Extra Cab Tool Box - customer

There’s always a way to build a better mousetrap. Or, in this case, a better tool storage. If you have a pickup with an extra cab, you’re well on your way to getting there.

Trucks are the perfect vehicle for transporting tools and gear, but the storage alternatives, not so much. You can get a tool box for the back, but by so doing, you rob yourself of bed space– and expose yourself to getting robbed. You could throw them in the extra cab, but the run the risk of them getting mixed up, piled on each other and thrown around with every turn.

If you usually don’t have passengers in the back seat, then you’ve got some prime tool real estate just waiting for an apparatus of organization– in other words, a custom-made tool box behind the front seats. First thing, take out the back seats. This is usually pretty easy to do. Then, get the measurements of the extra cab space, from the floor to the top of the back of the front seat,  back of the cab to top of the seat, and then door-to-door. Using these dimensions, cut out a box from 3/4″ plywood.

If you ever need the extra cab for a group trip or you’re ready to sell the truck, you can easily remove the tool storage box and replace the seats, restoring the vehicle to its original condition.

Watch this video from FineHomebuilding for a detailed breakdown on how to design and secure your custom tool storage box for your extra cab.

You can find all the tools you need to make this simple project happen at Harbor Freight Tools!

5-Drawer Tool Cart Review

As a Harbor Freight blogger, one of the more entertaining things I get to do is look at customer reviews. For one, they can be very colorful. And let’s be honest: most of the time, someone thinking about getting a tool is gonna be a lot more interested in what another customer has to say than me.

5 drawer tool cart

Among the more popular products that get reviewed is the U.S. General 30″ 5-Drawer Glossy Red Tool Cart. One reason is simply because it’s a darn good tool box at a great, low price. Another (and this is just me philosophizing here) is ’cause it just integrates so well to whatever your special interest is, be it automotive, woodworking, electronics, garden-variety DIY, what have you. It follows you around the garage or shop easily, and you can personalize it in a way you just can’t other garage fixtures, such as with stickers, additions and accessories like bottle openers.

5 drawer tool cart - bottle opener

Yep, there’s a lot of great tool cart eye candy out there to give you ideas. Just go to Google Images, type “harbor freight 5-drawer tool cart” and let ‘er fly.

5 drawer tool cart - wrench mods

For the benefit of shoppers like, you though, the best reviews are the ones that answer all the pertinent questions. In regards to this tool cart, I wanted to share this customer YouTube video review, provided by ChuckE2009. In his 10-minute presentation, Chuck unboxes, assembles, tests, stocks and wheels around his 5-drawer tool cart, all the while offering commentary on the box’s quality, features and capabilities. In the world of customer reviews, I give this one an “A+.”

Check out the U.S. General 5-Drawer Tool Cart for yourself. Make sure you skim the customer reviews on the product page and, if convenient, go to your local Harbor Freight Tools and investigate it yourself. I think you’re going to find it’s a pretty cool box and a great deal.

44″ Tool Cabinet Mods: Backsplashes to Bowling Lanes

When it comes to Harbor Freight favorites, the U.S. General 44″13-Drawer Roller Cabinet #68784 is the undisputed champion of toolboxes. None of the other models fly out the door nearly as much as this one, and for several good reasons: It’s ample, it’s sturdy, it’s attractive and it’s affordable. And, as Harbor Freight shoppers are well aware, it’s frequently on sale so there are plenty of opportunities to save a chunk of change

44 product art

When new “44” owners post their acquisitions on Harbor Freight’s social channels, it’s a kick to see the boxes sitting proudly in their new homes– and an even bigger kick when they’ve been modded and integrated into work spaces. For example, here’s a “workbench” that spans the garage wall with six units:

long 44 workbench mod

Or this one with a magazine-model chrome n’ pegboard “backsplash.” It’s so pretty, I think I’d cover it to work on it. With this clever approach you double your tool storage on the walls, conveniently over the projects you’re working on.

