When toolmakers first offered hard plastic cases with their tools, I rejoiced. I thought they were wonderful. Now, not so much.
The manufacturers still tout hard cases as an asset for portable power tools, and for many I suppose they are. If you don’t use a particular tool often, they’re excellent at their intended job of storage. And if you regularly lug your tools to a jobsite, then these plastic boxes are invaluable – it makes them way easier to carry, easier to stack in your car or truck, and protects them from the inevitable tumbles inherent with truly portable work. And on top of everything else, they just look so darn cool.
But if you use your tools nearly every day in the same shop space, chances are good that all those cases are, and remain, empty. And if you’re like me, all those bulky empty cases are no longer a protective storage solution, but a storage nightmare.
I’d need to sit down with a rule and calculator to figure out just how much space those 12 cases were taking up, but it’s easily several cubic feet that could be put to better shop use. And unfortunately, you can’t really use them for anything else – they’re all molded on the inside for specific tools, so you can’t just use them as storage boxes for all your other stuff. So while you’re looking for a place for your stuff, all these empty boxes are just taking up space and becoming attractive homes for unwanted multi-legged shop denizens. Might as well put little signs in spiderese saying, “Free Apartment.”
I do have other hard cases I’m keeping that function as intended for tools I don’t use often, like my belt sander and power planer, plus a couple others contain accessories and attachments for tools I keep elsewhere. But these 12 totally empty boxes are taking a one-way trip in the big green truck that pulls up to my house every Tuesday.
And I’ll bet you $10 that the trash guy grabs a few for himself, because hey, they’re cool. But unless he owns one of the specific tools that fits the molded interiors, I’ll also bet he’ll end up storing a bunch of empty boxes.