The war rages on between Toolmongers who favor store-bought shop storage and benches and those who prefer to build it themselves. In the Toolmonger shop we’ve always had some of each — we support the DIY ethos, but who really has time to build their rolling tool chests? Still, we’re curious about store-bought systems, like Whirlpool’s Gladiator line, that try to address all your storage issues.
Storage systems like the Gladiator consist of benches, cabinets, wall components, and flooring, available in configurable chunks so you can create the setup you need and stay flexible. But most folks point out first-thing that these store-bought systems don’t really handle everything, which is true — only custom-built rigs can.
The next comment is about price: the store-bought gear is expensive. For instance, the Gladiator 6’ modular bench with a steel frame and solid maple top will run you about $530. A home-built bench that serves the same function might cost half that or less, and the cash you save could be put to good use buying tools and doing projects.
In many shops we find a mix of both: buy what you can’t, or don’t want to, build and make the rest yourself. In the end, getting the shop “just right” is far less important than what you do in it. If you happen to wind up with a mash-up of gear, so be it — interior designers call that “character.”
So what do you think? Let us know in comments.