Ridgid toolboxes... and fixing the sadness

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Blog series by Tony Ennis updated 09-21-2017 04:01 AM 18 parts 21473 reads 24 comments total

Part 1: Where it starts

07-18-2017 03:21 AM by Tony Ennis | 5 comments »

After a few years of neglect, I recently started bringing my woodshop back to life. So much junk everywhere. I took old power tools, a tackle box full of stuff, and two beat up toolboxes (with some tools) down to the road. These toolboxes had been dropped from my father in-law’s truck 10 times. None of this stuff meant anything to me. That is, a dried up can of plumber’s putty and rusty cast iron fittings hold no sentimental value. Anything at the end of the road is fair gam...

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Part 2: Tetris

07-20-2017 01:30 AM by Tony Ennis | 1 comment »

Not much to report this time. I’m trying to figure out a layout for the top 2 trays. The tray including pliers and chisels is pretty easy. This is because all pliers are about the same size, and so are the chisels I’ll be including in the box. So you can see that a few vertical dividers and we’re completely serviceable. This tray would be about 2” tall though if I spread the pliers out, or removed a pair, it could be 1.5”. So indeed it has become a gam...

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Part 3: Fabbing the handles

07-23-2017 11:06 PM by Tony Ennis | 0 comments »

I am sure someone already makes the sorts of handles I want, and they do it better. What of it? So here’s the dealio. I want my trays to stack. I don’t want to lose space to fingerholes or fixed handles. I decided to make handles that pull up out of the tray edges when in use, and drop down into the tray edges when not. My handles are made of 3/16” dia mild steel rod from the home center. I arbitrarily decided that a 3” wide handle was enough, and that the ̵...

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Part 4: The tray ends

07-26-2017 01:16 AM by Tony Ennis | 0 comments »

Here are the sides, solid pine (delicately sawn from a 2×4), and recesses cut for the handles. You can see a keeper sitting in position. 1/4” plywood sides will be glued to the ends of each matching pair, and then this assembly glued to a plywood bottom. That will complete the tray’s outside and it will technically be functional. What’s next is to for each end piece, drill pilot holes for the mounting screws (keeper plate outer holes) and 7/16” holes for the l...

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Part 5: I did not fail; I learned a way that did not work

07-28-2017 01:27 AM by Tony Ennis | 0 comments »

Ok, actually, I did not fail. But there won’t be any beauty pageant winners here. I decided to use some heat and pein the ends of the legs to form the retainers. Even with red heat I was unable to pein the ends. Instead they were driven into the jaws of the vise. So plan B was to flatten the ends. That was a learning experience I can tell you. Sounds easy but I got a lot of unsightly results, and a lot of variation. In the spirit of self-humiliation, here’s a picture. LJ pict...

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Part 6: omg handles

07-29-2017 02:21 AM by Tony Ennis | 3 comments »

Per the previous post, I didn’t care for the job I did when I peined the handles. But I decided to continue on to see what I could make of it. With some creative use of a hammer and a punch, I was able to make some fine adjustments to the handles and make them usable. That is, I worked the ends to ensure they cannot pull through the keeper. After I was satisfied with the handles, I drilled 3/8” holes in the tray sides to allow the handles to pass, and I drilled pilot holes for...

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Part 7: A tray, and finding a new way to secure the handles

07-30-2017 11:06 PM by Tony Ennis | 1 comment »

Now I have two more handle assemblies to finish. The handle material was pretty much beat up. I scrapped both. I pillaged a handle from the next part of the project and made a new one. It would have taken forever to salvage the old ones. I was pretty unhappy with my low-rent blacksmithing. So instead of flattening the ends, my new idea was to get a piece of 16 gauge steel and make retainer washers. These would be super glued to the ends of the handles. Like the flattened ends, they woul...

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Part 8: Basic construction is almost complete

08-03-2017 02:17 AM by Tony Ennis | 3 comments »

In a few moments over the last few days I have completed the 2nd tray. I had a problem when I glued it up – I did not realize some of my 1/4” plywood was really 5mm or something. I used a piece of that as a spacer to position the tray end, and as a result, the tray end is not quite centered on the tray. Fortunately, it is still ‘toolbox centered’ aka perfect for the task at hand. The only real effect was that I had to add a shim to tray ends in order to make up for t...

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Part 9: The wooden box is done

08-06-2017 12:02 AM by Tony Ennis | 0 comments »

I have completed the wooden box except for finishing. I didn’t have a plan and it caught up to me when I tried to mount the handled on the wooden box. First, the wooden box has a 1/2” x 1/2” lip around it, and this allows it to sit on the original tray’s supports. But that’s not enough meat when I need to drill 3/8” holes for the handle legs. Further, the legs cannot be exposed when the wood box is out of the toolbox. For as surely as the sun will rise...

