Tool Tote #1: The tool box


Following on from the last project, yet another commission came my way from the self-same chap who commissioned the Biltong Slicer, the Treasure Chest, and the Jewelry Box. This time it was a gift for his son and my remit was virtually non-existent – carte blanche you might say. In the end I settled upon a tool tote, because I know that the lad enjoys dirt bike racing, and would need a stout receptacle in which to store spanners and sockets and pliers and such.


My design was fairly simple: a dovetail box with a single divider, and a handle consisting of two supports connected to the box and a large dowel. I began by selecting timber and settled on ash for the main box and handle, and walnut for the divider and handle supports.


The usual dimensioning followed (reference face, referance edge, opposite edge, opposite face, ends) and then I could move onto laying out for the dovetails.

Tails first…

…then the pins…

…and finally, a dry fit to check that all was well.

Which it was.


Next, I moved on to the base, and here I had to edge-joint two boards together.

Whilst they were drying, I turned my attention to the divider. After preparing the board, I cut some housing dados in the end panels of the tool box.

Then, I started work on the handle supports. Made from walnut, these supports are designed to lap the ends of the box (see above diagram) and extend up to support the handle. After dimensioning them, I marked out for the final shape, removed the necessary material for the lap joints…

…and then drilled out the mortise holes.

Finally, I turned a piece of ash for the handle.

I decided to dry fit the box using screws to hold the handle supports in place. The screws will be replaced with dowels at the glue up stage.


The dry fit went very well, everything fitting together nicely, but something felt wrong. Even allowing for the fact that the base was not there, and the divider was not yet fitted, still, something was amiss.

At this point I began to think about a design alteration, but I’ll cover that in the next post.

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