Japanese style tool box, maple and walnut

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Project by Jeremymcon posted 05-18-2017 08:25 PM 1808 views 2 times favorited 4 comments Add to Favorites Watch

This is from plans I found online for a Japanese style tool box. I initially intended to just make it sort of “rough and ready” – I had a couple soft maple boards that I didn’t have a use for. But I ended up using some scraps of walnut I had from a billet I used for something else, so I used those in a couple areas. I think it’s actually a pretty cool looking tool box!

The lid was the tricky part to get right – I initially cut it a little short so that it wouldn’t lock into place. Had to glue on a piece of maple to one of the top cross pieces, and then it worked just fine. The other problem I had with the lid is that it was really tight fitting where it slid under the top cross pieces. I used a plane to take a little material off the sides of the lid, and then if fit just fine. This would have been easier to do before attaching the walnut battens, though!

4 comments so far

View ralbuck's profile


6547 posts in 3044 days

#1 posted 05-18-2017 08:35 PM

Nicely done , usable, & from materials on hand==WIN + Win.

-- Wood rescue is good for the environment and me! just rjR

View robscastle's profile


7200 posts in 2982 days

#2 posted 05-18-2017 11:38 PM

Hello Jeremy,

Thats a curious build it would benefit from a few more pictures and possibly some construction details.

I am interested in finding out more about it, where did you find the plans please.

Meanwhile I will go look for myself.

Found it …I think

Not only that link there is quite a large mount of different construction methods available.

Just the shot for grandkids I might add. Varies in construction from just nails to Mortice and Tenons.

-- Regards Rob

View Jeremymcon's profile


414 posts in 1457 days

#3 posted 05-19-2017 12:35 AM

Yup! That’s the article exactly! It can be as simple or complicated as you make it, for sure. Definitely good for kids, I’d think. The only joinery I cut were 4 shallow dadoes in the two sides just to help me keep everything together while nailing. You could just as easily use clamps or an extra set of hands. Oh! Also I did shiplap for the bottom. Not really necessary though – you could just butt the bottom pieces together. Or use a single wide piece.

I used cut nails for everything but the handles, which I glued and screwed. It was my first time working with cut nails, and it went pretty well. I only encountered one split. I’m not sure I’d attach the bottom with just wire nails for risk of it falling off if you put a lot of heavy stuff in the box. Cut nails are supposed to hold better than wire nails… Well see. Screws would certainly be reliable.

Also, the plans didn’t say to do so, but I planed the boards for the bottom and lid down to 1/2” to lighten the box up a bit. Actually I think the lid is more like 3/8”... Wasn’t too precise about it.

Applied a coat of shellac just to keep the worst of the dirt and gunk off. Waxed the sliding mechanism.

I nearly included all that information in the original post, but then I felt like I was writing a novel!

View helluvawreck's profile


32122 posts in 3644 days

#4 posted 05-19-2017 01:27 PM

This is a wonderful Japanese tool box and will be a great addition to your shop.

helluvawreck aka Charles

-- helluvawreck aka Charles,

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