How to Fix a Dented Aluminum Toolbox

A trucker’s investment in aluminum toolboxes can be pretty significant. High-quality aluminum trailer toolboxes can run you upwards of $500 or more. The last thing you want is an accident that leaves dents in one of your boxes. But things happen.

So, what do you do if a toolbox is dented? First, you don’t panic. There is a possibility you could remove that dent easily and without any further damage.

The following post provides a suggestion of how you could possibly fix a dented aluminum toolbox. Bear in mind that Mytee Products offers no guarantee that this procedure will work 100% effectively or that you will still be able to use your toolbox afterward. Also, please bear in mind that you need to be extremely careful when you are trying a quick fix to get a dent out and you have no other options. Otherwise, you might have to look for a suitable replacement.

 

 

All About Heat and Force
Aluminum is a very pliable metal that is easily dented. A wayward forklift or a poor backing job can easily dent a toolbox in seconds. The keys to getting the dent out are heat and force.

If you search online, you may come across recommendations that include pounding away on the tool box with a hammer. You do need the force of a hammer, but what you don’t need are brute force and to keep hammering away at the tool box to repair it. A few strokes of a hammer could do the job quickly if the dent isn’t deep.

However, if the dent is too deep for a hammer you could make your life a lot easier if you heat the metal with a blowtorch for as little as 2-3 minutes. Heating the aluminum will also reduce the chances of breaking welds or cracking the metal at the site of the dent.

Take a blowtorch and gradually heat up the metal at the site of the dent – and maybe a half inch all the way around. Once the metal is hot, begin gently tapping and with a hammer to see how it responds. Gradually increase the force of the hammer until you start pushing the dent out. You may or may not have to continue heating as you hit the metal. It all depends on how severe the dent is.

Before we proceed any further, we want to reiterate that you need to be extremely careful while following this method of fixing a dent. You do not want to damage your tool box.

What you absolutely want to avoid is continually heating and cooling the aluminum. This will cause unnecessary stress that could make the problem worse. It is better to keep a low flame going while you are pounding out the dent than having to reheat the metal numerous times.

Once the dent is out, you’ll need to inspect the metal for any cracks or broken welds. Depending on how serious a broken weld is, you may have to take the box to a welder for additional repairs. If the break is minor, you can use a brazing rod to repair it. Brazing rods also do wonders for cracks occurring at the site of the original dent.

Why Try to Fix a Dent?

Now that you’ve read our simple procedure for fixing dented tool boxes, you might have two questions at the back of your mind; a) as a supplier of tool boxes, why would we want to offer a solution and b) why a trucker would bother to fix a dent over just buying a new one. Well, it comes down to a few things; firstly, we want to offer our customers solutions to make their life on the road easier. Secondly, being on the road constantly doesn’t give truck drivers to option of just making a pit stop in the middle of the road and buying a new box that fits perfectly. Last but definitely not the least is space. The amount of storage on an 18-wheeler is limited to the number of available toolboxes installed on the rig.

Truck drivers have to fill their tool boxes with an endless supply of items ranging from bungee straps to tarps to hand tools and spare parts. Any experienced truck driver will tell you that there never seems to be enough storage space. Seeing that space is at a premium, truckers cannot afford dents in their toolboxes as it results in wasted space.

A small dent or wear over time may be fine, but larger dents that prevent the trucker from storing items they absolutely need to be there are no good.


How to Build a Quick Hay Storage System

There are lots of different ways to store hay using tarps. In this post, we will outline the steps for building a quick and dirty hay storage system that will keep your hay safe and dry without the need for a permanent structure like a pole barn or garage.

Bear in mind that this description is just a general guide. You may want to modify what you read here to better suit your circumstances. Also remember your main goal: to protect hay from the elements so as to reduce spoilage as much as possible. Unprotected hay can suffer spoilage rates of up to 20%, making for significant losses in an exceptionally bad season.

To build your quick and dirty hay storage system, you will need hay tarps, rope, and PVC piping. Spiral anchor pins are optional if you would rather stake down the tarp rather than running rope under the bales of hay.

One last thing before we get to the build: depending on how you build your system the hay storage system designed here work best with round bales and square bales stacked in a pyramid. Use your own discretion when building your system.

Step-By-Step Process

The first step is to measure out the storage space. A 28-foot tarp should be good for 70-75 bales of hay stacked in a pyramid configuration. You can place the first layer directly on the ground or lay down some gravel first, it’s up to you. Most farmers just go straight to the ground.

Once your storage space has been measured out, lay ropes across the space at 3 foot intervals. You will eventually be pulling these ropes up and using them to secure your tarp, so leave some excess. Now you are ready to begin stacking your hay right on top of the rope.

