A Japanese WWII Ammo/Storage Chest

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Project by Lemongrasspicker posted 04-27-2017 02:17 AM 5076 views 2 times favorited 2 comments Add to Favorites Watch

The build video is here

View on YouTube

So some news, I’m moving! Between my wife and I this time will make the 40th time we have moved either overseas or from one house to another (this is counting both our childhoods as missionary kids)

This is NOT a highly refined project. I was looking for a creative way to make some storage since I need to be able to move all my tools in a single fell swoop.

Dimensions are 40” long 8” (ish) high, and 15” deep. Plenty of room for every tool I have sans things like glue and such (those things are better suited for plastic containers).

I had seen this picture of some historic WW2 era Japanese ammunition boxes and I thought it would work really well for a larger chest provided I just scale it up. I didn’t have any measurements from the originals so I just copied the building methods and just went to building, I changed a few things to make it more practical for my needs like having the handles on the ends instead of attached to the angled side pieces (runners?). These boxes held the ammunition for their 7.7 machine guns.

As you can see these varied quite alot. I’m certain that wartime desperation and shortage of supplies were to blame. Some of these boxes had lids, others didn’t, those that did have lids either had a single hinge or were tied on with rope. I opted for rope in my case.

One thing I wanted to do with this build was try to limit myself to the absolute basic tools (for the challenge). Something that a Japanese civilian/carpenter might’ve had access to during the wartime supply shortages. So my only tools used were a tape measure (although even that I could’ve done without) combination square, a saw, hammer, cut nails, a section of 4×4, a pocket knife, and alot of commonly found materials, in this case pine. Although I don’t know what the most common type of wood that was available in Japan at the time would’ve been. I ran out of nails before I could get the bottom completely nailed to the sides and ends, so I glued it together. In keeping with the war time theme, had to make do with what I had!

I also opted to not use a bench, mostly because I broke my porch bench and the wife doesn’t want any sawing indoors.

I was lacking paint so I did what they would’ve done in wartime and just used what was available. And in my case I had some natural danish oil so that’s what was used. I also ran out of rope so I didn’t have a way to lock the lid down. I might make one later, but it meets my needs as is.

The 45’ cuts on the side I think add a little more flair to the design than just a flat square storage device. I do not know why the originals had this design feature. It might’ve been to distinguish the ammunition type that was stored inside.

This was a pretty fun project overall, it meets my needs and it was a challenge with the limitations! But it was worth it and I’m happy with the result. Thanks for reading/watching!


2 comments so far

View Ivan's profile


17048 posts in 4151 days

#1 posted 04-27-2017 05:57 AM

Quite good looking box. It’s very hard to maintain decent workshop among all those removals, I soppose.

-- Ivan, Croatia, Wooddicted

View Hobie's profile


8 posts in 955 days

#2 posted 04-20-2019 04:22 AM

Does anyone have any dimension or blueprints for a WW2 Japanese Ammo crate or rifle crate.
Any help is greatly appreciated

-- LCDR Hobie Saunders

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