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Hello, my name is Hack, and I'm a Craftsman Tool Box Addict…

Back in 1973, I bought my first tool box. It was the 3 drawer upper and 9 drawer lower. Always wanted the 10 drawer upper, so I found one at a pre-estate sale. It came with a 3 + bay lower. Both 1973 vintage. Cleaned them up, it was in pretty good condition, and re-arranged the stacks.



Next came the 1970 2 drawer with the 5 + bay lower. That cleaned up good, but had a bit of rust on the the lower unit. Some rattle can Rustoleum hammer tone, and put in the row.



Added a maple butcher block top to it, attached a classic Pony vice, and called it good:





Moved the 2 drawer upper over to my wood lathe bench:



Figured I had kicked the habit…. Until this one shows up (sorry no before pics, I'm bad about that…):



1976 vintage. Rough condition (seller said 'good'....). This had led a hard life before I got my hands on it.

The last find also included a (somewhat rare) 2 drawer intermediate box:



Used 1.5 gallons of Super Clean to get the drawers/slides clean.




Outside temps have been in the 20's, so I'm waiting for a bit of warmth before doing some serious pressure washing out in the driveway…
 

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I found a before pic of the Craftsman stack I had previously bought:



Like I posted, it had a hard life before it came to me. Going to be challenge getting back into service.

So I had hopes of kicking the habit, but an estate sale about five miles from my house listed a 10 drawer top and 5 + bay drawer lower. I jumped into the car, got there, and was too late… Someone had bought them earlier in the morning. And for a pretty good price: $135. From the pics, they both looked in great condition, and both had their Craftsman chevron logos attached. I already have two of those combos, but that wouldn't have stopped me from having three… Not wanted to leave without looking at all the 'stuff', I came upon a 2 drawer box. 1976 vintage. It wasn't listed on the sale site, but had a price tag on it: $42. I already have two of the 10 drawer tops, one in service and another waiting for a full resto. And one of the 5 + bay lower. Did I need another set? No. Did I want another set? Heck Yes!

I asked if that was the correct price, since it also had a number of Craftsman sockets in it. The guy running the sale said 'Yep. $35'. I said SOLD!

Brought it home, spent a few hours cleaning it up, lubed the slides, cut some new drawer liners:



Now to figure out where to put it, and what to put in it.
 

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I've got a gray/red combo that the wife bought me for a birthday present sometime back in the 80's… It's a 4 drawer bottom and 6 drawer top combo, although unlike yours that has the (aluminium?) metal drawer pulls, mine are black with a red stripe. How dd you determine the age of them?

Cheers,
Brad
 

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How dd you determine the age of them?

Cheers,
Brad

- MrUnix
No certain about yours, but on the ones I'm addicted to, the date of manufacture is stamped into the box. On the upper boxes, it is in the front left, inside the top area. On the lowers, it is on the bottom right side (front). Will have a 4 digit date stamp: MO/YR.
 

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I overstand the "Where to put it" part of the conundrum….. the "What to put in it" part is what puzzles me…... Many years of experience has taught that ANY toolcabinet/chest/box brought into a shop will fill itself usually within a 24-48 hour period….. Just seems to happen that way…...
 

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Many years of experience has taught that ANY toolcabinet/chest/box brought into a shop will fill itself usually within a 24-48 hour period….. Just seems to happen that way…...
- Bearcontrare
Ha! Last chest I bought was one of the black Craftsman 75th Anniversary editions that I ran across on CL. Upper and lower chests in excellent condition for $200 - and they were already filled with tools! Had to have come with a few thousand bucks worth of tools; and the good news for me was that most were metric. Everything i owned up until then was basically all SAE. Now I have a chest for each, both overflowing, and absolutely no place to put a third.

But you are right about filling up space… works with workspaces as well. No matter how big a garage you build… you will find a was to fill it up eventually - usually way too soon.

Cheers,
Brad.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
I overstand the "Where to put it" part of the conundrum….. the "What to put in it" part is what puzzles me…... Many years of experience has taught that ANY toolcabinet/chest/box brought into a shop will fill itself usually within a 24-48 hour period….. Just seems to happen that way…...

- Bearcontrare
True.

