Hand made tool box - my first ever project

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Project by Neil posted 05-04-2009 02:54 AM 8697 views 2 times favorited 21 comments Add to Favorites Watch

This is my first woodworking project by hand. Took a class with a local cabinet maker who teaches everything by hand. This started as rough lumber (poplar & maple) and everything had to be re-sawn by hand, planed and joined by hand. Not a power tool in sight. I had to learn hand drilling, sharpening, sawing, planing and joinery. Getting everything square was really difficult and learning the joinery was tricky too. Getting the side and end pieces 4-square was a killer. I must build a shooting board!

I opted for a through dovetails for the corners and a through wedged mortise and tenon for the centre handle. I used some old domestic spalted maple for the thick veneer on the handle and also the wedges in the tenon. It was lying around and so I thought I’d make use of it. I book matched it and it feels good to grip. The handle I made to fit my hand and rasped it out and finished with some french files.

The hardest thing was probably re-sawning the base by hand. It came form a piece an inch thick and I needed a piece only about a quarter inch thick. Once I hand sawn it then I used winding sticks and a smoothing plane to get it square. Getting anything square is a dark art in my opinion. But hardest is relative – I’m a complete novice and so cutting accurate pressure fit joints took some practice!! In short nothing was easy, i made a hundred mistakes but it was all great fun. I realized that the project was about the journey and not so much the end product but actually I’m quite please with the end result too.

Finished in oil and then wax – just applied last coat today. Still looks a bit wet in some of the photos. It measures 12” wide by 24” long and the handle is 9” high at the top.

21 comments so far

View Cantputjamontoast's profile


416 posts in 4507 days

#1 posted 05-04-2009 03:01 AM

Very nice salem

I have #3-#8 planes asking me why can’t we do fun stuff like that?????

Thank you for sharing

-- "Not skilled enough to wipe jam on toast!"

View PurpLev's profile


8652 posts in 4723 days

#2 posted 05-04-2009 03:10 AM

Very nice!

good joints, and laminations! doesn’t look like a “first” project… far from it

welcome aboard.

-- ㊍ When in doubt - There is no doubt - Go the safer route.

View woodworm's profile


14477 posts in 4665 days

#3 posted 05-04-2009 03:14 AM

Very nice first project.

-- masrol, kuala lumpur, MY.

View cabinetmaster's profile


10873 posts in 4633 days

#4 posted 05-04-2009 03:14 AM

Great looking project for a first time woodworker. Keep up the excellent work.

-- Jerry--A man can never have enough tools or clamps

View tinnman65's profile


1414 posts in 4488 days

#5 posted 05-04-2009 03:19 AM

Very nice, I love that handle!

-- Paul--- Creativity is allowing yourself to make mistakes. Art is knowing which ones to keep. — Scott Adams

View a1Jim's profile


118161 posts in 4652 days

#6 posted 05-04-2009 03:25 AM

Good design ,good workmanship, good build


View Canexican's profile


108 posts in 4752 days

#7 posted 05-04-2009 03:28 AM

Excellent work, I need to go back to using more handtools. Your project is very motivating.

Thanks for posting…


View spanky46's profile


995 posts in 4465 days

#8 posted 05-04-2009 03:36 AM

Nice job! To look at it you can’t tell its hand tools only!

-- spanky46 -- Never enough clamps...Never enough tools...Never enough time.

View GaryK's profile


10262 posts in 5063 days

#9 posted 05-04-2009 03:42 AM

Very nice. Especially using only hand tools!

-- Gary - Never pass up the opportunity to make a mistake look like you planned it that way - Tyler, TX

View Gary's profile


9419 posts in 4507 days

#10 posted 05-04-2009 03:46 AM

Nice work. Especially with hand tools only

-- Gary, DeKalb Texas only 4 miles from the mill

View Napaman's profile


5535 posts in 5151 days

#11 posted 05-04-2009 04:04 AM

very impressive…

-- Matt--Proud LJ since 2007

View Dan'um Style's profile

Dan'um Style

14189 posts in 5057 days

#12 posted 05-04-2009 04:29 AM

a lot of really cool projects posted today. this one is a big favorite. really live the design on this box. very inspiring.
welcome to lumberjocks

-- keeping myself entertained ... Humor and fun lubricate the brain

View TopamaxSurvivor's profile


20773 posts in 4750 days

#13 posted 05-04-2009 05:12 AM

Nice job for a firts!! Welcome to LJ ;-))

-- Bob in WW ~ "some old things are lovely, warm still with life ... of the forgotten men who made them." - D.H. Lawrence

View knackonwood's profile


45 posts in 4515 days

#14 posted 05-04-2009 06:14 AM

Very nice! You should be and deserve to be very proud!

View WoodSpanker's profile


576 posts in 4466 days

#15 posted 05-04-2009 08:38 AM

Well watta ya know… they still make hand tools! I gotta get me some of those! Seriously, tho… nice work, superb craftsmanship. And Welcome! :)

-- Turning perfectly good wood into sawdust and kindling since 1990.

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