Big-Time Boxes: Doug Markland, Snap-on Toolbox

Doug Markland’s big yellow Snap-on toolbox is the culmination of a lifetime of feeding a tool habit.

“Yes, I’m a tool addict,” Markland admits. “I’m stopping now; I’m tired of paying him every week.

“In fact, I still have four years of payments on the box.”

How did this happen? According to Markland, it all started in 1976, when he was 13 and his neighbor had a race car. “I’d help him work on it. I also always loved tools ever since my father got me started collecting tools,” he says. “It just grew from there.”

Markland made his living for years as a GM technician. When he began repairing foreign vehicles at his new shop, he needed a whole world of new tools. The tool arsenal quickly outgrew his old box.

“I have well over 1,000 sockets, 35 sets of wrenches … I cannot say how much in tools are in there,” he says. “I’m the only mechanic I know that has a camshaft bearing remover and installer.”

When shopping for a new toolbox, his criteria was that it had enough space and good financing.

“I just always liked Snap-on and I needed more room,” Markland explains. “I did price another brand box, but they wanted to add finance charges, even if you paid it off early. Snap-on doesn’t have that; the faster you pay it off, the less finance charges you pay."

The Snap-on toolbox is composed of five different toolboxes that hold everything he needs. His favorite item is the hydraulic brake line flaring tool. “I’ve never done more brake lines in my life than in this shop,” Markland exclaims. “Before all my experience was at GM dealerships.”

Markland has plenty of engine work tools. “Mostly, I like doing engine work, head jobs and engine swaps,” he explains.

In previous Big-Time Box columns, toolbox security has been discussed. This is not an issue to Markland. “My shop is in a good area, I don’t lock my box,” he says. “If someone is going to break in, they could just destroy the toolbox and get it open. I’d rather have them not damage the box. There are torches and pry bars in a shop, after all. I’d just have a destroyed toolbox and I’d be missing tools too.”

Markland describes the shop where his box resides as “a very nice place to work in.” The ownership is “very patient” and emphasizes quality work. Yet, even his coworkers cannot resist making light of the box’s sheer size.

“People call my box a condominium,” Markland says. “If my wife and I were to get thrown out of our apartment, we can live in it.”