Have you ever thought about making your own DIY ATV toolbox?
For the better part of 2 months I struggled keeping my chainsaw and other wildlife management tools and gear together when I went out on my ATV. Chainsaw, files, gas, oil, rope and pulleys, helmet, glasses, axe, tree saw, gloves, etc…were continually in the wrong spot or falling off my ATV as I rode the trails on our property.
At times I would be using a chainsaw hinge cutting a few trees and not have my rope to place the tree where I wanted. I went to the internet to search for a box or tool kit that would work. The ones I found were either too expensive or did not meet my needs. So, I decided I had had enough and was going to design and build my own tool box to fit on the rear rack of my ATV that way I could customize to fit my needs.
The box requirements were simple, 1) hold and secure a chainsaw, gas, oil and tool bag, hold a helmet, glasses and chainsaw chaps, 2) a place where I could have easy access to ropes and pulleys for hinge cutting trees and skidding, 3) serve as a chainsaw service station for sharpening and cleaning 4) hold a tool bag and gloves, 5) be inexpensive to build and 6) it could box could be put on the ATV and removed quickly and easily.
With those requirements in mind, I began the project by determining the size of my rear ATV rack and what were my mounting options. I decided to keep the box within the footprint of the ATV and not extend it over the tires on either side. I also decided that I wanted to maintain the ease of getting on and off my ATV and not burden the rider. This would not be a concern if you are using a side-by-side ATV, but I still have a “4-wheeler”. Why, I like that ability to get through tight spaces that many of the side-by-sides can’t go and my kids love it – now back to the box.
Building My DIY ATV Toolbox
I started with my measurements and laid it out on a 4×4 sheets of ¾ inch plywood. Then I brought in all my tools and accessories and laid them out on the cut-out base. I outlined with an inch of space surrounding the item with a pencil and had my footprint. I then began cutting the sides, rear and divider pieces based on the penciled in tool compartments. I used wood glue and 2 ½ inch wood screws to secure each piece.
I built the box from the outside-in adding the sides and rear pieces for support and then gluing and screwing the dividers through the bottom and through the outside of each piece for stability and support. I did add the chainsaw portion first and for added stability, I used a full length outside board and inside board. As I added each divider, I placed the item it was designed to hold in the box to verify it fit and nothing had too much play. Once all the pieces were in place and all the items were fitted, I made my marks for securing the box to the ATV.
I bolted the box to the rack in two spots – one on each side – due to the miles of traveling abuse the box would see over time. After drilling through the box and the rack, I used two 5/8 inch bolts with lock washer and nut to mount the box. Once mounted, I tested the ATV to see if there was any rattling or play in the box or rack.
Mounting and un-mounting was also still very easy. The boxes final requirement was to serve as a chainsaw field maintenance center.
To meet the chainsaw sharpening requirement, I needed a slit in the rear of the box (my chainsaw is larger than the rack so the bar had to stick out some direction and I choose the rear. That would allow for easy sharpening. I used the chainsaw itself to cut the slit in the rear of the box in the chainsaw cubby.
The bar sticks out about 6 inches when the handle is against the front wall with a 20 inch bar and I get about 18 inches of bar when the saw is slid to the rear for touching up the chain while sharpening. The slit keeps the bar from moving during sharpening and allow me to rotate the chain to sharpen each tooth.
As safety is a key component of using the ATV, it should be noted that I did modify the ATV from the manufacturing specifications. I assumed the risk of modifying my ATV. It does not change the handling of the ATV nor has it caused any issues; however, anyone taking on this project should consider the rider’s safety while modifying his or her ATV.
The box has been on and off the ATV for 5 months now and I love it. It keeps my stuff together on or off the ATV. Having the gas, oil and other items in reach makes servicing the chainsaw easy. Sharpening is a breeze and allows me to keep a consistent edge on the chain.
I have traveled over 20 miles with my gear in some fairly rough terrain, clearing trails, hinge cutting bedding areas or just cutting firewood. The cool thing about it is it cost me less than $30 when you consider the plywood, glue, bolts and screws and it is customizable to fit your needs.
The only downside for me was that I didn’t do this sooner!