Toolbox to go
With more and more producers working land farther and farther from home, many pickup truck beds are acting as portable shops. But jumping in and out of the bed to get tools gets old fast.
David Hamann, Luverne, Minnesota, knows only too well what it's like to repeatedly jump on and off the bed of a pickup to gather his gear.
“When I went out on farm calls, I'd need to climb in and out of the bed every time I had to grab a tool,” he says. “I also have a stock trailer, and I always had to remove my toolbox to hook it up.”
To make these matters more convenient, he created a device that allows his toolbox to move from the back to the front of his vehicle with very little effort.
“I invented a toolbox rail system for easier access to my tools,” he says. “I designed the one that's on my truck so it would fit underneath my tonneau cover.”
He says the best part is when the cover is closed; you don't even know his tools are in the box.
“I also set it up high enough so it will clear my fifth-wheel plate,” Hamann says.
With about $50 worth of materials invested in the project, Hamann says the hardest part about the whole process was devising a way to make his idea a reality.
“It took me more time to decide how I was going to do it than it took to actually build it,” he says.
The system is made of a 2-inch channel, and he used pilot bearings for rollers, so it rolls down the channel more easily. And because the bearings are sealed, there's little to no maintenance.
The platform is made of 1-inch square tubing, and Hamann built the framework around the toolbox.
All in all, it took him about three to four hours to install and to get things set properly so the toolbox would easily roll down the rail.
“What I like best about it is that it rolls so easily back and forth without straining my back. Even with 500 pounds of tools, it rolls fairly easily back and forth,” Hamann says. “It floats right down the rail. Once I get it rolling, I can move it with one or two fingers.”
Locks in place
Whether the toolbox is at the tailgate end of the pickup bed or by the cab, Hamann wanted to make sure it would stay where he put it. So he included a bonus feature.
“For safety, it locks into the rail when it is in position,” he says. “I have pins I pull out so I can roll it. When I get it where I want it, I can lock the pins in place through the channel so it stays secure.”
The system will accommodate most toolboxes. Hamann says the pickup truck isn't the only place where this device works well. “It's also great for other trucks or vans,” he says.
“I've had the rail system on my pickup for over two years now, and I really enjoy using it. It saves my back a lot!” he says.
Hamann is interested in marketing his product. He does say his concept is simple enough, however, that others could easily build their own.