44 with pegboard

I like this quad-box corner number, too. Lots of surface space with minimal movement; just turn to address the next phase of the project. Note how they’re fitted in a steel frame. Also note the beaucoup wall plugs.

corner 44 workbench 2

Speaking of retrofitting, check out this next example where the owner– to solve a sloping problem in the garage– framed his three 44″ tool cabinets with 80/20 extrusions. The legs were cut at different lengths to accommodate the floor and he put two feet between each box to minimize torque load on the legs with unevenly weighted cabs.

44 mod with 80-20

44 mode with 80-20 feet

You can find a full article dedicated to this build right here.

My favorite Harbor Freight cab workbench mod, though, has got to be this one where the guy joined two 44″ boxes and covered them with old repurposed bowling alley wood, made of maple and pine.

bowling lane mod front

The beautiful stain and clear coat finish lends such a touch of class to the whole workshop experience, it would make me want to go out and tinker every free moment I had (I’d just have to alternate my power tool days with my drinking days).

bowling lane mod angle

Visit The Garage Journal or search in Google Images and you’ll find a lot of other great mods employing the U.S. General 44″ 13-Drawer Rolling Tool Cabinet. Also, swing by your local Harbor Freight and get acquainted with the box, one-on-one, and see if it’s right for you.

What’s red and awesome and perfect for any work space?

With 16 drawers to fill, you can pack a lot of tools and equipment into the 26”, 16 Drawer Glossy Red Roller Cabinet Combo (Item #: 67831)! This massive tool storage unit provides 14,600 cu. in. of storage space and features ball bearing slides on all drawers for easy, quick access when you need it. And if you need to get your tools a little closer to the task at hand, then you’ll be glad to know that this unit comes with smooth-rolling 5” casters so you can easily maneuver your roller cabinet around the garage or jobsite.  But no matter where you move it, your tools and equipment will always stay safely stored in lockable steel drawers.


Whether you only find the time to work on weekends or you’re in your shop every day, this roller cabinet is ideal for tool storage and organization. The glossy red powder coat finish makes the unit resistant to rust while non-slip liners in each drawer keep your tools safe while stored. Dependable and maneuverable, the 26”, 16 Drawer Glossy Red Roller Cabinet Combo is the choice for tons of DIYers and professionals around the world!

“I love this toolbox! The drawers have plenty of room and they are very smooth. This toolbox does everything I need it to. I have had it for a few months with no issues. The casters are of good quality and the brakes set well. Nice handle to pull it around also.” – by Willy Manilly from WV

“I have a service truck with these boxes on it, they lasted me 3 years before the drawers fell apart. They would still be alright until I moved them to the new truck. That was very impressive considering I drive on a road 2 times a day that takes me 2 hours to go 23 miles! I have had Snapon, Mac, Waterloo and Napa boxes before these HFT boxes and I can tell you that the $3000 boxes don’t hold up to that like these do. I would only get maybe a year out of the expensive boxes. So if you had these in a shop or garage I bet they would last forever!” – by Jack Of All Trades Master Of None from NM

“I am the proud owner of two of these babies! I bought my first one 3 years ago and have been so happy with it that I decided to buy another one when the sale came back around this year. These are perfectly sized to fit in my crowded two-car garage, and roll easily when I need to get behind them. The drawers seem to have been thoughtfully sized, as I have been able to stuff them pretty full of Harbor Freight tools (I got gift cards for Christmas). I’m absolutely convinced these are a great value for the money spent, but only you can determine if they’re the right box for you. As for me, I’m a satisfied customer.” – by Kansas transplant from KS

For the price and quality, you won’t find a better tool storage unit to fit your needs. And with the money you save, you’ll still have plenty left over for some additional tools and accessories to fit in your awesome new roller cabinet. So get over to your local Harbor Freight store today and pick one up!


