PLANS for a TOOL BOX
You can build this Tool Box!
This is a tool box suitable for safely carrying a Crafter’s most used tools: from project to project, or class to class— or even just room to room.
Using a design based on my 45 years of building, carrying, and breaking toolboxes, this design is based on the one I have carried for nearly 30 years, still holding up even after having been dropped off the back of a moving truck— unlike the previous 10 or so different designs which soon failed simply in daily use. In designing this tool box the objective was to build the lightest, strongest, most durable box, just big enough to get your most used tools in, yet not so big one person can’t lift it; a tool storage unit that will keep your tools readily accessible without having to dig through layers of tools and trays to find them..
Unlike an open tote, this chest fully encloses the tools minimizing damage from an inopportune rain shower or casual misappropriation (if you’ve ever been caught in a shower with an open tote tool box then you know EVERYTHING has to be pulled out, often disassembled, dried by hand, and the box thoroughly dried before you can use it again). And unlike the the classic “suitcase tool box” it’s based on, it doesn’t use a single top handle to be carried, which can strain your back, or hand or shoulder; and it places all the weight of the box on the corner joints, often leading to its early demise. This one has comfortable cutouts on both ends to evenly distribute the weight when carrying.
The top is clean and flat (no handle there!) with the case both open and closed and can be used as a work surface, say for sawing, if need be, without interfering with access. It is potentially modular, able to be stacked. There are cutouts to reduce weight in instead of weighty knobs or handles or protuberances to add weight or snag and break. It uses a system of pullout-trays to organize your tools, which fully pullout to expose its contents, with a larger well below suitable for handplanes, drills or the occasional power tool, and the fall flap provides significant area for the storage of handsaws, coping saws, jewelers saws, Japanese saws and a full size (16” x 24”) framing square, as well as a Japanese framing square, with a place below for a 24” level, or a straight edge, or set of winding sticks for instance,
While I first designed it with the woodworker and carpenter in mind, this storage system also works well for storing tools of other crafts (for instance jewelry, knitting, crocheting, embroidery), as well as collections (such knives, and the materials required to maintain them).
The construction of this case has specific considerations as the dynamics of carrying and moving a case carrying weight has requirements different from standard casework joinery (hint: tiny London pattern dovetails won’t work here!). The case uses a variegated box joint often found on Tansu cases, which can be cut by hand and there are instruction for making a router template for the cutting the joint with a router. The joints are reinforced with a pattern of copper or aluminum nails, or wood nails or dowel pins. The trays use a drawer lock joint formed on the table saw, with bottoms glued on for both space saving and strength. The fall flap uses a continuous piano hinge for durability; detailed drawings show how to install that. The latch is custom made from hobby store brass stock to be discreet, un-protrusive, and easily made and is detailed in the drawings and instructions. There are hardwood skids on the bottom to protect the case from damage from being skidded across the floor.
Plans for the TOOL BOX include a set of 3 - 24” x 36” sheets with half size plans and full size detailed drawings, 16 pages of illustrated instructions, a 3 page material list, and a 3 page cut list.
Note: plans for the saw till on the fall flap are not included!