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Toolbox, continued



Truck Gear



Long before lasers, the water level helped build the pyramids — the low-tech tool has some definite advantages over expensive laser levels. Besides saving you $200 or more, water levels work around corners and never need recalibration. Electronic models like Zircon's WL 25 Pro sound a tone to indicate level, so you can use it by yourself, even when you can't see the other end of the tube. The WL 25 has some improvements over previous models, including an adjustable wall bracket that holds everything stationary while you tug at its 25 feet of tubing, and better feedback that indicates when you're higher than the reference point. For larger projects, you can use it with up to 150 feet of garden hose. It costs about $40.


Zircon Corporation


Wood Is Good.

Hardwood levels have a beauty and impact resistance that's tough for an aluminum extrusion to match. Stanley's brassbound FatMax levels have reinforced rubber end caps and thicker glass covers on the vials for better impact resistance. Hermetically sealed bezels protect the vials from moisture and fogging. The 4-foot model has a foldout, flush-mounted rafter hook that keeps the level within arm's reach and prevents falls. The 2-foot FatMax sells for $50; the 4-footer sells for $70.




Expansion Pack.

Levelution's System Level includes two 2-foot levels and a 4-foot level that can be combined to make a 6- or 8-foot level. Sections are joined with high-strength alignment plates and large easy-to-use knobs. The levels also feature "keyed inserts" that receive removable accessories like rafter hooks and magnets. WoodTacs are one of the coolest accessories. These little pins lock into the keyed inserts and can be driven into beams and headers for hands-free leveling or into sheet goods to create a saw guide or straightedge. The vials are adjustable. The 8-foot system level with a padded case goes for about $275. The WoodTacs sell for $32.





Higher Level.

The telescopic Plate Level from Stabila makes plumbing even the tallest walls easier. The level is now available in three sizes: 5 to 7 feet, 6 to 10 feet, and 7 to 12 feet. Stand-offs on the side and bottom prevent warped lumber or debris on the floor from producing a bad reading. As with other Stabila levels, the vials are set in acrylic blocks and epoxied into the housing, making adjustments unnecessary, according to the manufacturer. Prices start at $210.





Tamper-Resistant Storage.

With aluminum that's 40% thicker than what's used for most cross-over boxes, the Seal-Tite Storage Box from Deflecta Shield promises greater security. Two permanent aluminum trays and a removable tool tray keep little stuff from sinking to the bottom, and a three-position lock resists prying and tampering. The self-opening lid has a high-dome shape for greater strength and weather resistance. Prices start at $400.


Deflecta Shield


Paper Organizer.

For many builders and remodelers, the front seat of a pickup is the home office, and things can get a little disorganized. The Cab Commander from Duluth Trading is a heavy-duty nylon organizer that fits over the passenger seat's headrest and provides plenty of pockets for organizing papers and other office essentials. The bag is secured with 11/2-inch nylon webbing, which doubles as a shoulder strap. A side-squeeze buckle makes installation and removal easy. The bag sells for $30.


Duluth Trading Company


Smooth Move.

The secret to Slide System's line of toolboxes, racks, and truck accessories is a special aluminum channel mounted on the bed rail. The boxes and racks can then be positioned anywhere in the bed, and removal is much easier. After unloading the day's materials, the box can be slid to the tailgate for easy access during the rest of the workday. The drill-free system uses the stake pockets for mounting, and the low-profile design means that you can use the system with bed covers, racks, and toppers from other manufacturers. It sells for $1,028.


Slide Systems


Pull-Out Toolbox.

Truck caps are great, but climbing inside one to retrieve tools or material every day is tough on the knees and back. A better way to get at your stuff is with an Extendo-Bed System. It operates something like a full-extension drawer slide and provides easy access to the farthest reaches of the bed. Latches prevent getting run over when you open the tailgate on a grade, and the design can be customized depending on your needs. The model shown costs about $2,000, plus shipping.


Extendo Bed