I’ve been traveling with tool chests since 1997, and so I have found their weak points. Or, to be more precise and passive in voice, their weak points have been found by elevators, loading docks and falls to the concrete.
Here is a list of parts that take a beating.
1. The bottom rim of the plinth. Even if you have casters on the bottom of your chest, the plinth gets dragged over concrete blocks, door jambs and the like. My latest chest, which is only 18 months old, looks like a spastic 5-year-old attacked it with a rasp.
2. Speaking of casters, this is also a weak point of a chest. Simply screwing casters into the carcase is no good. As soon as the caster drops into a hole, it gets ripped off the case. The best solution is to bolt the casters through the bottom boards. Yes, it’s a pain and it’s ugly, but it works.
3. The lid. Oh the poor lid. Its top corners get wacked by all manner of things. Lumber gets stacked on it. People sit on it and make rude noises with their bottoms. TV stars stand upon it to speechify as if it were filled with soap.
To remedy problems No. 1 and No. 3, I’m adding steel plate to the rim of the plinth and the lid. This is mild steel, and 1/8” x 1” x 4’ strips cost about $5 at the hardware store. Last night I rabbeted the lid’s dust seal and plinth – the entire process took about 30 minutes with a rabbet plane.
I’m going to attach the steel to the chest using slotted steel screws. I have found an outstanding source for these that I will write about this weekend.
— Christopher Schwarz