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Axkiker
03-12-2015, 10:07 PM
Can someone tell me if Kennedy made different boxes of varying quality?

So, let me explain a little about what i'm talking about. I ran across a set of boxes (roll around, middle, and top 11 drawer) for a good price. I have somewhat been looking for a roll around to possibly store all my cutting tooling in, and thought maybe the Kennedy with its low profile drawers could be a good fit.

Well, I was able to inspect the boxes and am not at all impressed. The top box and middle riser just seemed flimsy. The drawers canted side to side unless you pushed them in perfectly straight. The drawers seemed to sag in the center with not much pressure applied.

The roll around is what really surprised me. It basically had all the same qualities as what I mentioned above. Since this box was a much larger unit I assumed it would have ball bearing slides which i'm pretty positive it didn't. All boxes were in good shape, not beat up, dirty, or abused so I cant contribute any of my findings to that.

Could this just be a lower level box, or just the typical brown wrinkle finish boxes Kennedy produced. Hard for me to imagine so many machinist out there crave Kennedy when I would personally rank these specific boxes to lower level HF.

Any ideas?

J Tiers
03-12-2015, 10:10 PM
They are OK when newish, or not abused. Older ones can be trashed, which it sounds like those are.

"Flimsy" is not typical of the ones I know about, though. Maybe a newer type, made trying to "compete with china"?

Axkiker
03-12-2015, 10:17 PM
They are OK when newish, or not abused. Older ones can be trashed, which it sounds like those are.

"Flimsy" is not typical of the ones I know about, though. Maybe a newer type, made trying to "compete with china"?

Did all of the roll around models come with ball bearing slides? Im pretty sure this one didnt which is what really surprised me. i can somewhat understand the uppers not having them as they arent designed to carry a lot of weight.

Just curious

JoeLee
03-12-2015, 10:19 PM
Like everything else these days, every manufacturer has cut corners. I've noticed the same thing with Huot boxes.
Kennedy does make storage boxes comparable to Lista, but they are super expensive.

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

JoeLee
03-12-2015, 10:23 PM
Did all of the roll around models come with ball bearing slides? Im pretty sure this one didnt which is what really surprised me. i can somewhat understand the uppers not having them as they arent designed to carry a lot of weight.

Just curious The older ones had friction slides, the newer cabinets have interior side panels that will accept either friction or ball bearing slides.
You can't change the slides over to ball bearing on the older cabinets because part of the slide is spot welded to the interior panel.

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

PixMan
03-13-2015, 12:35 AM
I have a Kennedy 297B roll-around, MC-28 2-drawer riser and 52611 top box, probably similar to what the OP describes. I also own a 295B roll-around (with a Craftsman version of a 526 top box on it) and a special made Kennedy 3-drawer stainless steel roll-around.

Only the stainless steel one has the ball bearing drawer slides. I have VERY full drawers in the 295B, where I store a hundred or so taper shank drills, about as many taps, far more carbide inserts with some of the steel 1" toolholders (many more on a rack in CA/400 QCTP holders), a whole drawer of carbide insert boring and threading tools and a sparsely populated drawer of HSS tooling. the heaviest of the drawers with the drills doesn't slide as easily as it once did, but it isn't sagging. Everything on my "measuring tools" stack is perfectly fine. The only piece I bought new was the 52611 top box and 297B, the remainder all came from Craigslist.

I did switch all the casters on the 275B and 297B over to the larger 2" wide wheels because of the weight I have in them, and I may invest in the ball bearing slides for all, when I get rich. Maybe just a pair or two at a time to ease the pain.

Of course a couple of Lista cabinets would be my preference, but for the money I have NO complaints about the quality of my Kennedy products.

J Tiers
03-13-2015, 08:09 AM
Older kennedy I have never seen with ball bearing. But the "friction" slides (kind of a slam of a name) work quite well.

