Small tool storage box

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Project by Fotodog posted 02-28-2020 02:20 AM 1531 views 1 time favorited 8 comments Add to Favorites Watch

Hello All,
I needed a bigger and better box for my Dowelmax after getting an additional bracket. I like to learn new tasks for my projects, and will probably be making a jewelry box or two in the future, so I took my time on this one. It’s constructed of hard maple with walnut accents. The box components are 1/2”, and the insert is made from 1/4” pieces. The finish is Minwax spray satin lacquer, which I have never used before. I really like this finish, and I can see why lacquer is so popular. I don’t have professional spray booth capabilities with ventilation, so the rattle cans sprayed outside work great for me.

The box is constructed with miter joints, and I added walnut splines for strength…plus I like the look. First time doing this, and the table saw jig is easy to build and use (lots of videos on YouTube). When I separated the top from the box on my table saw, I taped some of the leftover splines in each previous cut to act as shims since since they are the same thickness as the saw kerf, and this worked very well.

When building a box this way with a lid that is flush and not recessed in a dado, getting really tight joints on the lid seems to somewhat problematic (at least for me). There is a dance that happens during glue-up getting tight miters on the sides, tight miters on the top, and tight joints where the top piece meets the side pieces. From past experience I expected this, so after it dried I cut a rabbet around the top and glued in oversized walnut trim pieces which were later planed and sanded flush. These pieces allowed a tight fitting joint between the sides and top and provide a nice look.

For the miters I built a shooting board to use with my hand plane, which I’ve been meaning to do for a while. If you haven’t built one, do it! It’s a game changer. The ability to sneak up on a perfect fit allows for really tight joints. I also used it when fitting the lock dado joints for the insert. The insert is friction fit, so it can be removed if I decide to change the layout inside the box later.

Thanks for looking. Cheers,

-- Tim

8 comments so far

View BurlyBob's profile


9424 posts in 3557 days

#1 posted 02-28-2020 07:16 AM

I’ve got a project much like yours in mind for a jig. I really like the walnut banding on the top. I may very well copy your design. It’s very clean and classy. Thanks for giving me an great idea.

View wildwoodbybrianjohns's profile


2850 posts in 839 days

#2 posted 02-28-2020 08:06 AM

Handsome box, and decent photos too.

When I cut the tops off boxes, I dont cut all the way through, I leave a hair of thickness, and when all four sides are cut, I run a razor knife through to separate the lid from carcass. This is the safest way to do it and you dont have to worry about shimming.

-- WWBBJ: It is better to be interesting and wrong, than boring and right.

View Peteybadboy's profile


4175 posts in 3241 days

#3 posted 02-28-2020 11:12 AM

Really like the box. I just made a shooting board as well. I need more practice, or buy a shooting board plane. What plane do you use? I like the contrasting frame on the lid. I may have to try that. Nice job

-- Petey

View Redoak49's profile


5423 posts in 3280 days

#4 posted 02-28-2020 12:42 PM

Beautiful job with nice tight joints.

View swirt's profile


6840 posts in 4264 days

#5 posted 02-28-2020 01:55 PM

Nicely done.

-- Galootish log blog,

View Fotodog's profile


92 posts in 1071 days

#6 posted 02-28-2020 03:18 PM

Thank you gentlemen. Looks like there might be another box coming up soon. When my wife saw this one she requested one for herself. At least she didn’t ask for it to be filled with jewelry.

Petey, I use my Lie-Nielsen #62 Low Angle Jack Plane, since it’s the only full size plane I own ( that’s pitiful, I know). It works beautifully. From what I have read, as long as your plane has sides that are 90 degrees to the bottom and your shooting board is constructed with true 90 degree and 45 degree fences, most planes should work. Also the blade on your plane cannot extend all the way to the edge, so a shoulder plane wouldn’t work. The small gap between the blade and the edge is what rides against the board and keeps the blade from cutting into the board. Start taking light cuts with a very sharp blade. If you’re having problems it could just be a matter of blade sharpness.

-- Tim

View therealSteveN's profile


9274 posts in 1866 days

#7 posted 02-28-2020 06:15 PM

Your tools live in very nice houses. Nice box.

-- Think safe, be safe

View Grumpy's profile


26812 posts in 5143 days

#8 posted 02-29-2020 09:35 PM

Nice job and congratulations on your ‘Daily Top 3’ award.

-- Grumpy - "Always look on the bright side of life"- Monty Python

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