Reclaimed 75 yr old white oak into tiny tool caddy

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Project by Arookar posted 03-20-2013 02:21 AM 1867 views 1 time favorited 4 comments Add to Favorites Watch

Made one for my daughter-in-law’s birthday and decided to make one for myself! This white oak was interior siding on an old theater in the town I live. Cleans up nice. dowel construction using mahogany dowels. Finished with one coat of Danish oil and then some wipe-on poly.

-- The only gift is a portion of thyself. -Ralph Waldo Emerson, writer and philosopher (1803-1882)

4 comments so far

View Boxguy's profile


2782 posts in 2537 days

#1 posted 03-20-2013 04:13 AM

Arookar, these are beautiful and you have kept the joinery simple and basic. I like the contrast in the wood colors. I find the point at the center of the handle to be decorative, but I think it would get in the way of balancing the load you are carrying. The advantage of a longer handle is that you can slide your hand back and forth to balance the weight when carrying.

Though I didn’t see any dimensions noted, the wide tray could present a problem in balancing too as the weight rides against your leg. Perhaps your goal was to keep this simple and beautiful…if so you have succeeded completely. Perhaps your selection of tools is limited. If so, you have done a fine job of problem solving. Function-wise it would have been nice to have the bottom ride in a dado groove, at least on the two long sides. Just as a variation on the same theme and design look here. Keep boxing and keep posting.

-- Big Al in IN

View Ted78's profile


401 posts in 2270 days

#2 posted 03-20-2013 07:19 AM

eh, I think the handle looks skinny enough ones hand would wrap nicely around the decorative hump. I guess it could interfere with sliding ones hand back and forth to balance the load like boxguy siad. With the short sides running full height of the box and dowelled into the bottom I don’t see a dado being essential for strength. Guess you’ll just have to use them and find out.

My favorite part of these boxes is just the fantastic grain pattern on the reclaimed wood. I think a lot of modern woodworkers are so concerned with getting straight grain or matching up grain pattern or mirroring grain pattern to look intentional or designed etc, that the true beauty and uniqueness of wood is lost.

-- Ted

View Arookar's profile


83 posts in 2672 days

#3 posted 03-20-2013 06:04 PM

Thanks, Big Al, I will keep your suggestion in mind about the handle when I make a larger one. These started with 7”x7” square ends and 10” long sides…quite small, really. maybe I should call them something besides “tool” caddy! My daughter-in-law will no doubt fill it with condiments or candy as a table centerpiece. For me, I rather had in mind drawing supplies as I carry pens, pencils, erasers, rulers, compass, tape measure, etc. around as I draw in the yard….
I did consider putting the bottom in a dado but decided for such a small caddy I could get a little bit more depth by simple dowel connections. Since these were reclaimed pieces of siding or shingles I was limited initially by the size….I think the biggest piece I had was about 7 1/2” x 18”. I resawed them which gave me some matching pieces, but the grain was so unique the only clear matches were the two bottoms!
Also, as I was shaping the handle I found the hump to fit nicely in my grip- an ergonomic bonus!

Ted – I know exactly what you mean about the grain pattern! My woodworking teacher, for whom I have the deepest respect, is always telling me to cut off the knots and swirls in irregular grain. He rolls his eyes at me quite often when I tell him those are the best parts! For me, I’d rather do a little extra work to incorporate extraordinary grain…what ever needs to happen to make sure it’s also sound. And I frequently find that I use pieces many would discard, so it ends up being quite thrifty as well.

-- The only gift is a portion of thyself. -Ralph Waldo Emerson, writer and philosopher (1803-1882)

View Boxguy's profile


2782 posts in 2537 days

#4 posted 03-21-2013 04:47 AM

Arookar, Thanks for the response. Knowing the size, I see your point. I too have a fondness for knots and wild grain. You can afford to indulge in those if you are building boxes.

-- Big Al in IN

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