Making a toolbox

I wanted to make a small tool box for lugging odds and ends to the job site. The objective was that it should carry a set of chisels and a couple of saws with room for other hand tools. This isn’t for fine woodworking, but rather for general fixing of things. This toolbox would be accompanied by a set of battery powered tools so that I could take care of the majority of tasks likely to be met around a house.

So, the box had to be one chisel high and one saw long. A 1×12 would do the task. The box was designed to be about 12″ deep. I actually modeled this box in Sketchup before starting and it pretty much matched up.


I bought a 1×12. About 8′ I think. The top and bottom and any mouldings would be made from scraps.

The 1×12 was way out of whack. To put it back in whack I had to plane a twist and a bow out of it. When this was done, the board was more like 1/2″ thick, instead of the 3/4″ it was to start. Fine by me, as it would be lighter.


On to dovetailing the corners. I think this was my second go at cutting dovetails and they’re a bit rough. Good job this not fine furniture.


All the joints came together though. I put one clamp per tail on each corner.


With the joints glued up for the night, I took the carcase to the vise and planed the outside of each joint so that nothing was sticking proud.


Next I ripped up some wood to make mouldings for a skirt around the base of the box and for around the lid. The lid itself was just a sheet of plywood cut to size. The base too is plywood just nailed on.

Here I am marking the edge of the skirt for where I want to put on a chamfer. I dovetailed each moulding too for strength.


This is the box as it looks now after being schlepped in and out of the trunk of a car for a couple of months.


I painted the box with two coats of navy colored latex paint. The hardware was bought at the local big box store and dipped in hydrochloric acid to strip the zinc off so there’s just raw steel. I think I did put wax over everything: metal and wood.

Here is a pic of the bottom. Just a nailed-on sheet of ply with a couple of pine runners to keep the box out of the wet.


I made a lift-out tray I made for the box. It is just plywood shaped and glued and screwed together.


The handle was a piece of wood I ripped down square and rounded the ends with a plane. I planed the corners along the handle too so it is slightly octagonal in cross-section in the middle and round towards the end. I drilled out holes at each end of the handle and nailed in pegs to hold it from coming back out of the tray.

toolbox10 toolbox11

The tray sits on rails that are screwed into the walls of the box. To the back is a rack for chisels and some screwdrivers. I will probably drill out some more holes for screwdrivers. I probably could have put the chisels in a roll, but I wanted to try out a rack and I find rolls are bulky in themselves.

In the middle there’s a saw till for the rip saw I showed in the first photo along with a 12″ Atkins back saw, a 10″ “dovetail” saw and a square. Thrown in there with them is sharpening stone that I have in a ziplock bag to keep it from getting oil all over everything.

The front compartment is free for bulky stuff like hammers, oversized screwdrivers, a couple of clamps, speed square etc. The tray is for smaller tools.


Here it is full loaded up.


And finally, next to the box of tools that stay at home.



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