Beyond the Bantam: The Rolla-Bench

When you embark upon a project, and you do so in your own work space, you usually realize how many tools you have been borrowing to make your dreams a reality.  As you slowly enlarge your tool collection, you realize that your original tool box isn’t going to really work any more.

When I started the Sportsman project, I was doing so in a remote work space.  While I have a great Craftsman traveling set, which has paid for itself time and again, I also left an empty tool box with the Bantam.  I first claimed that box when I was around 5, and I have clung to it ever since.  While my primary tool box is well kept and stocked, I started with the bare bones of this red box and the duplicates from my better set.  Fast forwarding two years of a build and I have a tool section on a shelf.  It’s the place where tool go to be near the tool box that should contain them.  To say finding everything when you need it is a chore, is an understatement.

Now, I’ve always been a fan of Snap On boxes.  They are very nice units.  While most other companies give you a metal box with drawers, Snap On figured out how to do it with a little pizazz.  Years ago, I was hunting for a K-537 top box.


I always enjoyed the idea of having the fold down door and opening door which hides the small drawers.  After years of searching and realizing that they are usually phenomenally expensive, I went for a scratch and dent Craftsman set.  Strangely, I have a red top box and a gray bottom box.

The remote shop is small and I only have a small bench, which is really a work bench top on a set of shelves.  After searching for a K-60, the coolest Snap on box ever built, I stumbled onto something quite cool, the k-300.


The above photo is a K-60, which is on ebay.  The seller is asking $1,750 which is half of what some people have paid for just the top box.  This is cool, but it’s a bit rich for my blood.  To see the listing, click here: K-60

Back to the K-300, I found it on ebay by accident.  These were introduced in the late 40’s as a “rolla bench” a tool box / bench which you could roll to what ever car you were working on.  They had drawers, a work surface, a light, power outlets, and a roll down door to make sure your draws didn’t open and spill their chrome bounty onto the ground.


Yesterday, my rolla-bench finally came and I have to decide whether I want to clean it up and refinish it or just stuff my tools in it and get back to the Sportsman.  Either way, I’m excited to have a tidy home for all my tools.  Here it is in it’s heavily patina’ed glory:



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