Coopered Lid Tool Box

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Project by GBS posted 03-13-2011 04:45 PM 19308 views 34 times favorited 18 comments Add to Favorites Watch

I recently finished constructing a hand tool box with coopered half lids and four drawers.
Plans: Article by Pat Curci; American Woodworker February 1999.
Material: Solid Cherry, Cherry Plywood, Brass hardware. Random scraps of maple and walnut for the drawer boxes.
Finish: Minwax Clear Gloss Poly
Size: 20” long, 10” wide and about 15” to the top of the handle.

I built this box to house and transport my collection of hand tools. It is based closely on Pat Curci’s design from the magazine article noted above, but I made my box considerably smaller. The box has a high tool till in the top half which gives plenty of room for stashing handplanes and handsaws under the coopered lids. The bottom half of the box features four drawers for storing smaller items. I designed the larger pair of drawers around my chisel collection – all fit neatly side-by-side in one drawer. The shorter drawers on the other side are good for squares and other layout stuff. As you can see, the handle pivots out of the way to offer full access to the top till. The bottom part of the handle below the pivot serves as a handy drawer-lock during transit. The handle latches in place via two mortise-mount bullet catches that hold the handle in position until you push it out of the way.

18 comments so far

View Mark Shymanski's profile

Mark Shymanski

5623 posts in 4871 days

#1 posted 03-13-2011 04:50 PM

An elegant way to transport your tools. Well done. It would be very interesting to see how you did the coopering.

-- "Checking for square? What madness is this! The cabinet is square because I will it to be so!" Jeremy Greiner LJ Topic#20953 2011 Feb 2

View jeepturner's profile


946 posts in 3951 days

#2 posted 03-13-2011 05:01 PM

Nicely done. I like the coopered top. I like the two piece supports on the outside faces of the split coopered top also. I built my wife a jewelry box with a coopered top and now wish I had seen this before I made it.
Live and learn. Thanks for showing us.

-- Mel,

View devann's profile


2260 posts in 3851 days

#3 posted 03-13-2011 05:12 PM

That’s one fine looking tool box. You did a good job, on the box and the post.

-- Darrell, making more sawdust than I know what to do with

View woody57's profile


650 posts in 4585 days

#4 posted 03-13-2011 05:29 PM

Great looking box. I need one of these. Thanks for posting.

-- Emmett, from Georgia

View Dennisgrosen's profile


10880 posts in 4273 days

#5 posted 03-13-2011 06:43 PM

nice box :-) and the best is …. you made it so no one can sit on it and eat

thank´s for sharing

View Clung's profile


98 posts in 3940 days

#6 posted 03-13-2011 07:07 PM

Very nice. Great toolbox worthy of all your wonderful hand tools.

-- Clarence

View Dandog's profile


250 posts in 3932 days

#7 posted 03-13-2011 07:13 PM

Great looking toolbox. Anybody who build ’s anything can appreciate that toolbox. The chores are slick.

-- life an woodworking is one big experiment

View David LaBolle's profile

David LaBolle

216 posts in 3830 days

#8 posted 03-13-2011 07:16 PM

Fantastic piece of work!!!

-- When we build, let us think that we build forever. Let it not be for present delight nor for present use alone. Let it be such work as our descendants will thank us for

View Ian Hawthorne's profile

Ian Hawthorne

297 posts in 3807 days

#9 posted 03-13-2011 08:00 PM

Great looking box it would be a shame to put tools in it.


-- Worlds Best Box Hardware!

View vanzemaljac's profile


334 posts in 4659 days

#10 posted 03-13-2011 08:21 PM

Serbian to English translation
Very well designed and practical, good work …

-- Lathe and my imagination will do everything to realize my dreams...Vanzemaljac

View BarbS's profile


2434 posts in 5244 days

#11 posted 03-13-2011 09:26 PM

Congrats on a fine toolbox. This is also in Jim Tolpin’s Toolbox Book from Taunton, and I’ve always wanted to do it. You didn’t build in the ‘card lock’ feature? The swinging handle is a great lock for the drawers. It’s wonderful. I’m envious!


View Paul_F's profile


67 posts in 4194 days

#12 posted 03-13-2011 10:44 PM

Outstanding. This is the idea I’ve been looking for. I want to make a unique box to store several wooden puzzle toys for a friend’s cottage – your innovation is going to work beautifully. Thanks for posting.

-- Dust to more Dust -

View GBS's profile


30 posts in 4865 days

#13 posted 03-14-2011 02:13 AM

Thanks everyone.
Barb, I looked up the coopered top toolbox in Jim Tolpin’s book just now – that’s certainly a lot more involved than my box!

All issues of American Woodworker are available on Google Books, so it’s easy (and free!) to look up the article that I used to build this box.

View lightweightladylefty's profile


3658 posts in 4871 days

#14 posted 03-14-2011 05:33 AM


We really like your tool box and if you ever get tired of it, we can think of numerous ways to put it to use!


-- “Those who would give up essential Liberty, to purchase a little temporary Safety, deserve neither Liberty nor Safety.” Benjamin Franklin -- Jesus is the ONLY reason for ANY season.

View TopamaxSurvivor's profile


21655 posts in 4834 days

#15 posted 03-14-2011 05:40 AM

VEry nice job. I especially like the idea to secure the drawers ;-)

-- Bob in WW ~ "some old things are lovely, warm still with life ... of the forgotten men who made them." - D.H. Lawrence

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