This is the Trusco ST-350, a 2-level steel tool box – a refreshing deviation in today’s age of plastic.
It’s a cantilever-style tool box, with a large lower compartment and two upper compartments that pivot out of the way when open.
The two upper levels come with removable dividers. You can create up to 5 compartments in each of the upper trays, for holding smaller tools or parts, or remove the dividers to fit longer tools or supplies.
The Trusco tool box measures around 13.8″ wide x 6.3″ deep x 8.5″ tall, and has small handles.
There are other versions if you have needs, such as larger boxes with full-length handles.
When I wrote about a different Trusco product 9 years ago, this particular model was $84 at the only USA supplier I found. At the time of this posting, Amazon has it for $56 with free shipping, which seems quite good.
You can order Trusco tool boxes and other products from Amazon Japan, but the shipping costs can be painfully high.
Made in Japan
I have this box, and love it. I added 1/4” felt to the underside so that it would not scratch delicate surfaces.
For awhile, it was my main box for a light duty kit, but eventually, I found more efficient solutions for my purposes. Now, it holds my sewing kit.
I liked it so much, I’ve given a couple as gifts.
What’s your more efficient solution?
I tried a lot of bags, including some very good Husky bags with vertical pockets. 14” is the sweet spot imo for something you can pack to the brim with tools and not introduce back problems.
Two years ago, I cut up a CLC bucket organizer:
And fastened it into an LL Bean Hunters tote bag:
It holds a surprising amount of small hand tools vertically with room for a small tool pouch with belt, 12v drill, hardware organizer, gloves, and a compact box with adhesives, solvents, and cleaning supplies, etc. It’s discrete, zips completely shut for my city commute, and is waterproof for when I’m traveling by bike between installs.
Similar in capacity to my veto tech mct, but weighs less, and is easier to work out of, for me.
My around-the-house kit is in a toughbuilt 8” open tote, which is just about perfect for everything I grab frequently.
How did you fasten it inside without seriously compromising waterproofing? Im imagining adhesive being ineffective and sewing, riveting or similar leaving holes for water. Although holes could be sealed. I think something similar could be close to my perfect solution for me. I do have issue with the weight of veto bags, although theres a tradeoff for durability.
Ive looked and not seen the right construction of bag type and toolwall for my needs. Have considered modifying a bucket organizer like you did as a toolwall but havent invested the time and effort yet.
I made three prototypes, each are solid enough for general use. I used stainless steel marine snaps for canvas with a pres-n-snap tool to hang the pockets in a way that makes them removable for easy washing. The compression fit is very flush; I haven’t encountered any issues with moisture ingress, though I wouldn’t sit my bags in water.
Because the pockets are completely filled vertically, there is a fair amount of structure to the filled bag. On the current iteration, I added a 3/32”polypropylene sheet between the bag and the pockets as a stiffener. It works well, and I may stitch that into the pocket wall eventually.
I do have confidence in adhesives when using spec’ed adhesives and setting them with measured amounts of heat.
This bag is not 100% what I drew, but it’s 98% there, and I have been able to test the principles with far less expenditure than building multiple bags from scratch. I’m happy enough to have moved the project off the main burners.
Reminds me a bit of these.
I have one I use for my travel tool bag.
That’s brilliant! The standout feature to me is that it can open up or lay out, and the outside pocket is such a simple detail but sorely missed with my current setup.
Though I would have to dye it. Raw canvas is not a color that can last in my life.
I drew something very similar —thanks, I will have to try this out!
Reminds me of an Old Pal PF-4000 tackle box that I have squirrelled away somewhere.
Cantilever style toolboxes seems to show up in many European mechanics’ tool catalogs from folks like Bahco, Beta, Elora, Facom, Gedore, Hazet, Stahlwille and USAG. None seem to sell for what I’d call attractive prices.
A very similar looking one from Toyo Steel – sells for $24 more on Amazon – so the $56 price seems like it’s good.
Keter makes plastic cantilever tool boxes, available at Walmart, ~$25, 18.2″x 11.8″ x 9.7″ outside.
