Big-Time Boxes: Edson Rowley III

June 8, 2012
Tool storage features original artwork, a fridge and custom stereo system.

Owner: Edson Rowley III

Shop: Jim's Collision and Service

Location: Michigan Center, MI

For collision repair technician and auto racer Edson Rowley III, it was important when putting together his toolbox that he make it his own.

"The box was designed with collision repair in mind," says Rowley. "It keeps everything neat and organized while still retaining usable counter space.  I race oval and figure 8's at my local 1/4-mile track, Spartan Speedway, and I figured a photo of my race car would add the finishing touch. Can't get much more personalized than this box."

Rowley has put nearly five years into constructing his toolbox. The workstation started out as a Snap-on Master Series, Triple Bay box. Rowley then added a drawer end cab to the left side, and scratch-built the locker, hutch and half locker. The construction is angle iron skinned with sheet metal and the shelves are white laminated wood. The left half locker has a refrigerator and one large shelf, with a drill press made into the top that pulls out on sliders for ease of use.

"The hutch has four-foot deep overhead storage, accessed from the left end for those 'too long to put anywhere tools' and holds the products used most often for collision repair on the open shelves," Rowley says. "The right locker holds three sets of jack stands, a creeper, a creeper seat and an onboard nitrogen tank. The nitrogen is plumed through the box and its connector is the simulated "lock" on the left side half locker. I keep it close to the air hose for quick swaps when pressure checking hard-to-find AC leaks."

A yellow roll cart holds the most commonly used tools for teardown and rebuilds, and sports the same paint as the race car. There are 29 drawers, 26 electrical outlets, onboard air, a bench grinder, a vice and a stereo with remote-mounted speakers and a subwoofer. Overall dimensions of the toolbox are 12' long by 7' tall, with materials for the build totaling around $2,000, including the stainless top.

Rowley is especially fond of one area of the toolbox. "My favorite is my vice grip drawer," he says. "It just looks pretty! There are 110 pairs of various sizes and styles all living in their spot. And yes, I have had every last one out at the same time on a collision repair."

Having built most of the toolbox himself, Rowley's personality is an integral part of it. "I like that it is my box," he says. "The vinyl revolves around highlighting five (racing) championships that I have won in the last four years. And now every day I get to enjoy using it at work."

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