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Part 10: Analysis paralysis

08-09-2017 01:44 AM by Tony Ennis | 0 comments »

Since the box and trays are done except for final sanding and finishing, it’s time to focus on adding dividers to the trays. I spent a lot of time trying to arrange tools to fit efficiently in the trays. After much knee-bent running about, I decided to use solid wood for the dividers. I resawed them from 2×4s then planed them, um, “toolbox-smooth”. I didn’t want the various dividers to just get glued to the tray bottom and other butt up against its neighbors, ...

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Part 11: Tray #1 is complete...

08-13-2017 01:41 AM by Tony Ennis | 2 comments »

...except for finishing. I’ll break the corners then probably paint it. This tray is for chisels, pliers, screwdrivers, and so forth. I posted pictures of mock-ups previously. I resawed some 1/4” pine from a 2×4 and made these divider strips. I cut notches so the strips would fit together and lend some strength. Did I need to? I dunno, I was having fun. Yes, this is not the best wood. I decided this was a toolbox and these pieces would be perfectly functional. This...

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Part 12: Taking a bite out of the next tray

08-13-2017 11:40 PM by Tony Ennis | 0 comments »

The 2nd tray is for my layout and measuring tools. This one is not as straightforward as the items in it are awkward. For example, a square is mostly air surrounded on 2 sides by steel. Since it was more complicated, I decided to just start placing tools. As each was located, I would hot glue the various spacers and dividers in. Since the dividers aren’t load-bearing, the hot glue should last a long time. And of course, it is easily reversible. The three tools I care about today a...

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Part 13: More on the Layout Tray

08-19-2017 01:21 PM by Tony Ennis | 1 comment »

Continuing with the layout tray, I cut, planed, and glued down the dividers intended to contain the tape measures. You may not be able to tell, but the two sections are not quite the same size. I made a little more room in the upper section (where the tape measure is) because during mockups I found it to be too tight. That is, I could not get my fingers in there to lift out the tape measure. An extra 1/4” was plenty. This means I can’t get a similar tape measure in the bot...

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Part 14: Finishing the Layout tray, and starting the bottom

08-20-2017 08:37 PM by Tony Ennis | 0 comments »

Except for final sanding and painting, the layout tray is complete. I really suffered for those little sticks that surround the pencils. I was, um, challenged by measuring and cutting those 45 degree half-laps. Obviously in the future something else will likely live in that space too. Now on to the bottom of the wooden box. I know I want my 16 oz hammer in there, and a selection of files and rasps. So let’s start with the files. What we have here is just a piec...

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Part 15: The Wooden Box is completed

08-24-2017 02:48 AM by Tony Ennis | 3 comments »

I finished creating the dividers and gluing them into the bottom of the box. Then I broke the edges with a chisel and sanded the facets away. ...and with tools. The pieces parts on the top right edge are the iron and wedge for that skew rabbet. I like the clamps, plane, and files being here. The other compartments’ contents are really up in the air. No changes, except for the vise grips being added when the clamps moved down. No changes here at all. Th...

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Part 16: I Suck at Painting

09-03-2017 08:40 PM by Tony Ennis | 1 comment »

I’ve had a little uninteresting time in the shop. I made a 50/50 mixture of glue and water, and sealed the inside and outside of all trays and the box. Then I sanded exhaustively. That is, I sanded until I was exhausted. And here’s where we take a detour. 45-ish years ago, I became fascinated with these little wooden boxes my dad made to hold nails, screws, bolts, washers, etc. He made 8 or 10 maybe. They are nothing special – just some pine nailed together, with ...

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Part 17: I Still Suck at Painting

09-05-2017 03:51 AM by Tony Ennis | 0 comments »

Turns out my daughter in law knows a thing or two about oil-based paint. So we discussed and decided that my paint was too thick. Today I poured a little paint into a container and added a few metric glugs of thinner. I mixed it all up, seemed legit. I decided that I would work on the outside of the boxes and finish the insides later. The thinned paint went on pretty smoothly. I am sure that it was being applied to a painted surface and not raw wood helped too. And here’s the...

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Part 18: Ready for decades of service

09-21-2017 04:01 AM by Tony Ennis | 4 comments »

Not a lot to mention, just bringing some closure to the project. Over the course of a few weeks, I painted the box. I thinned the paint down and got a much nicer result on the remaining coats. After that I reattached the hardware completing the project. I did not enjoy painting with oil based paint. It was a mess and dried slowly. But I can wholeheartedly give a shout-out to nitrile gloves. Kept me from being green. Anyway, pics. The bottom of the box has a skew rabbet plane,...

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