When stacking is complete, you are going to lay PVC pipe across the top of the stack to prevent the tarp from directly contacting the hay. This is important for allowing air flow to move over the top of the stack. If you don’t do this, you could get moisture build up that could promote mold or mildew growth in the top few inches of the pyramid.

Next, stretch your tarp out on the ground. With someone to help you, you can now lift the outside edge and pull the tarp up and over the entire stack. Do your best to center the tarp before tying it down. Also, do not worry too much if the tarp seems a bit too small. It’s better to have less tarp to work with than too much.

Next, string the ropes through grommets in the tarp and tie everything off. Your ropes should have enough tension to keep the tarp taught. The lower edge of the tarp should be positioned just slightly lower than the widest point of the stack in order to allow rain to run off.

Lastly, insert PVC pipe where the tarp makes contact with the first layer of hay. The tarp should already have enough tension to hold the pipe in place. The idea here is to replicate what you did at the top of the stack: keeping the tarp from making direct contact with the hay.

After Installation

If you did everything correctly, you should have a complete stack of hay properly covered and secured against the elements. After installation though, it is important to check the tension of the ropes every week or so. Your haystack will settle somewhat, so you will need to tighten the ropes throughout the storage season.

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The Real Value of Corner and Edge Protectors

Corner and edge protectors represent a rather insignificant investment on the part of the flatbed truck. They cost a lot less than tarps, winch straps, and just about all the other cargo control supplies you might purchase. They certainly cost less than paying for damaged cargo. However, the real value in corner edge protectors is not found in the retail price. It is found in what they do for the truck driver.

Just to be clear, corner and edge protectors are used to eliminate direct contact between cargo and tarps and, when necessary, other pieces of cargo. They can be made of steel, plastic, or rubber. Mytee Products carries 14 different options in a variety of styles, materials, and colors.

Edge Protectors Save You Money

The first thing corner and edge protectors do for the truck driver is save money. How so? Remember, truck drivers are responsible for the integrity of their loads from the moment of pick up until the time of unloading. If anything arrives damaged, the driver could be financially liable.

Flatbed truckers commonly carry cargo insurance for their own protection. But keep in mind that insurance rates stay low only if the driver does not make any claims. By investing a small amount in corner and edge protectors, drivers are reducing the likelihood of damaged cargo that could result in an insurance claim. They are keeping their insurance rates as low as possible at the same time. That saves money.

Corner Protectors Protect the Driver’s Reputation

As a flatbed trucker, you may not run into too many shippers willing to mandate the use of corner and edge protectors. Yet they still expect you to take good care of the cargo you are being entrusted with. Don’t you think shippers are paying attention to what you do? Of course they are.

When shippers and receivers know a truck driver voluntarily uses corner and edge protectors, they think more highly of that driver. It goes without saying that a driver’s reputation to protect cargo is improved with every effort taken to properly protect cargo. Furthermore, drivers with good reputations for cargo control get the most lucrative loads more often.

Edge Protectors Reduce Driver Anxiety

You can value your edge and corner protectors in dollars and cents simply by keeping track of how much money you spend on them. But those little pieces of plastic and metal can do something for you that cannot be valued in terms of money: they can greatly reduce or completely eliminate your anxiety.

Anxiety over protecting cargo is part and parcel with flatbed trucking. Preventing damage is always at the back of the trucker’s mind, as it should be. But why be more anxious than you need to be? Better yet, why be anxious at all? If you use corner and edge protectors the way they are supposed to be used, the risk of damage from contact with other surfaces is minimal. So is the risk of damage from road vibration.

Purchase Your Corner Protectors from Mytee

The amount of money you invest in an ample supply of corner and edge protectors is relatively minor compared to what you invest in other cargo control supplies. In light of that, there really is no valid reason to not have edge and corner protectors in your toolbox. We recommend a variety of options including steel protectors with chain slots, elongated v-board edge protectors, plastic tarp protectors, and rubber corner protectors.

Before you decide to purchase your next round of corner and edge protectors, browse our inventory. We have everything you need at very reasonable prices.


3 Ways to Temporarily Install Shade Tarps

Most of the tarps we sell at Mytee Products are intended for use by truck drivers looking to protect the cargo they transport. Yet, we also carry a couple of other kinds of tarps as well. Among them are shade mesh tarps available in black and green. Construction companies often use shade tarps to create privacy screening around building sites. As a truck driver and homeowner, you could use shade tarps around the house for several reasons.

In this post, we will describe three ways to install shade tarps for temporary use. In every case, the point is to provide a level of shade. Installations are temporary in nature because the idea is to take the tarps down just before winter weather hits. You are really only trying to provide shade during the hot summer months.

