Sliding Lid, Japanese Inspired Toolboxes #1: Preparation

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Blog entry by FoundSheep posted 05-03-2017 12:50 PM 1462 reads 0 times favorited 2 comments Add to Favorites Watch
no previous part Part 1 of Sliding Lid, Japanese Inspired Toolboxes series Part 2: Cutting and Planing »

I’ve been woodworking as a “serious hobbyist” for about a year and a half now. Prior to then I had a few hand power tools and generic hand tools; and these I fit into either the tool bags that came with them or in a cardboard box. But when I started getting more interested, and especially as I started practicing more hand tool specialization, I recognized the need for a better storage system for my better tools.

So I upgraded to a large plastic bin.

A temporary solution, assuredly. My new interest coincided with reading Christopher Schwarz, so naturally I had interests building his anarchists tool chest. But time and other projects got in the way (the workbench is an ongoing and different story), and so the plastic bin hung around while I gathered more tools. But a move is in my future, and I wanted to get serious about having a serious tool box, both for transportation and for storage and organization afterwards.

A full tool chest would take too long, so I wanted something quicker but still strong. I had seen another style of tool box, modeled after a Japanese example, which has been built by other woodworkers both here and elsewhere. I saw the Schwarz example first, but for a particularly nice one with a drawer, check out (Mafe's) build here on LJ .

I started my build design by both looking at examples on Google Images, and determining what I wanted/needed from this build. Some of the best examples I saw had a few details such as through and proud tenons rather than proud finger joints, and looking from the end the width was greater than the height. These dimensions would later determine what I would or would not fit inside, and the length
would be determined by my specific tools.

Gathering all these points together, I started sketching in my notebook and estimating values. To make it easy, I’d keep the widest board to a 1×12; maybe I could have tried a different design with a tongue and grooved or shiplapped bottom, but I don’t have the necessary planes yet. This width restriction meant the inital idea of stacking planes then a good sized til then the saws on the lid, along with the outer casing, would be taller than wider; not good. But I needed better information before I could finalize the dimensions. And I found the best approach was to get some scrap paper and the tools I was using, and start laying them out.

The picture does not fully convey how many times I went about rearranging and stacking tools, imaging a tool box out of the simple paper outline. But the end result would be not one but three tool boxes. One for my planes/hammers/saws, one for my brace/drill/bits, and one for my layout tools.

And with the dimensions worked out, I figured out how much lumber I’d need. A good lesson I have leraned is to figure out what to pick up at the lumber store if I was buying different sizes: each 3”, 4”, 6”, 8”, and 12” board separately, or what just 12” boards would look like. And with that plan in place, it was off to the store.

-- -Will, FoundSheep Designs

2 comments so far

View JADobson's profile


1449 posts in 2998 days

#1 posted 05-03-2017 04:53 PM

Nice – I just finished a japanese tool box. You can see it in my projects. I really like these boxes and find them very handy. A single 12’ 1”x12” was all I needed for mine.

-- No craft is very far from the line beyond which is magic. -- Lord Dunsany — Instagram @grailwoodworks

View FoundSheep's profile


196 posts in 1343 days

#2 posted 05-05-2017 01:24 PM

Thanks JADobson, I checked out yours and I really like the nails. I agree, definitely handy to have around.

I’ll be posting the second part later today, it’s a lot of fun to get into this project and have something useful come out of it!

-- -Will, FoundSheep Designs

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