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    SulleyBear's Avatar
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    Frontier Tool Boxes

    I noticed that many of the "Rural Lifestyle Stores", such as Rural King and also Family Farm and Home sell the Frontier brand tool boxes and chests. In fact, my local Rural King had a massive lower cabinet along with the nearly same sized upper cabinet on display in their store foyer. I had to stop in there Friday to get some lawn chemicals and they had sold the upper box off the top of the lower cabinet, but still had the lower cabinet for sale.

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    It is worth noting that Home Depot also sells the Frontier boxes and they are available on Amazon as well. There are a bunch of places online and through retailers where you can purchase them and they also "private label" boxes for retailers if they purchase enough of them.......I read about that somewhere when I was roaming around on the Frontier website as well.


    I looked the cabinet over and I would say it's on par with the Craftsman boxes and some of the Husky boxes. Also in my toolbox search, I have found where Husky Boxes are actually built by different suppliers depending upon the price point of the box. I made a detailed Excel spreadsheet about all of the top boxes I have been looking at and it compared the sizes, dimensions, storage capacity, weight limits, gauge of steel used in construction and many other important considerations. I will have to figure out how to post that in this thread in another post.

    Personally, I liked this cabinet better than the Harbor Freight lower unit for two reasons;

    1. It has more drawers and in my next tool storage devices, I want many shallow drawers and just a few "Deep drawers" as the deep drawers often end up with tool stacking, like this shown in the next photo of my current box. I want to avoid this in the next box.

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    2. Harbor Freight was offering an upper cabinet for their 72" tool chest and lately, its been missing from their website. I am not sure if it's just unavailable for a short time, but it has been several months now and the upper chest to sit on top of the lower base has not been offered either in their store or on their website. While I could put two base units side by side and use the tops for work surfaces, I would prefer to go as tall as I can for the tool storage to not take up more valuable floor space.

    https://www.harborfreight.com/tool-s...-cabinets.html

    The large drawers on the Frontier Box at Family Farm and Home, all have dual slides on them to carry the weight. The drawers also have a nicely cut, custom fit rubber liner in each drawer and NOT the thinner drawer liners which will wad up and slide with the drawer opening and closing.

    The Frontier Box is built as you expect it to be for it's price point. It's definitely not a Snap On Quality box, but this size tool cabinet in a Snap On box would be about 14 times the price this was retail..........

    My tool chests are rarely moved, other than to clean the floor under and behind them. If I was using the large tool chest to roll around a shop from project to project, then I would seriously consider a heavy duty American made box like the Snap On, or even the Cornwell Tools chest I recently looked at in a new distributors truck.

    For the lower unit like this one the Cornwell box was about $5,500 retail and the guy really wants to sell it, so he mentioned I could buy it for about $4,800. That's still $3,900 more than the Frontier box and as I said, my tool boxes are used almost exclusively to store the tools and keep them organized. Yes, the Cornwell Box was much better built that the Frontier Box. Perhaps if I made a living with the tools I would consider spending more for the "Tool Truck Branded Boxes".


    So, I started looking into the Frontier brand and as one would expect, they are made in China. As I am surfing their website, two things I found really surprised me.

    The first was somehow, I stumbled into their volume pricing breakdown and on their tool chests which they sell at retail for $599, the more you buy, the cheaper they get to the point that if you ordered 150 toolboxes or more, the purchase price PER BOX for the volume retailers dropped down to $150............I didn't take a screen shot of that page and I will look for it again, as the tremendous drop in the selling price was "eye opening".

    Their large $1,400 retail boxes dropped down in price to about $440 per set if you bought in quantities which could be sold by a retail chain. So, there is some room for putting these on sale and still making a very good profit. Normally, you see this type of mark up margin in Jewelry, I was surprised to see it in tool storage cabinets.

    Then I also found this on their website. Check out the box down on the lower right.......What the.?.......It's about how their "Human Wigs" are made.....I guess you can get a "Hairy Tool chest"......Very Odd

    Also, if you go to their website, which can be found here,

    Frontier Tools, Find the Best Way to Store your Tools.

    it also links you to various wheels which are apparently either made or sold or both by the companies involved.

