Cantilevered Carving Tool Storage

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Project by HokieKen posted 05-05-2020 12:59 PM 1630 views 6 times favorited 48 comments Add to Favorites Watch

A couple of years ago, I started dabbling in whittling/carving. Since then I’ve been picking up knives and tools here and there and other odds and ends like stones and strops, small vises, BAND AIDS, finger-guards etc. For the past year or so, I’ve been storing all of it like this:

That was a temporary solution until I could decide on a more permanent one. I saw lots of totes that really seemed to be the simplest and most accessible option but couldn’t really convince myself it was a good solution for me. When we take vacations or long weekend trips, I like to take my carving stuff. I also carry it in my truck so I can fiddle around with it during my lunch breaks when it’s nice outside. So, I wanted something that I could keep closed and that would sit flat and not topple over in my back seat. I also wanted something that grandkids couldn’t easily snatch something out of and make blood ;-)

When the Coronavirus first really hit the US and people were starting to have to stay home more, Woodsmith was awesome enough to give out a free plan to us woodoworkers. (As of now you can still get one at that link. Go on. I’ll wait.) When I was browsing their plans, the Box-Jointed Craft Center jumped out and said ”Build ME!” At first I wasn’t sure what I would use it for, I just liked the compact design and that there were multiple small boxes rather than one with trays or drawers. Then it dawned on me that it would make great storage for my carving tools and would be portable as well as stable and fully enclosed. It’s been a while since I got as excited about a project as I did this one. Not only would it be a solution but it could let me show off some of my mediocre woodworking skills in a unique package. Plus, it just looked like a fun build ;-)

I haven’t had any time off work and with it being springtime and yard work needing done, I definitely haven’t been getting any excess shop time. Rather than letting limited time be a damper on the project, I decided to splurge and buy some Cherry boards that were kiln-dried and already thickness sanded to the 3/8” the plans called for. I ordered those, a piece of 1/8” BB ply for the box bottoms and some 3/4” binding posts for the pivot joints and got to work.

My Incra I-Box made quick and accurate work of the box joints. Unfortunately, after I had cut the first 3 boards, I realized I hadn’t moved the backer boards after final adjustments. So there was a lot of tearout at some of the joints that I ended up spending a couple of hours filling with sawdust and CA after all the glue-ups were done. You IBox users, remember to make sure your backer is in the right place ;-) As far as the construction of the individual boxes, I pretty much followed the plan exactly. I glued up the large bottom box first and somehow let it get a bit out of square. Rather than trying to fix that, I ended up gluing up the rest of the boxes working from the bottom up and making them fit with the box below on all sides rather than trying to keep everything square. This was actually a good way to work. Everything is nearly square but everything is flush on all sides so everything looks truly square.

Next was the handle. Again, I followed the plans on this one because I thought it looked like it was strongly constructed and it also looked cool :-) I used hand planes to dimension a piece of Walnut to 1” x 1-1/4” and then cut to lengths. I joined the three pieces with box joints. FYI, the I-Box isn’t intended to cut 1” deep joints. Mine does now though :-/ Glad the jig is aluminum and not steel and glad my table saw isn’t a SawStop ;-) After the joints were glued up, I laid out the handle shape and cut it on my bandsaw. Then I used my belt sander and OSS to finish shaping it. I kind of wish I had selected a lighter colored stick of Walnut so the box joints would stand out more. I think the curved surface with the interlocking fingers looks awesome. I’ll definitely keep this handle construction method in mind for future projects.

Next up was the lids. The plans called for this whole thing to be made of Cherry but I already knew I was using Walnut for accent pieces. I couldn’t decide whether to make solid Walnut lids or make Walnut frames with Cherry panels. Then inspiration struck and I reached out to my buddy MikeACG. Mike is a wizard with his CNC and his laser so I asked him if he could make me an acrylic template I could use with my Whiteside router inlay kit. He jumped on it and had it in my mailbox (with a few tasty Michigan brews to boot!) before I even got around to needing it :-) THANKS MIKE!! So, as you can see in the fifth picture, I inlaid Walnut into Cherry panels to make my maker’s mark in the lids. Since the piece is so symmetric overall, I mirrored the pattern about the center. Now I can tell it’s mine from both sides ;-)

The plans called for a mitered frame on the lids. I thought box joints would be better since everything else is box jointed. But, in a 3/8” thick lid, that wasn’t really practical. So I cheated and just did half-laps at the corners. I fit the lids and hinged them with some small brass hinges I found in my hardware drawer.

Finally were the pivot bars. I cut them to size per the plans and drilled the holes and then drilled the holes in the boxes in the middle row and attached the bars there. After that, I had to carefully mark, check, fit, erase, mark, check, fit and finally drill holes. One side ended up binding and having a gap when closed so I ended up remaking a few of the pivot bars and shifting the centerline location of the holes. I’m sure the tedium of fitting these bars all originated with my original sloppy glue up. Had all my boxes been square to begin with, this part probably would have gone faster. Alls well that ends well though. It opens and closes smooth as silk :-))

Finally, finishing (this post and the box). Everything got two coats of BLO and week to cure. After that, The pivot bars got a coat of paste wax and everything else got 3 coats of Arm-R-Seal.

I have some Kaizan foam to cut and fit to the individual boxes then I’ll get all my tools put in. That’ll be another project for another time though. For now, I’m just glad this thing is done! It was a fun build and I hope it’ll prove to be as handy for storage as I expect :-)

Thanks for looking! Questions and comments welcomed as always :-)

-- I collect hobbies. There is no sense in limiting yourself (Don W) - - - - - - - - Kenny in SW VA

48 comments so far

View doubleDD's profile


10633 posts in 3255 days

#1 posted 05-05-2020 01:09 PM

Holy cow, look at this thing. As many will say much too nice for tool storage but I could think of a lot of storage ideas myself. Great job.

