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On Site Tool Storage

When the site closes down for the evening, especially if that day ends the work week, masons usually have the choice of taking their tools home or leaving them in a secured storage facility.

 Large jobs, where the work will be done over many weeks or even months, are usually populated with trailers and other temporary offices where tools and equipment can be stored. The site might even have a security detail watching to see that nothing "walks away."

The typical masonry job doesn't last long enough to warrant moving or renting a trailer — unless it's far from the home office — and it doesn't offer the luxury of security guards. This fact leads many contractors and masons to opt for on-vehicle storage of their tools and equipment, as we discussed in the February issue ("Truck Accessories"). This is especially true because workers may have to float between several jobs during the week.

Between these two types of jobs, large and long or short and sweet, is the hybrid: a large job site and a moderate length of time on the job. Add the requirement for a certain skill set — a stonemason, for example — that precludes rotating masons in and out and you have a perfect job for on-site storage chests and cabinets.

Tough and Tougher
Storage chests, cabinets and toolboxes must be weather-proof, secure, flexible in layout, big enough to hold all the tools of all the workers, heavy enough to prevent theft, and — in a classic contradiction — portable.

Probably the most common storage cabinet on a job site is the big brown box with the name Knaack on it. Knaack, Crystal Lake, Ill., makes several lines of job site storage under a variety of brands that can fit most operational needs. Knaack's Storagemaster chests come in sizes ranging from 35 to 57.5 cu. ft. All use gas springs to assist in raising the articulated lid, have recessed handles in front and on the sides, and the larger units can even be fitted with an internal locking compartment that allows the storage of valuables while the box is otherwise open for easy access.

 The Jobmaster chests are smaller, ranging from 5-24.5 cu. ft. in capacity, and have a flip-up lid. These deep storage boxes can be equipped with removable tool trays, allowing the mason to carry his or her tools to the work area and return them in the tray.

The Classic line, with capacities from 5-31 cu. ft., is lighter in weight and often gets mounted on equipment trailers and truck beds. A companion line, the Extreme, represents the larger vertical cabinets most often used when shelves for smaller items are needed. Shelf arrangements are easy to change and capacities are 30 to 60 cu. ft.

A Knaack exclusive is what they call the Watchman IV lock system. It incorporates a single deadbolt locking mechanism with a choice of padlocks by American Lock or Master Lock. Once the lock is installed in the recessed lock housing, a thief with bolt cutters won't have any part of the lock accessible to cut. Since you provide the lock, you can single-key multiple chests or use other options to prevent keys from wandering away when employees leave.

Typical of job site storage chests and cabinets, they come with forklift accessible lifting points so the boxes can be moved around the site as the work shifts. That comes in handy when you consider the weight — Storagemaster chests run from 280 to more than 400 pounds. But that weight is what adds to the security: it would be difficult to accidentally take one of these storage chests home.

From Brown to Red
Delta Consolidated Industries, Raleigh, N.C., makes the Jobox line of job site storage and paints them dark red. They offer capacities from 5-56.5 cu. ft., with the larger units being called "piano boxes." These feature tip-up shelves that can be swung out of the way when not needed, recessed handles, 12-gauge shields for the padlocks to prevent bolt-cutter access, and extra heavy-duty piano hinges along the back of the lid.

Another box, the slope lid, combines the depth of storage you need with a slanted lid that makes access a little easier. That lid, by the way, can be braced in a level position to make the top into a work surface for print reading.

 Jobox cabinets feature a foot-operated latching mechanism that can be used to open the doors while both arms are full of equipment. Those doors are three inches thick and formed all around to prevent unauthorized entry with a crowbar. Don't get the idea that the doors are bank vault style, however. The depth is put to good use inside with door shelves and added storage — up to 17 linear feet. Three 5/8-inch locking pins in the center post secure the doors and should keep in what you want to stay in.

Both Knaack and Jobox offer heavy casters to move the chests and cabinets if the site allows rolling, which might be optimal on interior work. Most exterior sites will probably require the forklift approach to relocate the storage.

Safety Yellow, too
 If you want to brighten up that job, maybe the job site boxes from Contico's Tradesman line will be your pick. The bright yellow storage chests are powder-coated so the color will last — assuming some care is taken in washing off the mud. Contico, St. Louis, Mo., is perhaps better known for its line of truck bed storage but their job site boxes are a good buy, too. They feature self-enclosed hinge systems and recessed padlock inlets for maximum security, convenient fold-down, recessed side handles, open-ended legs for forklift transportation, and rugged 16-gauge steel. Capacities of the two boxes in the line are approximately 6 cu. ft. and 18.5 cu. ft. No, it's not nearly as complete a line as the others but they sure do cheer up the site with that yellow color!



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