    Also, on the "About Us" tab, they talk about their sales of $12 million dollars, which if meant to impress me, it speaks to how small they are.

    Just an interesting journey and curious things found when trying to learn more about their tool chests............Clearly, their website is not their strength, but it is a big part of how they showcase their products to the retailers. While you can buy on their website, every retailer I have checked that stocks their tool chests and boxes is selling them a little below the MSRP, so buying at full retail on their website as a consumer and dealing with the shipping, etc. surely isn't advantageous.

    Please note, the Screen Shot of the Frontier page below is NOT of the tool box I was looking at or considering. I posted this page simply because of the bizarre message box on the right side of the screen........

    So, do any of you GTT supporters and members own and or use a large Frontier Tool chest and if you do, what's your opinion of it as well as your satisfaction and experience using it?

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    I'm not sure, but I believe that Frontier is a Canadian brand. I remember my Canadian friend telling my that he has his grandfathers frontier set from... a long time ago. Pretty nice stuff, imo.

    ​I still like craftsman better, though.
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    Quote Originally Posted by johnH123 View Post
    I'm not sure, but I believe that Frontier is a Canadian brand. I remember my Canadian friend telling my that he has his grandfathers frontier set from... a long time ago. Pretty nice stuff, imo.

    ​I still like craftsman better, though.
    Times sure have changed. Used to be I could drive to my local Sears and they would have rows of tool chests from the home owners to the Professional boxes. Now, not only does the nearest Sears store not stock nearly as many tool boxes, it's nearly an hour away.

    Sadly, Sears has terribly mismanaged itself. The only things which have kept them from bankruptcy have been the Craftsman line, which they sold and the Kenmore Line, which they also recently sold to Amazon..........Expect them to be gone before 2020......... and they will become yet another footnote in history.

    I know Whirlpool will continue for the near future to make the Kenmore line but even that is up for change. The message so far is that Amazon is looking to "keep things the same" for now, but many changes are on the horizon. And from what I am hearing, they aren't "Quality Improvements and Brand Up-scaling", but rather "Price Point" issues.........

    So if any of you are Kenmore Appliance fans, get it while you can as it's likely to get watered down in quality.

    I used to be a big fan of Craftsman....I have the largest set of Auto Professional Tools which Craftsman sold. The Mishawaka, Indiana Sears store (Our local store didn't carry these very large tool sets and had to special order them and since that time, our local Sears stores have all closed) was getting ready to completely remodel and I was in the store with my wife. We were talking to the manager of the store and he offered me a STEAL on the entire tool set IF, I would take it in the display boards. We had to return to the store with a cargo trailer to haul all of these home and they were HEAVY.

    Well, I did buy them and I paid 25% of the retail price for the entire tool set, which was displayed on either 11 or 12, 42" square "boards" with the clear plastic molded over the tools. The store had the boards mounted to their walls.

    It was much harder to get the tools out of the plastic than I thought it would be as the plastic was molded right to the display boards for anti theft. The plastic was so heavy, it couldn't be cut straight out with a razor knife. I broke several knives and blades trying to cut through that material. Those were truly "Pilfer proof" displays........

    I ended up using a heat gun and softening the plastic after drilling it full of holes to weaken it and then I could barely cut it. Still, I spent about 8 hours getting each and every tool out from underneath that "Theft Proof Plastic" for the displays. It's a great tool set, but this was also back when Craftsman were all Unconditionally Guaranteed and before they went to different levels of tools and the imports.......

    Since Craftsman has cheapened their product, I switched to buying S&K Tools or T&E Tools from the local tool store, which just closed as well because of Harbor Freight coming to the area. Our local tool guy, who sold Professional Quality stuff, had a 50% sale on everything in the store and while I was able to get many good items, it's sad to see the locally owned QUALITY TOOL store get killed off by HF................He said his business dropped 80% in the first 12 months of HF coming to town. Luckily, he was ready to retire. He would have rather sold his store than closed it, but he was able to sell all of the inventory.