They probably also make the Husky Connect cantilever tool box, which stacks with other Husky connect boxes,~$32, 22″ x 12.28″ x 9.76″ outside.
So not as robust, but larger, cheaper, and lighter. Also, both of those cantilever to the back, not to the sides.
Toyo Steel is the OEM for Trusco. Not sure why there is such a price difference. Different distribution channels?
I have a few smaller Trusco boxes and really like them. They feel more compact for a given volume than plastic boxes, are pretty durable and, make great bases to stick a magnetic work light too.
I’ve added kaizen foam to both of mine. One’s a small 1/4” ratchet/socket kit. It can easily slid under a car seat. My other box is a bit bigger with a handle, still smaller than the cantilever box here, that I have setup for 3/8” drive.
Fun use for these: Rebuild as a Camp Barbeque.
These are well built, and make great fodder for rebuilding into pretty much anything. It’s an expensive thing to buy for this purpose, but if you’ve got them after they’ve been beat up a few years, and don’t need to look great anymore. I love when well-built things have more potential in the long run!
I use tackle boxes as tool boxes for lighter duty, or maybe utility box might be more accurate. Most have cantilever storage and the better ones have the lid flip all the way open to act as a stand so if you have anything heavy in the upper trays it won’t tip over. Some are even made with anti- rust materials to prevent rusting of contents. They are excellent storage for any smaller items prone to rust.
I would have loved a ZeRust tackle box.
When I was a kid – plastic was still not a big thing. So, steel tackle boxes were still what was available. I can remember coating a box inside with oil to try to stop the rust. That barely worked. When I took to surf fishing – I moved over to an Army Surplus gas mask bag.
“plastic was still not a big thing”…yes, because it cost a premium over steel or other materials.
Like my parents 1st house in 1965, wood floors were standard, carpeting was an extra (premium).
Glass (milk bottles), wood and steel were cheap…or cheaper, than relatively new production materials like plastic.
Yes – and my first house on a 50×100 lot was bought in 1964 for $24,000. I should have held onto it (just kidding) as I saw that it was sold last year for over $900,000.
Yes, in 1965 my father bought his house for $18,000, about a 6000 sq ft lot, 3 bedroom split level. Seems like yesterday.
What I do remember is that repairmen…for the TV, for washer/dryer and other appliances, and other service people, so many had cantilever tool boxes. Usually the big “barn” style toolbox.
Being a kid back then, I loved looking at these boxes and all the nooks and crannies the service people would use for tools or parts. When ever a repairman of any kind came to the house, I was glued to them, watching. Not to see they were honest, just my fascination with what they were doing.
When I was in my late teens, I bought my first toolbox. I can’t remember the brand, but it was blue with the “barn” style cover.
I filled it with my tools and then I tried picking it up…holy Cr*p! Years later I sold the box in a garage sale (which is too bad because it was very thick gauge steel), but I still have a love for Cantilever tool boxes.
In the early 2000’s, my son was working for an auto parts distributor and they had Hazet tools. He got me the Hazet 190L metal tool box at a big discount. It is in my truck with all kinds of tools to this day. Great box once I lubed the arm rivets.
I also bought a Durhand box acouple of years ago, looks a lot like this
I can’t speak for the one on the link, but the Durhand I bought is very thin gauge metal, about as thin as I have seen for a tool box.
About 2 months ago, I bought this
Both are plastic and will make great specialty boxes. The Torin in particular is for my Fein multi tool and all of the various cutters I have for it. My Fein came with a Systainer but once the tool and battery are in it, there is only room for a few cutters.
Anyway, although not always the most practical, and can also be quite heavy when loaded up, I have an unexplained love for cantilever boxes. (tackle boxes are OK but too light duty and also because lures can be small, they have too many small divisions)
I had seen this Trusco many times, just never had a reason to get it versus others. Knowing that it is made in Japan and Stuart’s article making it to be a good box, I will probably see about getting one in the coming weeks.
