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Maybe the milkman doesn’t arrive with glass bottles in a neat little wire rack anymore, but milk bottles still come in crates, and they’re bloody useful. I found they make perfect motorcycle engine stands, and they’re sturdy enough for storing heavy metal parts later. Those long, fragile crank case studs need to be protected, since they clamp the cylinder block and head together. With copper washers costing $2.50 apiece from the dealership, you don’t want to have to find out how much new studs cost.

You’ll almost never find milk crates on store shelves, but sources like the aptly-named UsedMilkCrates.com sell both new and used versions. Toolmongers who are going to beat the snot out of these things don’t need to bother buying shiny new ones, so there are a few dollars to be saved buying used ones.

Milk Crates [Used Milk Crates]

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9 Responses to Cheap-Ass Tools: Milk Crates

  1. arby says:

    Ah. The cheap college student’s building blocks. Combined with cinderblocks and some scrounged boards, you could build anything 😉

  2. Gordon DeWitte says:

    Milk crates, cinderblocks, boards, duct tape, and vice grips: what else could you possibly need?

  3. beano_t says:

    I have one int the shop on casters. Use it as a quick seat in a pinch turn it on its side and fill it with tools for a quick project box. Darn thing always comes in handy.

  4. heywood says:

    @gordon…2 words: Tie Wire

  5. Michael W says:

    I use them all over. In the shop. In the garden. To hold empty milk bottles (still get home delivery!). And even to hold my beer bottles while my beer is conditioning (home brew beer = yummy). They work great as seats when you need to be low to the ground. They hold greasy auto parts and tools. My kids use them to carry kindling from my shop. I really haven’t found a place where I can’t use a milk crate.

  6. MeasureOnceCutTwice says:

    I made a great pair of garage/travel speakers while in college out of milk crates, rough-cut plywood sealed to the insides with RTV & drywall screws, and Cheap Radio Shack coax drivers mounted on a panel just sub-flush from the top. They would stack with the rest of my crates, were cheap, sounded OK, and took a mighty beating!

  7. Bill says:

    Careful standing on these, when your foot breaks through it’s like a bear trap!

  8. Chuck says:

    The metal ones are even better. Harvested a few from my granddad’s barn when he passed.

  9. ED says:

    Unfortunately most of those in use were stolen from the milk companies at some point in time. The ones you can buy as ‘storage solutions’ in the stores are very flimsy by comparison, but that does not justify stealing them. And no, I have never stolen them.

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