    He told me that an Ebay tool seller made him an offer by the pound for all of the tools he had left over after the sale. Didn't even want them sorted or itemized. The Ebay seller had the local guy put the tools on pallets and shrink wrap them and weigh them. The Ebay tool seller told the local guy "I will take everything you can send me", which turned out to be about 8 pallets worth.

    Recently, I wanted a new set of Professional Screw Drivers and ended up getting these off the Cornwell Tool Truck. The set was on sale for about $60 plus tax. Few things worse than cheap, crappy screw drivers......

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    I already have "a few" screw drivers, but I have a mixed lot and Mrs. Bear is always taking them out of the red drawer shown below;

    The Cornwell Set will NOT be put in the screw driver drawer as I don't want these used to open paint cans and pry things, etc. which is what happened to many of those shown in the drawer.........Yesterday she was using one of the phillips screw drivers to "punch holes" in a project she was working on while whacking the handle with a hammer.......Oh, that is painful to witness tools used like that. I started to say "I have a drill for making nice holes" but then decided I best NOT........

    In fact, Mrs. Bear doesn't know the new Cornwell Screw Driver Set is here and that's how I am going to keep it.

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    Its sad to see what has happened to sears. Fortunately, Stanley has been making efforts to revamp the brand. They have started making some new tool boxes and things in the US again.

    You should get some of these for your wife..,
    https://www.amazon.com/Irwin-Tools-1.../dp/B01GHQQHIO
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    i've never heard of the brand frontier before-sulley bear till now.

    from what i've heard as of late-my Lowe's tool boxes (Kobalt) are gonna become extinct.

    for the price i paid for the HF box's they work very well. IMO. the drawers on HF work as good or even better than my Craftsmen box's do. and all of them have the ball bearing glides on em.
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    On a whim, I went on a search for brands namer "Frontier." There seems to be almost an endless list companies either named "Frontier" or selling items branded as "Frontier."

    Included among the top hits;

    Airline
    Communications company
    Life insurance company
    Farm implements
    Co-op marketing spices and teas and other food items
    Nissan truck
    Whiskey brand
    Pet food
    Tutoring company
    Decking material company
    Tool boxes and storage
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    There is a You Tube review video of Tool Boxes by Snap On where they compare their tool boxes to the following;

    Mac

    Matco

    Cornwell

    Craftsman

    They go through and point out the differences in how the boxes are made. They also subject the boxes to various tests and demonstrate the tests. Clearly, the toughest challenges for any tool chest is moving it around while loaded and over cracks in the floor and over transitional height differences. The loads put on the box frame when it is heavily loaded are the biggest part of the challenge. Also, the difference in how the drawers are secured was real interesting and important.

    For people looking to buy a tool chest and put it in their garage or shop and rarely move it, the structural strengths, while important for heavily loaded boxes, are less likely to be really challenged by most people as they don't move heavily loaded boxes often. The real differences in the boxes I have looked at come down to the following issues;

    #1 - Do the drawers have bearing drawer slides which will support a heavily loaded drawer? Most boxes have a per drawer weight limit of at least 100 pounds per drawer.

    #2 - Do the deep drawers and larger drawers have at least dual drawer slides on the end of each drawer?

    #3 - What holds the drawers closed and is that a wear item?

    #4 - Is there a latch to open the drawers? If it's a detente and you have to yank on the drawer, it slides tools all over the place. This is something that will impact EVERY owner of the box, regardless of professional or homeowner. Very Important issue.

    #5 - Are the boxes spot welded or how are they put together? What about the drawers?

    #6 - As hard as it seems to believe, many of the cheaper boxes actually have sharp edges and corners and they don't crimp the metal edges of the drawer. This is also important in the structural strength of the entire box.

    #7 - Are there large areas of the box which can't be used for tool storage? Surprisingly, many of the boxes have voids where they need to use the area for structural strength due to design. One of the boxes had a dead space of nearly 3" across the entire top of the tool box. This makes a big difference in the amount of actual storage space.

    #8 - What retains bolted on components such as wheel casters and handles? If they are self tapping bolts through little strips of material held on with one spot weld, the ability to "fix" something once it fails is harder unless you can re weld the broken piece.