handy andy tool set

So, up until now you haven’t had much call to for bunch of tools (and you’re sticking to that story). But then things start happening. The bathroom faucet is dripping. The Mrs. decides it’s time to install new light fixtures. It’s the night before a birthday and you need to put a bike together. The cute divorcée next door needs a pair of big, strong hands. It’s time to be self-reliant. With just a handful of tools– and some elemental know-how that you can pick up from your dad or YouTube– believe it or not, you can personally handle most of the basic household projects that speed bump into your personal time. So, as you embark on this new journey of self-reliance, we’re here to share with you you the 12 simple-yet-powerful tools you need to have in your arsenal. No doubt, others will chime in with suggestions of their own because, well, that’s what tool guys do. The great thing about these tools is, they’re all affordable, so you can be all locked and loaded after one quick trip to Harbor freight. Here they are:


claw hammer

Claw Hammer

Claw Hammer

The hammer could be your favorite go-to tool. From driving in nails (or yanking them out), to starting screws and aligning holes, to full-scale demolition detail, the 16-ounce claw hammer packs just the right punch you need for the job. In fact, you’ll probably find yourself pulling it out for projects you don’t even need it for. You know, just in case. Instead of the “old school” wooden handle, we recommend you go with a fiberglass one: they absorb impact a heckuva lot better and they don’t crack or splinter. Also, when you go buy one, try a few different hammers out and feel the heft and balance in your hand. Like a bat or a bowling ball, if it feels good, it makes all the difference. Just watch out for passing patrons when you start swinging it in the store.


pro screwdriver 8 pc set blog

Flathead & Phillips Screwdriver Set

Screwdriver Set

Contrary to popular belief, the slotted flathead screwdriver is not dead, not yet. Therefore, it’s inevitable that you’ll need both flathead and Phillips screwdrivers in your journeys. Start out with a basic set of both. Besides slotted screws, the flathead screwdriver is also excellent for lifting the lids off paint cans, scraping off old paint and epoxy, nudging things and emancipating personal items locked in briefcases with lost keys. The Phillips screwdriver has gained more popularity, though, because it’s designed to give a user more torque than is possible with a flathead screwdriver, so when possible, go with Phillips screws.

stripped screwAlso, the last thing you want to have in the middle of a project, is a screwdriver or a screw that starts stripping before you can loosen or tighten, so make sure the following things are true:

  • Make sure the pilot hole is approximately the same size as the inside diameter of the screw threads.
  • Make sure the screwdriver head fits the screw nicely.
  • Put some weight into it when you’re turning the screw, so that it holds its place and isn’t tempted to slip its grip.
  • Make sure the screwdriver is in line with the screw as you turn. Coming at it from an angle is a sure method of stripping.

This Pittsburgh Pro screwdriver set is an excellent starting point for your tool arsenal. As jobs come your way, you may need to acquire either a larger or smaller one, but these will tackle most household projects.


tape measure blog

Tape Measure

Tape Measure

Whether you’re building a workbench, seeing if a big screen TV will fit on a wall, verifying the diameter of a pipe, or measuring a room, a trusty 25′ retractable tape measure is a must. In fact, since they’re so inexpensive, we’d go as far as to say buy four: one for the toolbox, one for upstairs, one for downstairs, and one for the car. I mean, who likes fetching a tape measure on the other side of the house? It also goes without saying, throw a pencil in the box as well. If you’re grabbing the tape measure, you’ll probably be grabbing one of those, too.


crescent wrench set blog

Adjustable Wrench Set

Adjustable Wrench

Of all the tools in your arsenal, besides your hammer, this baby will probably see the most action. Because one adjustable wrench can handle different sized nuts and bolts, it’s like having 50 wrenches in one. So you could literally be walking around the place, tightening your kid’s trike wheels, the BBQ’s frame, the microwave cart and the Gatling gun tripod without ever going back to the toolbox. When using an adjustable wrench, adjust the jaws to fit precisely over the nut, rocking the wrench slightly as you tighten, to help secure a firm fit. Also, for added strength, make sure the nut is positioned as deep as it will go into the throat of the adjustable wrench. As with the aforementioned screwdriver set, the crescent wrench set shown could take on most of whatever your honey-do list can throw at it. There may an occasion to get a bigger one along the way, but those kind of jobs are rare and far between.


