nitpick, but maybe if you add at least a somewhat vague location somebody here might know of a deal on what youre looking for.

I suspect youre correct on finding bottom cabinets w/thin drawers, theyre somewhat rare. Maybe deeper drawers would work with some drilled block to hold drills and taps on end?

Not sure what you mean by "mapping cabinets," but if you mean blueprint cabinets you might find more under a search for "print cabinet." Be aware that altho they do offer great thin drawers theyre usually pretty deep front-back, often ~4' deep not the usual 2-3' of a normal workbench. A mentor of mine has a row of those with a benchtop on top, a row of regular sized top boxes sits on the rear (theyre THAT deep) while still leaving plenty of room to work in front of them. Hopefully I can do similar in the next shop.

Personally I'm always in favor of finding a deal on heavy industrial quality used over buying anything new. Keep in mind that this time of year most folks have Christmas prices staring them hard in the face, so whatever you see for sale will likely be VERY negotiable price-wise. Long as youre polite most folks dont mind haggling a bit.

Axkiker
12-15-2014, 02:28 PM
Not to nitpick, but maybe if you add at least a somewhat vague location somebody here might know of a deal on what youre looking for.

I suspect youre correct on finding bottom cabinets w/thin drawers, theyre somewhat rare. Maybe deeper drawers would work with some drilled block to hold drills and taps on end?

Not sure what you mean by "mapping cabinets," but if you mean blueprint cabinets you might find more under a search for "print cabinet." Be aware that altho they do offer great thin drawers theyre usually pretty deep front-back, often ~4' deep not the usual 2-3' of a normal workbench. A mentor of mine has a row of those with a benchtop on top, a row of regular sized top boxes sits on the rear (theyre THAT deep) while still leaving plenty of room to work in front of them. Hopefully I can do similar in the next shop.

Personally I'm always in favor of finding a deal on heavy industrial quality used over buying anything new. Keep in mind that this time of year most folks have Christmas prices staring them hard in the face, so whatever you see for sale will likely be VERY negotiable price-wise. Long as youre polite most folks dont mind haggling a bit.

I added my location... I thought I did that months ago but apparently I forgot.

I found a place in town that has several of the mapping / blueprint / print cabinets. They are old and kinda funky but size wise can be mounted under my work bench. They are roughly 41 wide x 29 deep x 29 tall. I could basically hang this from under the bench and use it for cutting tool storage. My only complaint is that I was still kinda looking for a roll around as I could like to mount a sharpening system on the top..

I guess you cant get everything you want all the time.