    #9 - Using threaded retainers which expand when the bolt is run into them makes for a much stronger tool cabinet. An easy way to tell is to remove the lower drawer and see how the casters are bolted to the bottom of the cabinet. If they use what looks like a drywall anchor designed for metal which expands and secures itself when you tighten it, that is a higher quality box. If they are using the approach in #4 above, seriously consider if that is the box for you. Here is a link to the fasteners which indicate a higher quality box.

    https://www.google.com/search?q=expa...mWDIheu0A0_5M:

    #10 - Pull the drawers and look inside the cabinet and see if every surface is painted and the quality of the paint or finish job. Inside corners of the main box, bottoms of the tool drawers, bottom of the box. I pulled the drawers out of the lowest price Husky Box and the highest price Husky box at my local Home Depot and the difference in how those two boxes were made was shocking. Actually, there is also a video on You Tube where the person demonstrates these issues.

    #11 - I have found several owners of boxes made in China that have had serious metal fatigue which caused extensive damage to their boxes simply from rolling them on their garage floor. Some of these boxes are so "racked" that they are no longer functional nor can they be used. In many of these cases, the "Warranty" of the tool box refused to provide any coverage. Make sure to scroll down to the product review and read the review and look at the photo's in the link attached below. This is a VERY IMPORTANT ISSUE for these large boxes. Here is one of those examples;

    https://www.homedepot.com/p/Extreme-...CRBL/205178437

    Cornwell Tools and Company
    But during the entire video, they kept lumping the Cornwell Tool boxes and the Craftsman Tool Boxes together and they stated that they are built identically in many ways. They did everything but come out and say that the Craftsman and Cornwell Tools were made in the same factory.

    I do know that in 2016, Cornwell bought an Ohio based Tool Chest / Box maker, Kennedy Manufacturing and added it under their company umbrella. So now all of the Cornwell boxes are built in Ohio, which is good. From what I could tell it seemed that Kennedy had been making at least some of the Cornwell tool boxes prior to the acquisition of Kennedy by Cornwell.

    https://www.inddist.com/news/2016/10...-manufacturing

    From what I have seen of the Cornwell Tool Box, they are a nice piece. They aren't built to the same standards as the Snap On Boxes are, but the Cornwell Boxes don't command the same price either. From my pricing, they are at least 30% less than comparable SIZED Snap On boxes. Considering they are "Made in America" boxes, they are priced as one of the more competitive in that class.

    Cornwell Home Page

    The company, Kennedy Manufacturing has had a tough time the last 20 years and filed for Bankruptcy in 2004 and then in 2006 was bought out by an investment company, JvA Holdings out of Chicago. JVA subsequently sold Kennedy to Cornwell in 2016.

    Cornwell Tools is a closely held business with control held by the founding family as well as a portion of the company is held as an employee owned stock plan, which means each eligible full time employee of Cornwell has a vested interest in the company doing well as it is likely a key part of their tax qualified employee retirement plan.

    I have looked into the Cornwell tool line carefully and they have a very nice line of tools which are made in America and are well regarded. They just aren't known as well. Cornwell Tools, while not the household name like many of the "Tool Trucks", they have actually been in business longer than any of the other "Tool Truck" companies of Snap On, Matco or Mac tools.

    Cornwell started in 1919,

    Snap on started as a wrench company in 1920,

    Mac Tools started in 1938,

    Matco started in 1946 but wasn't selling tools directly to professionals until 1979.

    Recently, I was at an "Estate Sale" and the person handling the sale had no idea the Cornwell Tools are actually a premium brand of tools and they sold the entire cornwell tool set for half of what they got for the Craftsman tools sold. That was how I was introduced to Cornwell and made it a point to research them and to read the reviews of those who use their tools to make a living after seeing the tools and their quality at the estate sale.

    At this point, I am adding select tools as needed as I already have many multiples of the common tools and I don't need to be buying entire sets unless I can get a really good deal.

    The ONLY negative I found in my research was that the Cornwell Tool trucks seemed to be less stable than the other companies and that they also are not found in many of the markets. Many people are not familiar with the Cornwell name. So a few professional mechanics commented how they preferred Cornwell and when they no longer had a "Tool Truck" calling on them, they contacted the company directly to deal with any warranty issues or to buy additional pieces. But I didn't find much in terms of "real problems or issues" in comments by those who use the tools every day.