I have ball bearing slids on otehr boxes, and I am not that super happy with them. Some will roll out with the least inclination of the floor, which is not just annoying, it is dangerous. NO box should EVER have ball slides unless it also has a drawer latch system for each drawer independently, but few if any do.

We have some Lista at work. While the drawers do move easily, I don't think I'd ever pay the huge premium for them. Part of that may be that we are not using the cabinets effectively, it's hard to find stuff in them due to poor organization. That may just prejudice me. But I have Craftsman and Waterloo boxes at home that are just as useful, and didn't even cost a significant "fraction" of the Lista cost.

JoeLee
03-13-2015, 01:15 PM
I have to agree with J Tiers. I have one roller chest and a work station with BB slides. I'm not overly impressed with them either. The work station drawers actually take more effort to open or close than does the seven drawer roller cabinet. The work station slide balls tend to bunch up after a few open and close cycles and then you have to pull extra hard to get the drawer to fully extend. Then it's OK for a few opening and closings. It's like the balls roll at two different rates on the inner and outer part of the slide. I think it has to do with the radius of the slide channel being slightly different between the two mating pieces. I don't have that issue with the roller cabinet. But what I did notice is that Kennedy has changed manufacturers of the slides in the last few years. At one time they were all the same.

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

J Tiers
03-13-2015, 07:37 PM
Oh, not for THAT reason..... The ball bearings seem to work fine..... They can't bunch up, because they have a spacer similar to the one in a shaft bearing, but obviously not round. I have never seen the problem you mention, but I might welcome it, better than drawers rolling open "on a whim".

The Lista and Craftsman work very well indeed, so much so that they open when you prefer they would not.

Forestgnome
03-13-2015, 08:12 PM
I've had several employer-provided Kennedys and have one at home. They all seemed to be the same good quality.

Rosco-P
03-13-2015, 08:23 PM
Is the OP referring to the brown machinists chests or the red general purpose?

From an acquaintance, he insists that the machinist chests made for Uncle Sam were made to a higher standard. He has an 8 drawer top box that he claims is a thicker gage sheet metal.

Axkiker
03-14-2015, 02:30 PM
brown

Lu47Dan
03-14-2015, 03:51 PM
I have a brown Kennedy Mechanics or Maintenance tool box and roll away from my days as a mold setter in a plastic injection molding plant, it seems to be as sturdy as the machinist boxes I have in my shop.
I use it as my mechanics tool box. It has a lot of weight in it.
Dan.

Billy Hill
03-15-2015, 10:15 AM
They absolutely changed for the worst but I'm not sure when.

I bought my 3 box set new in the late '80's. When I went to buy another set for the garage in the mid/late '90's I was very confused because it was like a completely different box. It felt like one of those Kodiak knock-off brands. It was flimsy as hell, very light weight and probably would never stand up to the weight I currently have in my 3-pc Kennedy. Well... it might hold the weight, but I damned sure wouldn't try to move it with that weight in it!!

But that's the case with everything. One person above mentioned "cutting corners". The manufacturers don't see it that way. They see it as efficiency and/or optimizing and the snake-oil salesmen offing the crap to you and me will tell you with a straight face that it's "new technology that doesn't have to be so big and heavy to hold up to tough work".

I've begun to wonder lately what kind of reception a business would get that went back to traditional ways of manufacturing; for longevity, not for planned obsolescence.

Problem is, most of us complain about high prices for things yet we continue to try to save a buck for something that's going to break tomorrow instead of spending that buck so we don't have to re-spend it next week.

Meh. We're already ball's deep in this new disposable state-of-mind and we're not coming out of it any time soon.

J Tiers
03-15-2015, 12:30 PM
I've begun to wonder lately what kind of reception a business would get that went back to traditional ways of manufacturing; for longevity, not for planned obsolescence.



The top executives would be fired by the board for spending too much money, and lowering the stock value.... Stock discounted for lost future sales due to longevity of the product.