I built my wife a 3-tiered (5 compartment) cantilevered sewing box about 50 years ago. I remember buying the plans and working on it in my spare time. Made from thin sheets of walnut for the sides and tops – plus Luan for the bottoms. Probably cost more than what I could have bought one for – but it still looks good and gets a lot of use. It was a nice project for developing woodworking skills – and a step up from building jewelry boxes and bird houses. Today, you can probably find plans on the Internet.
Here’s a listing for the Old-Pal PF-4000 tackle box that I have:
Fine for plastic (used to be painted wood) lures – but fill it up with old metal (used to be tin and/or chrome plated lead) surf casting jigs – and the thing would be too heavy to carry.
I love the look of boxes like this. They’re very pretty. The problem is that I never find them practical.
It’s much easier to cram a soft-sided bag into the backseat of my truck without worrying about scratching something (the box or my vehicle). If you bump into something there’s a risk of dents. Unless you foam line them your tools tend to slide and clunk around inside. There’s only one carry option: the handle. I appreciate a shoulder strap. They don’t clip into anything like all the newer plastic mobile tool boxes…
Nevertheless, they’ve got charm. I really like all the cantilever hinges on the outside.
Maybe they’d make a good “project kit” box – or something like that where you don’t need to be really mobile or stuff them too full. Could be a useful first-aid supply container. Maybe just big enough for my soldering supplies?
The visual appeal is enough to make me want to find a good use, it’s just that I think all the modern-design tool bags and mobile boxes have eclipsed the utility of a box like this for most applications.
I picked up one of the Toyo brand of this same box a while back, it was in a more metallic green color. Near dead on color match for a really old jeep pickup my uncle had, so happy memories. It’s a nice box. AvE did a video on this a few years back too.
Dug up the link, they’ve gone up in price since I bought mine, but they offer them in 3 colors here. In case you absolutely must have it in either orange, green, or yellow.
Buying at MoMa will probably always be a bit more expensive since they add in a bit to support the museum and customers figure that their purchase is part donation.
For whatever reason – as other have noted the Trusco (rebadged Toyo) boxes do sell for less. The 3-Tier one is $57.64
it is, but the shipping bites you on a lot of these: shipping costs listed say an additional $75!
You can order directly from Toyo in Japan, here in the US, and sometimes work out the pricing (cheaper item, but shipping costs again high) so that it’s not terrible.
(but I also bought the one from the MoMA store, because I really wanted that green! I keep my electronics/soldering supplies in it.)
The trusco box is actually a little different vs the Toyo. The way they are able to open is different. Toyo’s way of opening being superior and actually worth the extra money… To me.
I’ve been looking at this for a while but can’t justify buying it just because I like neat Japanese tools.
This color blue reminds me of the Hazet tool boxes I’ve seen online. Walden and Giller also used blue, but in both cases it was a little darker.
The retro style would be perfect for older tool set storage.
I wonder if there is some tradition behind the color. When I was a kid my father had a steel tool box very similar to this, I don’t recall the maker but it was German, and it was about this same shade of blue.
I like the Toyo cantilever box better vs the trusco.
On the trusco, when you open the top lid, you have to open the cantilever. On the Toyo, you can open just the tip to access thing in that sides top compartment.
I know it’s just a little thing. But it’s a difference I appreciate.
It’s the difference between having to remove it from the car due to having to open it all the way and being able to just open the top lid and grab what you need while in the car, if it’s just in the top
Just a little thing… That is nice when it is raining
Looking closely at the Toyo and the Trusco on Amazon it looks to me that the only difference in the lids is an extra arm on the Trusco. Remove that extra arms (4 of them – 2 on each end) and I would bet the lid action would now work just like the Toyo. Yes you’d have a couple more holes, but the box (both of them) don’t appear to be water proof at all.
And if you look at the 3rd image on the Toyo page (on Amazon), the one with the tools in it, you see that it’s the Trusco not the Toyo.
When my two kids moved out of the house to their first apartments I bought them each a Bahco BH3149 cantilever tool box full of starter tools. I liked the Bahco better than the Trusco because it has one more drawer layer.