Model-specific tool cases may be facing extinction thanks to a new breed of stackable, customizable boxes.
Synopsis: For any builder or carpenter, tool storage should be a prime consideration. Tools are a huge investment, and keeping them stored so that they aren’t damaged or destroyed is important. In this article, San Diego carpenter Kit Camp takes a look at three tool-storage systems using a format popular in Europe but just beginning to make their way to the United States. These systems use stackable, customizable cases of different sizes. Here, Camp looks at systems from Bosch, DeWalt, and Festool. Camp praises Bosch’s L-Boxx for its large footprint, spacious interior volume, and secure stacking and unstacking capabilities; the downsides include thin sidewalls and fewer customization options. DeWalt’s TSTAK, says Camp, has strong heavy-duty latches, low cost, and places for labels; it also is less customizable and has a limited size range for its boxes. Finally, Camp says that Festool’s Systainers are admirable for their backward compatibility with older Systainer models and for their assortment of inserts and accessories; the big downside for the Festool product is that it is pricier than the other two brands.
When I first started working as a finish carpenter, I carried all my tools in the bulky blow-molded plastic cases they came in. I figured that the tools were well protected and that the cases made me look professional and well organized. They also filled my compact truck nearly to overflowing, and made loading and unloading a daily chore I quickly grew to dread.
On my first big project, I met a meticulous stair guy who carried all his tools (other than a miter saw and an air compressor) in four rectangular milk crates and a single canvas bag. He could stack two crates, throw the canvas bag on top, and bring every tool he needed onto the job…