I'm getting old (70), so I'm in a sort of clean it up and sort it out, organization kick. I've already managed to get a lot of my drill 'stuff' organized. Also my 'saw stuff', 'measuring stuff, and 'other stuff', are all trying to find dedicated storage so I don't have to rustle around through the shop to locate something. My main tool box, has all my wrenches, sockets, screwdrivers, etc. in it. So I know exactly where to go, when I need a specific tool. And I've trained myself (OCD) to put things back when done with them. Even if that means having to go back/forth a few times during a project.

I also figure it'll make it easier, if I happen to stop breathing one day, for whomever needs to inherit or dispose of 'this stuff'.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
So, I sold the 10 drawer top/9 drawer lower.



Got what I paid for it. I would have kept it, if I couldn't get anywhere close to my asking price. It just needed more cosmetic restoration than I was ready/willing to do. And the lower had a really bad repair inside on a couple of the slides. I disclosed all this to the buyer (unlike the guy who I bought it from…). And I installed new Craftsman casters and a couple of the drawer slide clips. It was all lubed with teflon spray, and ready to put to use. All things considered, I put probably $60 into the top/bottom, not including my time.

I kept the somewhat rare/hard to find middle box. Which was in not very good condition. After a couple weeks of work, I got that finished:

Table Wood Rectangle Gas Shipping box


Bicycle Wheel Wood Yellow Rectangle


Stuck it under my original 3 drawer upper and added to the 'Row of Craftsman':

Motor vehicle Wood Automotive exterior Mode of transport Automotive lighting


The paint isn't an identical match to the OEM, but it would be close if the other boxes were new. The red paint tends to oxidize/fade over time. Matched to one of my 2 drawer uppers, it's pretty close:

Wood Automotive exterior Gas Machine Engineering


The two drawer uppers are only 10" deep, whereas the larger boxes are all 12" deep.

Now to find a 7 drawer + bay lower, a 6 drawer upper, and (rare) 3 drawer middle box…
 

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Finished up the vintage 2 drawer that I got for free:

Plant Leaf Wood Rectangle Natural material


I was a total cosmetic restoration. Had to wrestle with it inside my sandblast cabinet, then paint.

Finished pics:

Wheel Tire Wood Bicycle Rectangle


Table Wood Automotive exterior Gas Rectangle




Not happy with the Dupli-Color Automotive Chrome paint I used on the handles. I followed the directions, but the paint just would not harden. The label says 'handle in 1 hour', but when you do, you leave fingerprints IN the paint. I tried leaving for two days, same result. And it does not like heat. Never had a problem with using the heat gun to warm up and 'flash' rattlecan paint. It just seems to stay too soft. And clear coating is a no go. Turns the shiny finish to a dull gray (I tried). Luckily, this box isn't going to see a lot of movement, so I'll go with it as is.

I've not got 3 of the 2 drawer models, and would like to get another, with the thought of gifting one to each of my three grandsons. And keeping one.
 

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Not Craftsman, but I ran into a Helluva deal on a Husky 4 drawer base cabinet/cart, so it came home with me. Yeah, it started pulling tools into it immediately, and I'm already considering getting another one….. the addiction is entirely understandable…..
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Not Craftsman, but I ran into a Helluva deal on a Husky 4 drawer base cabinet/cart, so it came home with me. Yeah, it started pulling tools into it immediately, and I m already considering getting another one….. the addiction is entirely understandable…..

- Bearcontrare
I hear ya! See you at the next 12 step meeting….
 

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So another project just showed up:



1973 vintage. l already have this stack, so I don't know what I'll do with this one. It's got 'good bones', but a lot of surface rust from living in garages. A couple of bent drawers, nothing severe, but will need some 'attention'. All the slides work good, no missing clips. Both locks work, and they have keys, which saves $25 per lock at a local locksmith cutting them to the correct code.

I've got the drawers all out and I'm in the process of degreasing/cleaning them to access condition.



I really don't want to paint them if I don't have to. There's 19 total drawers. And the cases definitely will need some sort of painting. Just don't know if I want to tackle a full resto on this.

We'll see…..
 