Method #1 – Using Trees or Structures

Let’s say you want to install a shade tarp to park your truck under during your two-week summer vacation. Some truckers do this to prevent excessive heat buildup while they are away. In either case, you need to get the tarp up high enough to accommodate the height of your tractor. Tent poles are probably not going to be suitable for this situation.

The easiest way to accomplish this idea, is to string the tarp between trees or building structures on your property. Just tie a rope to each of the four corners and away you go. The only tricky component to this installation is determining the right tie down locations without having to run ropes too far. The longer the ropes, the more difficult it will be to maintain good tension.

A suggestion is to pull your truck up next to a garage or barn with trees nearby. You could attach one end of the tarp to the structure and the other ends to a couple of trees.

Method #2 – A-Frame Installation

The second method of installation is one that campers use all the time for erecting tarps above their tents. It is known as A-frame installation because you are creating a shape similar to an A-frame house. It is simple to do, so it’s pretty effective for a lot of different uses.

To begin with, string a piece of rope between two trees or structures near the area you want shaded. Next, lay the tarp over the rope exactly where you want it. Finally, secure the tarp with additional ropes and stakes driven into the ground. You now have an A-frame shade structure that you can sit under, park your bicycles under, etc.

Method #3 – 4-Pole Installation

To create a shaded sitting area, there is no better installation than the 4-pole installation. For this installation, you just need four tent poles, a sturdy rope, and a few stakes. You can make your own tent poles pretty easily if you don’t already own them.

Installation is a simple matter of placing a tent pole at each of the four corners, attaching a rope to each pole, then pulling the ropes till they are taut and staking them down. For extra structural integrity, you can add more poles around the perimeter or just stake the tarp directly to the ground with rope.

The beauty of this installation is that you can set the height of your shade tarp as you desire. If you want it higher, you can go as high as your tent poles allow.
Shade tarps make great temporary shelters from the hot, summer sun. Mytee Products is happy to carry both black and green shade tarps in nearly a dozen different sizes.


Tips for Getting Better Use from Great Ratchet Straps

Ratchet straps are among the most important tools used by flatbed truckers. They keep cargo secure from point A to point B, sometimes in concert with chains, tarps, and bungee straps. Mytee Products carries a complete inventory of ratchet straps and cargo control equipment from well-known manufacturers.

The ratchet straps you buy from us are already top-of-the-line quality. But we have a few tips for getting better use out of them. With a little care and attention, you can extend the life of your straps.

Regularly Lubricate Ratchets

While the material used to make the straps is not bothered by weather, ratchets are. The best way to keep ratchets in good working order is to regularly lubricate them with a lithium grease. This is the same product auto mechanics use to lubricate car parts because it holds up very well even under extreme temperatures. It will wash away after time, which is why you need to apply regularly.

The key with lubrication is to hit all the moving parts. It doesn’t take much, either. Just a little spritz and a few seconds to work it in will keep everything working even on the coldest of days.

Thread from Underneath

When threading ratchets with new strap material, always run the strap from underneath the ratchet rather than over the top. This results in the short end being on the top while the main portion of the strap is below. Physics dictates the straps will slip a lot more easily when disengaged if threaded this way.

Leave Plenty of Room for Ratchet Extension

When tying down a load, keep in mind that the ratchet has to be extended beyond the gear teeth to release the tension pin that keeps the strap in place under load. It is a wise idea to leave enough space under the ratchet to be able to reach underneath and fully extend the ratchet to release it. If you do not leave enough space to pull down on the ratchet and fully extend it, you will have trouble releasing the strap to unload.

Do Not Let Extra Strap Hang Loose

Sometimes you have loads that are not tall enough to require the full length of your ratchet straps. So what do you do with the excess strap material? Truck drivers have all sorts of tricks for dealing with it. The one thing you do not want to do is let the excess strap hang loose. Loose strap flapping in the wind risks cargo damage and shortens the life of the strap material.

Some truck drivers roll the excess strap and then bind it with a bungee cord. Others tie a series of knots and tuck any remaining strap in under the tense part of the strap, or even under a tarp. Still others use a looping technique that utilizes the excess strap to secure it. There are dozens of ways to do it.

Our final tip is something that every truck driver should already be doing. Ratchet straps are tough and reliable, and are subject to wear and tear just like anything else. Therefore, it’s very important that truck drivers inspect their straps on a regular basis. Any strap showing signs of wear or tear needs to be addressed immediately. If you do not check your straps routinely, rest assured that roadside inspectors will.

Mytee products is here to serve you and your needs as a truck driver. We are your one-stop choice for ratchet straps, truck tarps, bungee cords, and everything else you need to do your job.