socket set blog

Socket Set

 Socket Set

If you’re dealing with a lot of nut-n-bolt action– usually on an engine or other machinery– then it’s time to put aside the crescent wrench and pull out the “big guns”– the socket set. Socket sets can exponentially speed up a project like an ordinary crescent wrench never could. They’re so convenient and effective, in fact, you’ll actually get giddy over the chance to pull it out. This is because of the ratchet that comes with it, a mechanism that eliminates the need to remove and refit the socket on every stroke. Also, because the tool will turn the bolt when swinging in one direction, but won’t pull it back when returning.  A good basic household socket set with about a dozen or so sockets, a ratchet and an extension will prove almost always sufficient for household jobs, such as driving in lag bolts, tightening bolts or other occasional repairs, builds or tasks. Like all guys, you will love your ratchet, and will probably look for excuses to buy several. Which brings us to the Husband’s Litmus Test: If she says, “But, you already have a ratchet,” then you know, she doesn’t understand you.


vice grips blog

Locking Pliers

Locking Pliers

Locking pliers are designed to provide maximum locking force and come in handy when you need an extra hand to work with. Then, when the job is done, a quick release disengages the tool for the next step. Extremely versatile, you can employ this multitasking tool as pliers, a pipe wrench, an adjustable wrench, wire cutters, a ratchet, or a clamp. The three shown here can take care of most stuff around the house and garage.


needle nose pliers blog

Needle Nose Pliers

Needle Nose Pliers

An valuable tool for electrical work, this little guy can be a lifesaver for projects that require you to cut, bend, re-position, grip or strip wire. They’re also used for crafts, jewelry making, computer repairs, bomb defusing and other functions . Because of their long and skinny shape, they’re particularly useful for getting into tight spots. You can also use them to pinch your bratty nephew.


cordless drill blog

Cordless Drill

Cordless Drill

Power tools are awesome, but most are unnecessary for the garden-variety shtuff around the house. That said, a cordless drill is a must-have component in your toolbox arsenal. It can be used for drilling holes into sheet rock and driving screws into a 2×4. So, if you’re “earthquake-proofing” furniture, installing towel bars or sawing holes in the back of your entertainment center, this is the go-to tool . When choosing a cordless drill, you want one with lots of power, which is measured by the amount of voltage in its battery. An 18v is a good size for home use, and make sure it’s got variable speeds for different jobs, and is reversible. The reversible feature will come in handy if you need to take some screws out when you realize the outhouse door needs to swing out, not in.


toolbox saw blog

Hand Saw

Hand Saw

Now, let’s turn to Old School. A great misconception is the idea that you need an electric saw to make cuts. All you really need is a simple hand saw in your toolkit. You don’t have to run an extension cord, you don’t have to recharge a battery, and you can catch yourself alot faster if the cut’s going awry.The image of a wooden-grip hand saw has long been the iconic symbol of the DIY craftsman. A good general-purpose hand saw is the go-to tool for trimming branches or cutting lumber for a DIY project. It’s also the one tool you want to make sure you’ve got a good pair of work gloves to wear while using.


magnetic torpedo level blog

Magnetic Torpedo level


Whether you’re hanging pictures, putting up a curtain rod,  or affixing shelves to a wall, a straight line is absolutely crucial. You don’t want to put a bunch of nails in the wall, only to step back and see your family portraits are all askew. To get the job done right the first time, you need a level. There are some hoity-toity laser levels out there, but you can’t beat the sweet satisfaction of getting that bubble in the middle. Of course, if you enjoy getting the stinkeye from certain cohabitants,  go ahead and just keep doing it by eye. ‘Cause you’re so good at it. Seriously, get this tool, you’ll be happy you did. On the level.


utility knife blog

Utility Knife

Utility Knife

This tool might not put out the sexy like other tools, but we bet it’ll never gather dust at the bottom of your toolbox. You’ll find the utility knife to be a stupendous sidekick with every project: Stripping wire, cutting rope, rubber hose or plastic strapping, snipping the sealed tips off epoxy tubes, scraping paint… you get the point. When nothing else in the arsenal can help, the utility knife steps up to the plate.


toolbox blog



Well, duh. As time goes on, you’ll probably graduate to a tool cart, then a tool cabinet, and maybe even a wall of tool chests. In the meantime, the humble shlep-around toolbox is the perfect receptacle for carrying your basic tools to any household project. Keep it simple and solid, and it’ll never leave you, even when you need more storage.


