Avoiding the inevitable clash with my endless bins full of spare parts that have taken over my garage and replacing them with a versatile workspace, like that of OEMTOOLS' 11-drawer toolbox and cabinet combo, was so much easier before the world was shut down. Now entering another month of full-time home life, the time has come to get my workspace—no, my sanctuary—in order, and doing so certainly includes a proper workspace.
I'm pretty meticulous when it comes to organizing Super Street Network's editorial content, along with dealing with some of the social media, budgeting and neverending analytics, but my home garage, an area that often lends itself to various project car and DIY stories, has been a mess for quite some time. Once replete with new and old parts, aftermarket and OEM, I've managed to finally shed my packrat-like obsession of keeping any and everything Honda-related until the end of time, and instead have spent the last few months sifting through my stockpiles and actually letting go of things. Some went to friends while other more less useful pieces went into the trash or recycling bins. It wasn't an awkward visit from Netflix home invader Marie Kondo that lit the fire, but rather one fateful day, while working on a tucked radiator install, I tripped over a box of random parts and felt a change was in order.
A pair of 4-tier, 77-inch storage racks housed the remaining parts from four different project cars that I currently tinker with and were very necessary to keep things off the ground. Since my garage uses a load-bearing pillar which runs the length of the space, a hydraulic lift was simply never going to happen. So, I opted for some basic overhead storage racks to take advantage of the unused overhead space and two units granted enough relief to completely clear and remove one of those standing shelf units—perfect for its replacement that was already on its way from our friends at OEMTOOLS.
OEMTOOLS - greatnecksaw.com/oemtools
Serving as the automotive specialty division of GreatNeck Saw—now a fourth-generation family company that's been offering quality hand tools for about 10 decades and serves as the largest privately held tool manufacturer in the U.S. - OEMTOOLS manufactures over 800 specialty tools for a number of applications and uses. Their focus is zeroed in on tools that are more than up to the task of performing in just about any day-to-day environment reliably, and they put just as much emphasis on performance as they do a competitive price tag. Many of you are like me and have a family and budget to contend with but still want quality goods—that's exactly where OEMTOOLS thrives. Name a tool and there's a pretty good chance that OEMTOOLS offers their version. From air and power tools to basic wrenches and ratchets, cutting devices, lighting, hardware, and in this case, storage solutions - the brand's website is packed with options big and small. The site also directs you to the various outlets for purchase, including major retailers you're likely very familiar with, like Amazon, JEGS, Summit, and more.
Based on the amount of space I now had available, OEMTOOLS' stainless-steel, 72-inch, 11-drawer toolbox and cabinet combo was an ideal fit. It offers a trio of deep, reinforced drawers along the bottom for larger tools and equipment, a pair of medium sized drawers on each side of the unit about half way up the lower section, and just above those you'll find four slimmer drawers positioned on either side of a center-mounted, double-door storage section.
Black aluminum drawer pulls are stout, with ergonomics that work well with gloved or bare hands, and the haptics of the drawer's sliding mechanism is as quiet as it is confident. In addition, each of the drawers is fitted with protective padding that lines the inside. Atop that 11-drawer layout is a 72-inch workbench area produced in PVC coated MDF. Having used makeshift tables and, more often than not, my deep freezer's lid as a workspace, the large, flat bench top is a welcome addition, offering plenty of useable real estate that sits right at hip level on my 5'11" frame.
The rear portion of the unit is comprised of an 18-inch metal pegboard that runs across the entire length of the workbench, offering additional storage and organization options that you can tailor however you please.
Finally, the very top of the unit is based on three 18-in. high x 12-in. deep storage sections with lift-open covers that hide adjustable shelves. These, along with the rest of the drawers and storage sections, are lockable, and OEMTOOLS includes multiple keys.
The entire unit was shipped on a double length pallet and delivered curbside at my home. Packaged neatly and well protected with layers of corrugated cardboard, I unpacked it and started bringing each piece into the garage for assembly. The lower portion of the system is already assembled for you with its drawers and doors intact, which takes care of quite a bit of work for you but that means it's got some substantial weight to it. Ideally, unpacking and assembling this with a second set of hands is your best bet, but with social distancing and the fact that it was pouring at the time meant I wasn't going to call on a neighbor and I was solo.
I checked to make sure the drawers were locked and using a dolly that previously transported my transmission, I carefully worked the bench onto the dolly and rolled it into the garage between two project cars that are currently under construction and not able to be rolled out of the way.
To get started on assembly, I unboxed the heavy-duty casters that attach using supplied hardware, which bolts into pre-threaded holes. Large enough to roll easily over concrete gaps, two of the casters feature solid locking mechanisms that easily engage and disengage with just a tap from your shoe.
On either side of the workbench are pre-threaded holes for thick, rounded handles to maneuver the system around your garage. Just like the casters, hardware is provided and there's no "massaging" needed as the fit was absolutely spot-on. Using the newly mounted handles, I pushed the unit into its new home, filling the space previously occupied by that multi-tier shelf previously mentioned.
To assemble the middle and top portion, four rigid posts are installed on the back of the toolbox using a series of heavy-duty, pre-installed rivnuts.
The posts use a tapered hole that really makes things much easier, in that you can partially thread-in the hardware, then attach the post and allow it to slide down and lock into place before tightening the hardware completely. The taper also automatically lines up all four posts so there's no worry about height variations.
Next up, the pegboard, which is comprised of a single-piece and fitted with the same heavy-duty rivnuts; it is positioned using the middle holes in the upright posts. Again, with the tapered holes helping out, the assembly remains razor straight and pre-threading the hardware before mounting the pegboard makes it a simple affair.
Up to this point, I had no issues with assembling things on my own, as OEMTOOLS makes the process as easy as can be; however, attaching that upper cabinet is much easier and safer with some assistance. Carrying a significant amount of weight wasn't an issue, but blindly lining up the hardware while hoisting the cabinets up to head height and leaning over the workbench surface wasn't working for me. To make things a little easier, I placed the cabinet on top of a pair of water bottle packs that positioned it just an inch under where it needed to be. One side at a time, I was able to get the hardware through the holes in the uprights and settled into place without issue. With the hardware tightened properly in place, the entire structure is rock solid.
I've spent some time transferring my tools and equipment from my old toolbox and a few storage bins into the new OEMTOOLS 11-drawer toolbox and cabinet combo, and beyond the fact that I now have everything I need in one place and a usable table top area to work with, I found that I've got plenty of space leftover to add more tools to the arsenal.
The adjustable shelves on the overhead storage let you tailor the set up around your specific needs and the damper-assisted covers, which collapse and stay in place with magnetic anchors, are able to be locked securely.
A quick trip to Amazon and I found a set of inexpensive bins to organize some hardware and rivnuts, a power strip and a shop towel dispenser to all take advantage of some of the pegboard with plenty of board space left to expand.
It's been a long time coming, as I've skirted around not having an actual workspace for years, but finally I'd had enough of the unorganized mess in my garage. Now with more available space to work, a bench to work on, and plenty of drawers and bins to store everything that I use in a single place, I feel far more focused and productive when it comes to project car tasks which have only increased with the mandatory stay-at-home order. If you're lucky enough to have an increase of free time in all of this, don't waste it, get organized and set up a proper workspace—your project car/s will thank you for it.