-- Dave, Downers Grove, Il. -------- When you run out of ideas, start building your dreams.

View Dave Polaschek's profile

Dave Polaschek

8274 posts in 1794 days

#2 posted 05-05-2020 01:12 PM

Nice box, Kenny, and way to power though the lack of time!

-- Dave - Santa Fe

View EarlS's profile


4724 posts in 3559 days

#3 posted 05-05-2020 01:38 PM

That’s one fine looking box. I’ve got the plastic storage containers that I want to replace. This looks like just the thing.

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

View HokieKen's profile


19082 posts in 2350 days

#4 posted 05-05-2020 01:48 PM

Thanks fellas!

Dave – yep, it’s pretty dang versatile and could be used for tons of stuff.

Earl – the only down sides are that in order to access the middle and bottom boxes, you have to expand the whole thing which makes it 40+ inches so you have to have the space around it for that. Also, you can see that about 1/3 of the middle and bottom boxes are obscured by the box above. Just a couple of things to bare in mind :-)

Other Dave – yeah, we can’t all be retired with loads of leisure time :-(

-- I collect hobbies. There is no sense in limiting yourself (Don W) - - - - - - - - Kenny in SW VA

View GR8HUNTER's profile


8865 posts in 1924 days

#5 posted 05-05-2020 01:54 PM

I love the wood combo on this mighty fine organizer also love the pivot bars and i know how hard they are to install also the top logo is GR8 I love the mirror effect and that Mike is one good guy you will be able to enjoy this box for many years GREAT JOB :<)) GRATZ TOP 3 … you will get it on this

-- Tony---- Reinholds,Pa.------ REMEMBER TO ALWAYS HAVE FUN :<))

View KelleyCrafts's profile


4607 posts in 1951 days

#6 posted 05-05-2020 01:58 PM

EXCELLENT JOB! Your grandkids will store stuff in that long after you’re gone. That’s one of those things that won’t make it to the $1 table at the estate sale, not even the $5 table.

All kidding aside, that thing will be handy for sure, not to mention it looks fantastic. You’ll get many years out of that thing and as you cart it around and bang it up a little, the dents and patina will just make it look better on something like that. Definitely a cool build too. Unique.

-- Dave - - pen blanks - knife scales - turning tools

View HokieKen's profile


19082 posts in 2350 days

#7 posted 05-05-2020 02:04 PM

Thanks Tony!

Yep Dave, I’m sure it’ll get beat all to hell and back. We’ll see what happens to it after I’m gone. It’s very possible my wife may end up cutting me up and burying me in it in the backyard ;-)

-- I collect hobbies. There is no sense in limiting yourself (Don W) - - - - - - - - Kenny in SW VA

View Brandon's profile


4381 posts in 4163 days

#8 posted 05-05-2020 02:17 PM

Wow, that’s quite nice, Kenny!

-- "hold fast to that which is good"

View pottz's profile


20044 posts in 2196 days

#9 posted 05-05-2020 02:22 PM

sweet looking box kenny nothing better than than having everything organized in one place,and in a beautiful box you created.

-- working with my hands is a joy,it gives me a sense of fulfillment,somthing so many seek and so few find.-SAM MALOOF.

View Lazyman's profile (online now)


7792 posts in 2599 days

#10 posted 05-05-2020 02:35 PM

Cool box Kenny. Did you add the logo inlay on the top to prevent the wife from appropriating it as her Mother’s day gift from you?

BTW, what tool(s) did you use to do the inlay?

-- Nathan, TX -- Hire the lazy man. He may not do as much work but that's because he will find a better way.

View waho6o9's profile


9055 posts in 3788 days

#11 posted 05-05-2020 02:52 PM

Beautiful work Kenny, excellent detail for a family heirloom box!

View Dave Polaschek's profile

Dave Polaschek

8274 posts in 1794 days

#12 posted 05-05-2020 02:54 PM

Other Dave – yeah, we can’t all be retired with loads of leisure time :-(

Sure ya can, Kenny. Just have to decide that income isn’t necessary. ;-)

-- Dave - Santa Fe

View HokieKen's profile


19082 posts in 2350 days

#13 posted 05-05-2020 03:00 PM

Thanks for the comments Brandon and Larry :-)

Nathan – I actually volunteered to build the wife one when I showed her mine but she said she didn’t know what she would use it for :-) I didn’t try to talk her into it. I use the Whiteside Router Inlay Kit for inlays. It’s awesome. You’re a little limited obviously to things you have a template for. But, you can make templates fairly easily with some 1/4” plywood and a scroll or jig saw but they’re generally good for only a use or two. Once the edges start wearing or compressing, you start getting gaps. I asked Mike to make this one from acrylic for me because I can see using this one in a lot of projects I make for myself or for the shop. There are commercial templates available too that you can do some cool things with.

-- I collect hobbies. There is no sense in limiting yourself (Don W) - - - - - - - - Kenny in SW VA

View Jim Jakosh's profile

Jim Jakosh

26637 posts in 4317 days

#14 posted 05-05-2020 03:07 PM

Very cool;. Nice work on it. Izzy Swan made one with gears on the bottom.

Cheers, Jim

-- Jim Jakosh.....Practical Wood Products...........Learn something new every day!! Variety is the Spice of Life!!

View Brit's profile


8377 posts in 4054 days

#15 posted 05-05-2020 03:37 PM

You made a fine job of that Kenny. Just the job for all those bit and bobs that come in useful for whittling.

-- Andy - Old Chinese proverb says: "If you think something can't be done, don't interrupt man who is doing it."

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