    Homak Tools

    JVA also owns Homak Tools, who makes tool boxes. Here is the link to Homak's website. They also make gun safes and other items. Many of you will remember the big push in the 1940's built homes and kitchens to adopt metal kitchen cabinets. Homak launched their company as a leading maker of steel kitchen cabinets and transitioned into tool boxes in the 1960's. They also entered the gun safe and gun cabinet markets and offer a large product line.

    https://homak.com/

    Northern Tool, along with many others, sells the Homak Brand of tool storage cabinets and boxes.
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    Quote Originally Posted by SulleyBear View Post
    Pull the drawers and look inside the cabinet and see if every surface is painted and the quality of the paint or finish job. Inside corners of the main box, bottoms of the tool drawers, bottom of the box. I pulled the drawers out of the lowest price Husky Box and the highest price Husky box at my local Home Depot and the difference in how those two boxes were made was shocking. Actually, there is also a video on You Tube where the person demonstrates these issues.
    Good point. I bought a bottom of the line Home Depot Husky to store tractor parts and such in my shed area. After removing the drawers to install the casters and handle I found that the only paint on the interior was overspray from the exterior surface painting. There was already rust in the back and seams where the metal was totally bare.
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    I had bought a set of craftsmen tool boxes and when I got them home I was so disappointed in them I took them back. Picked up the 52" Harbor freight set and am very happy with them. Casters came on them and it was painted on inside. All loaded it and had them for a year very happy still and thinking about a lower box to set along side it.
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    Brand Husky Husky Milwaukee Husky Husky Wen Milwaukee U.S. General U.S. General
    Source Home Depot Home Depot Home Depot Home Depot Home Depot Home Depot Home Depot Harbor Freight Harbor Freight
    Price $1,098 $698 $698 $498 $598 $999 $898 $749 $1,099
    Model Number
    HOTC5623BB2S
    H52CH6TR9HD
    48-22-8510-8520
    H52CH6TR7P
    HTC5206 HMT5212
    # 77041
    # 48-22-8546
    item#67681
    item#61656
    Total Storage in Cubic Inches 42,930 37,421 27,223 34,262 32,513 17,695 35,318 25,363 34,300
    Number of Drawers 23 15 16 13 18 21 18 11 18
    Upper and Lower boxes in set Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Lower Lower
    Weight 542 Pounds 585 pounds 386 Pounds 330 Pounds 357 Pounds 337 Pounds 525 Pounds 470 Pounds 528 Pounds
    Width 56 52 62 62 52.4 41 46 56 72
    Height 65 63.8 62 52 64.9 46 64 42 42
    Depth 22 21.7 18.2 18 18 18 22 22 22
    Color Black Black Red Black Black Black Red Red Red
    Metal Gauge 18 ga 18 ga 20 ga 21 ga 21 ga 15 ga 19 ga 16 ga 16 ga
    Capacity in Pounds 2,500 lbs 2,500 lbs 1,800 lbs 1,800 lbs 1,400 lbs 2,400 lbs 2,500 lbs 3,450 lbs 4,602 lbs

    Please note, all specifications are from the Websites of each product. I can not guarantee the accuracy of these numbers. Please verify any of these which you are concerned about before making your decision.
    Last edited by SulleyBear; 04-16-2018 at 09:23 AM. Reason: Added footnote

    1025R with Mauser Cab
    (10/2017)/ 120R FEL / RC2048 Mower / All of Ken's Bolt on Products / 60" HD Front Broom / 3 pt 45 Gallon Boom less Sprayer / CA2068 Core Aerator / I-Match / 54" Snow Plow w/ angling Quick Attach / Frontier 3 Pt Sprayer / Pallet Forks / 8 -42# Weights

    John Deere 455 (New in 9/1996) / MC519 Cart /60" MMM /47" Snow Thrower / 7'3" snow plow / Quick Hitch /
    4 -42# Weights / JD#10 Cart

    ExMark Lazer Z w/60" Deck , Billy Goat Blower , Full Stable of Echo Products





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