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Always was amazed at the "tool chests". Spent 40 years in the auto parts business and many hours in shops. Seemed the better mechanics always had the biggest and best toolchests.
My stack of 3 are Herbrand Utica div. of Kelsey Hayes. Had to go look to see what they were. Acquired new back in the 80s??? Brand was one that one of my customers carried. Have no idea what I paid for them or if some sort of product swap.
It too attracts tools and fills up just like the Craftsman.
Enjoyed your postings. The photos made the subject chests real.
Thanks for posting.
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
Enjoyed your postings. The photos made the subject chests real.
Thanks for posting.
You are welcome! It's an addiction…

I'm going to try some auto polish/cutter on the drawers to see if that turns out acceptable. We'll have to see how it works.

I really like the 'old junk'. But if anyone is looking for a tool box, I'd direct them to Harbor Freight for a US General. I recently purcased two 'stacks': A 26" for my lake house garage, and a 44" for my son:





Very nice tool boxes, great pricing, ball bearing slides, and exceptional finish. They come with pre-cut drawer liners, so that saves a bunch of time/hassle.

- 987Ron
[/QUOTE]
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
So, I use some rubbing compound on the 10 drawer box. There is a bit of a difference, but I'm still uncertain if I'll go all in and re-paint them.

Before:



After:



Haven't had a break in the weather to scrub/pressure wash the two cases. It's been in the teens-twenties for the past several weeks. And it seems to snow every day. Got a prediction for 5"-8" today….

In the meantime, a little baby showed up at the house:





Somewhat rare to find in good condition. This has a bit of rust, and a small ding in the lid. No key, but I can get one made. But otherwise in good condition for 50+ years old (12/70 mfg).

Being it's smaller, it may jump to the head of the line for cosmetic restoration. Should be no problem wrestling with it inside my blast cabinet. It's going to take a lot of masking off the handle and latches, as they are riveted on, and I'm not going to remove them.
 

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So I got the 2 drawer 'baby' box restored:



Here it is sitting next to the full size 2 drawer I restored:



Then I went on to the 10/9 drawer combo and got that one done:



Here it is in the row:



The 10/9 drawer combo was a lot of work sanding/priming/painting. So, I'm going to be a bit more discerning with any more that I acquire. I hope….
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
So another Vintage Craftsman stack showed up in my garage last night:



March 1974 date of manufacture. It's got the 6 drawer upper box that I was missing (so far) in my collection. I've already got two of the 9 drawer lower boxes (sell above post pic), so I might sell just the lower. It needs a new set of casters, as the swivel ones have lost all their ball bearings, making it extremely difficult to wheel around. And that's empty. Full of tools, it would be a real PITA.

I'll most likely pull the chevron logo off the lower and use it on the upper. I don't know how far of a resto I'll be doing on the upper box. It's got a few stickers/labels that need to be removed. And there's a bit of rust that goes beyond what I consider 'patina'. All the drawers work good, nothing sticks, so a good cleaning and some Teflon lube should make it like new.

Weather is too crappy to do any pressure washing outside, so a cleanup will happen later this week. Hopefully.
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
So I decided to hang on to the 9 drawer lower box. But I didn't want to put a great deal of work into it, so it got a full cleaning, and the case got some sanding/rust converter on the bad areas. I touch-up painted those areas with gray hammertone. Came out good, with some original 'patina' still left on the box. It needed a new set of casters, as the swivel ones, were missing all the ball bearings. $22 on eBay for a set of genuine Craftsman casters.

The 6 drawer upper got the partial Monte with me sanding the entire case, rust converting, then painting it. The drawers on the upper were in very good condition, so only a good scrubbing was needed. I took the chevron logo from the lower and put it on the upper. The lower drawers were decent, but not as nice as the uppers. But I didn't want to go all in, and sand/paint them. Spraying red paint is a full blown mess. And there is a lot of prep work to do the drawers, even though I only spray the fronts. So they got cleaned and look 'okay'. They had the usual black goo, of unknown chemical composition, splattered in/on them. I have no idea what that stuff is, RTV? Undercoating? What???? But it seems to be in just about every toolbox that I've acquired.

I cut new drawer liners for the upper/lower and slapped it all together.

Pics of the stack:





In the 'Wall of Craftsman':

Shelf Wood Gas Motor vehicle Automotive exterior
 

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