No doubt, some of you think we overlooked some items you think are crucial to the ensemble. Duct tape. WD-40. The InSinkErator tool. Everyone’s needs could slightly deviate based on their home situations, but we’re standing by this list. So? Go thou, get thee tools and be useless no more.


The US General 5-Drawer Tool Cart: Too Sexy for Your Tools?

If there was a category for “Single-Most-Loved Product” at Harbor Freight Tools, the US General tool cabinets and carts would probably be in a tight group, a length ahead of all the others. Be it the insanely popular 44″ 13-Drawer Tool Cabinet, the extra large 56″ 11-Drawer Industrial Rolling Cabinet, the mammoth 72″ 18-Drawer Industrial Roller Cabinet or the economical, yet rugged, 4-Drawer Tool Cart, the US General tool chests have amassed a ton of rave reviews– both for the quality and the value.
Which is why it’s no surprise to see the way-thumbs-up reviews of the 700-lb. Capacity 5-Drawer Tool Cart

Same beautiful fire-engine red as the other models, the rugged all-steel, 5-drawer tool cart is the ideal choice for the wrencher with just enough– but not too many– tools. As pointed out by Jeff G. Holt in the May 2013 Used and Abused column of Hot Bike :

“This all-steel 120-pound tool cart is a great place to store a myriad of tools for not a lot of money. This bright-red powder-coated rollaway is constructed (of) 14-gauge steel and can hold up to 700 pounds worth of stuff.”

Jeff wasn’t a pushover for just the pretty face, though. He put the baby to work immediately.

“Sure, that is all well and good, but for a cabinet such as this, with a rather low price tag, I was worried about things like the drawers opening smoothly and other quality-related issues. Once I freed it from its shipping box, I assembled it (it took less than a half hour) and loaded it full of my wayward tools and was able to put it to the test. The ball-bearing rails on each of the drawers worked smoothly and they even had a locking lever per drawer like only the carts costing three times the price usually possess. The key-controlled locking mechanism on the top of the cart also worked flawlessly, which is truly a feat for something of this price. When fully loaded, this cart rolled around freely due to the two fixed and two swiveling locking casters. It even did so on chunky asphalt.”

Sounds like a winner. But, how about down the road? Did the tool cart stand the test of time?

“After throwing tools in and out of the cart for almost a year now, I have been pretty impressed with the quality construction and ease of use. The only problem I am currently having with it is that I am running out of room and I’ll need to switch to a larger storage system. If you are looking for a rolling workstation such as this, don’t let the low price keep you away, buy this and save a couple hundred dollars over the competition.”

A larger storage system? Harbor Freight can do that! Or, how about just getting a second tried-and-true 5-drawer tool cart? You can find the 700-lb.Capacity 5-Drawer Tool Cart at your local Harbor Freight, or online, for a low $199.99– or, keep your eyes peeled and get it for $169.99 with coupon! Girls on Hot Bike magazine cover not included.

Johnny Hunkins, editor of Popular Hot Rodding magazine, also posted a great article on his blog about Harbor Freight’s tool carts. When he visited our QA facility in Calabasas, CA, he was impressed with the thoroughness of our tool testing. 5 drawer tool cart, and the US General tool cart was actually one of dozens of products he got to sample side-by-side with competitors’ products that are generally much more expensive. As Johnny observed:

” You really have to put your hands on this cart, open the drawers, slam the lid, and roll it around to believe it. With severe-duty ball bearing roller tracks, thick gauge steel cabinet, chunky ball bearing casters, smooth pneumatic lid struts, locking drawer tabs, grippy drawer liners, durable powdercoat red paint, and beefy frame, the HTF cart would be a welcome addition to any garage at twice the price.”

Jacob Jackson of Truckin’ magazine had his own thoughts on the subject, handing the crown of “Best Mechanic’s Cart Under $250″ to Harbor Freight’s tool cart:

“It’s difficult to overstate the incredible value the US General Pro five-drawer tool cart, represents in the tool world. You get super-strong 14-gauge steel, five storage drawers of varying depths, and gas struts for the lid, which can support 176 pounds. The bright-red powdercoat was tough yet looked good, and for under $200, you get a legitimate mobile workstation and not just a little cart. It was the clear-cut winner of this shootout.”

