Teaching Toolbox is Old School Business Card

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Project by rdwile posted 01-14-2020 03:45 PM 901 views 2 times favorited 11 comments Add to Favorites Watch

Now that I am fully retired from the IT world, I am turning my time into more woodworking outreach. I have been doing some extensive writing, mostly for Furniture and Cabinetmaking magazine in the UK. Recently I have decided to do some teaching to share my knowledge and experience. From courses I have taken in the past I have been most impressed by my instructors’ past builds, whether it was rockers or casework.

I felt I should do the same and have seen a number of very old toolboxes which are heavily adorned on the interior. In Victorian times, the cabinetmaker’s tool box was his resume, like his business card and demonstrated his worthiness to be hired. I took a page from this book when designing this toolbox, which accompanies me to the classroom. It exhibits many aspects of the craft to show that I can do this woodworking thing okay!

Sized to fit the tools I travel with and built from some very nice curly maple, with a gorgeous spalted maple bookmatched top. The case and the piston fit tray insert are dovetailed, and the inside of the piston fit lid is veneered in a pattern I have used several times in the past. The lower section is adorned in some nice wood tartan, living in the North American capital of Scottish heritage I felt it only appropriate to go this route.

Of course the lid design also incorporates a mini version of my plane hammer that is sold by Lee Valley, epoxied to the hand-hammered copper ‘sun’.

-- Richard D. Wile, IG: @rdwile

11 comments so far

View MrWolfe's profile


616 posts in 730 days

#1 posted 01-14-2020 05:37 PM

Beautiful build!
That is a great toolbox and showcases many woodworking skills.
The inside of the lid is gorgeous.

View rdwile's profile


167 posts in 2718 days

#2 posted 01-14-2020 06:20 PM

Thanks Jon!

Beautiful build!
That is a great toolbox and showcases many woodworking skills.
The inside of the lid is gorgeous.

- MrWolfe

-- Richard D. Wile, IG: @rdwile

View BurlyBob's profile


6912 posts in 2872 days

#3 posted 01-15-2020 01:13 AM

I totally agree. A wonderful piece with wonderful display of woods and joinery. Well done there!

View AJ1104's profile


938 posts in 2266 days

#4 posted 01-15-2020 01:36 AM

Richard, A truly beautiful piece ! Like your other projects, this is top notch.

-- AJ

View swirt's profile


4570 posts in 3579 days

#5 posted 01-15-2020 02:16 AM

Quite impressive. Well done.

-- Galootish log blog,

View Dave Polaschek's profile

Dave Polaschek

4454 posts in 1189 days

#6 posted 01-15-2020 03:17 AM

That’s a great looking toolbox, Richard!

-- Dave - Santa Fe

View Peteybadboy's profile


1480 posts in 2556 days

#7 posted 01-15-2020 11:14 AM

That is awsome! I appreciate the tribute to the past. Nicley done!

-- Petey

View rdwile's profile


167 posts in 2718 days

#8 posted 01-15-2020 11:36 AM

Thanks all for the kind words, pretty pleased with how this one turned out.

-- Richard D. Wile, IG: @rdwile

View EarlS's profile


3427 posts in 2955 days

#9 posted 01-15-2020 01:15 PM

Great looking tool box. The small hammer on the inside of the lid made me look even closer. The “tartan” was another subtle feature that caught my eye. Of course the veneer is also a nice surprise when the lid is opened.

Good looking shop helper too.

I have the same opinion that you do, that tool boxes and such should demonstrate the woodworker’s skill. One of my favorites is the Studley Tool Chest, a work of art. Plus, they are fun to build and “decorate”.

-- Earl "I'm a pessamist - generally that increases the chance that things will turn out better than expected"

View therealSteveN's profile


4646 posts in 1181 days

#10 posted 01-16-2020 02:40 AM

Impressive toolbox. What is the weight loaded?

-- Think safe, be safe

View rdwile's profile


167 posts in 2718 days

#11 posted 01-16-2020 12:35 PM

Impressive toolbox. What is the weight loaded?

- therealSteveN

Thanks! I think it weighs about 25 pounds fully loaded. Not light, but can be carried. I made the bottom panel protrude about 3/8” to give some grip to pick it up, you can see this detail in the second picture.

-- Richard D. Wile, IG: @rdwile

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