The everything toolbox

March 7, 2024
‘When you work on everything, you gotta have everything,” which means your toolbox has to be ready for everything.

Shop owner and automotive technician Steve Keim has been in the automotive repair industry for about 30 years, and for the past eight, he’s run his own shop, very aptly named Steve’s Shop in Garden City, Kansas. His shop houses three employees including himself, eight toolboxes, and “about every tool known to man.”

“When you work on everything,” Keim says, “You gotta have everything.” 

And considering his shop has worked on everything – boats, campers, motorcycles, heavy duty equipment, etc. – except airplanes, Keim needs a place, or in his case places, to store all the tools and equipment to get whatever repair job that comes into his shop done.  

Toolboxes galore 

Between Keim’s eight toolboxes, one stands out amongst the others – the 25’ long Mr. Big setup from Snap-on. The setup started out at just 12’, but has had many additions over the past five years, including five side lockers, an 84” overhead cabinet, and a 60” double-bank drawer section. 

During his time as a technician, Keim has owned just about every toolbox you could think of, but he decided to go with Snap-on for his setup for two reasons – the payment plan and the name brand. Just like your vehicle or any other fancy product you want, Keim noted he wanted to buy the “high end” of toolboxes for his tools. 

His favorite parts of the setup are the power drawers, as they allow users to plug in the batteries for their power tools, which Keim finds to be a very “handy” feature. Keim’s favorite part of his setup matches perfectly with his favorite battery-operated tools. 

“Once they came out with battery-operated tools, that was a game changer,” Keim says, “Compared to having air [tools] everywhere having battery [tools] is amazing.” 

Inside the toolbox

Keim likes to keep his tools very organized. 

“I’ve got everything from foam that each tool goes into a foam spot to like grid plates where every socket goes on a certain grid, and got holders for everything,” he says, “It's very fancy.”

Inside his large setup, Keim keeps all the shop’s specialty tools. Some of the tools are only used once a month and others only come once every two years. In the other smaller seven toolboxes around the shop, Keim has two of setup as computer stations, which can move from bay to bay as needed, another three filled with mobile hand tools, that can go wherever the techs need them to go, and the last two used as spillover storage for what won’t fit in the large setup. 

In the future, Keim would like to expand the large setup. He hopes to consolidate all the specialty tools into one setup instead of the tools being spread across three. 

“I would really like to add more drawers to it,” Keim says, “That way I can possibly get rid of a couple of the smaller [toolboxes].” 

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