Decide for yourself. Come visit your local Harbor Freight Tools and try the US General 5-Drawer Tool Cart mano y mano. We think you’ll walk away a believer– and a proud new owner– too.

Tools for a Good Marriage

Ah, young love. My 21-year-old nephew just got married last weekend to his girlfriend of 3 years. It was a nice affair: the cake was delicious, the decor tasteful, the gift tables stacked high with juicers, crock pots, cookware, towels, bedding, crepe makers, dishes, salad tongs, fondue pots– the usual. My opinion, the kids are never going to use a lot of that stuff. It’s a pity, they don’t know what they really need. And let’s face it, the bride put the registry together. No offense, she’s not the one who’ll be going to the hardware store a dozen time later on to get tools for putting the home together.

May I make a suggestion? The next wedding you attend for a young couple (or even a not-so-young couple), go rogue on the registry and give them a tool kit. For less than $100 with a coupon, you can put together a complete set that they’ll use  all the time, maybe even for the rest of their lives. At least longer than the kettle corn maker they got.

Here are some basic tools to throw in the kit. It’ll make their lives a whole lot easier:



  1. Hammer – Nothing fancy, just a simple, sturdy claw hammer. This one from Pittsburgh has a shock-absorbent fiberglass handle that won’t splinter or split.
  2. Screwdriver Set – As you know, if you don’t have the correct-sized screwdriver, it can be a bad experience. It keeps slipping out of the slot, stripping the slot, etc. That’s why getting a set of comprehensive slot and Phillips screwdrivers is the way to go– and this 32-piece screwdriver set is perfect for whatever household job comes up.
  3. Wrench Set – Just as a screwdriver, you need just the right fitting wrench. That means you’ll want both SAE and metric on hand. This low-price 22-piece combination wrench set accommodates the most widely-used sizes and comes with a handy rack for quick access.
  4. Tape Measure – When putting up pictures and wall decor, measuring for furniture space or executing most any home improvement, you’ve got to have a tape measure on hand. Like this 30-ft. one from Harbor Freight, they’re cheap but they’re invaluable!
  5. Level – Got to make sure the family portraits are up for when the relatives come over– but you can’t do it right without a level. At $6.00, the 9″ Magnetic Torpedo Level will save you a lot of headache for vertical, horizontal and 45-degree leveling.
  6. Socket Set – A wrench set is great to have, but for some jobs a socket set is so much sweeter. Pittsburgh makes a good, long-lasting 64-piece set at a low price, which includes both SAE and metric, with 1/4″, 3/8″ and 1/2″ drive. It comes with a rugged custom carrying case for storage and transport.
  7. Screws, Nuts & Bolts – Hey, it’s at least one less trip to the store, right? Probably a number of trips– a 1,001-piece set with wood screws, sheet metal screws, nuts, bolts, washers, lock washers and cotter pins. Definitely worth the 12 bucks.
  8. Tool Box -You’ve got to get one– the ready-made gift box that keeps on giving. The 20″ Stainless Steel Toolbox from Storehouse is a Harbor Freight best buy, with a dent-proof, high-impact base, heavy-duty tray and strong rubber-grip handle. With a full-length piano hinge, two sturdy latches and a brushed steel finish, this toolbox is built to last.
  9. Cordless Drill – OK, so this isn’t going into the toolbox, but it certainly completes the set. If there’s any power tool the new couple’s going to need, it’s a cordless drill, and the low-cost Drill Master 18 Volt Cordless 3/8″ Drill With Keyless Chuck is a rugged, reliable addition to the arsenal.

So, when the top tier of the cake disappears in the freezer under some ground chuck, all the returns and re-gifting’s been done and those crazy kids go one with their lives, they’ll remember you every time there’s an outlet plate to replace or a bicycle to build, an armoire to secure to a wall or a tiki mask to hang in the bathroom… the wedding guest who had the good sense to ignore their registry.