Big-Time Boxes: John Smith

A toolbox longer than a Cadillac.


About 30 miles southeast of South Bend, IN, as the crow flies, is the town of Leesburg. There at Ferguson Farms, John Smith is a mechanic in the maintenance shop. His primary job is building hydraulic systems for walking-floor trailers. These machines are used by commercial farming operations for unloading corn, wood shavings and similar bulk cargo without having to lift the trailer.

John has been there for 17 years, and is currently building about 60 new systems a year. “I’m a mechanic, been doing it since I was 14 years old. I love learning about machines, finding out what makes ‘em work.”

In 2005, John knew he had outgrown his toolbox. At the time he had a tall box that “was always filled with junk at the top, and I had to stand on a milk crate to reach it. It was just too hard to find anything.” Since there’s plenty of room in the shop, he decided to stretch out lengthwise.

Snap-on distributor Morris Folk helped John make his choice, and John ended up buying the first Snap-on Mr. Big that was sold in that district. The KLR1065 is a five-bay roll cabinet with 35 drawers, with a load capacity of 13,600 lbs. and 89,960 cubic inches of space. John’s box is black with a stainless steel top.

Last year he decided to consolidate all of his tools into one storage system, so he added a KLR1023 22-drawer roll cab, a KLR1011 eight-drawer end cabinet and a KLR791 top box. That’s a total of 73 drawers with 161,016 cubic inches of storage space. Just two inches shy of 20 feet long, it’s half the length of the trailer floors he builds.

John says he’s proud of his toolbox, and two coworkers who sometimes work out of the same box “know how much I like it, so they take good care of my stuff.”  

“It took me a lot of years to get this far,” says John, and having everything in one place has definitely made life easier.

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