Possible Japanese Tool Box with Tapered Locking Wedge Design

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Forum topic by tinhammer posted 05-10-2018 12:15 PM 4667 views 0 times favorited 5 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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6 posts in 1377 days

05-10-2018 12:15 PM

Topic tags/keywords: japanese toolbox design

I put together the attached set of plans for a Japanese Toolbox for a possible summer project to build with my Grandson. I am a beginning or amateur woodworker with only limited hand tools and only an electric drill for a powered tool. The Japanese Toolboxes shown on Lumberjocks, Pinterest and You Tube intrigued me with their simple design. I thought I would draw up a design using only standard size boards.

I also undertook this task as I was interested in learning to use the free version of Sketchup software and TurboCAD designer software. This is my first set of drawings made using these two software packages. I still have a lot to learn but I feel this is a good first attempt.

I am a little concerned about the design because I am intending on fastening the end boards to the side boards using screws and glue. Everything on the internet says do not screw into end grain, although I feel there is enough length of wood to drill into if I predrill a pilot hole into the end board and side boards. I also think the board should be thick enough. I feel that using wood screws should be strong enough for this application. If anyone has any thoughts on this let me know.

I am going to make at least two other sets of plans for assembly using dovetail assembly between the side and end boards and another set of plans for dados cut into the side board for the end boards. Doing dovetails in Sketchup should be an interesting learning experience, although there are some videos showing how to do this on YouTube.

-- Fred - Fremont, Ohio

5 replies so far

View LittleShaver's profile


779 posts in 1960 days

#1 posted 05-10-2018 12:45 PM

Screws should be fine for this application. Square nails would be kind of interesting as well. These are a few that I made. I decided against the sliding lock. Don’t recall why other than it was a piece to misplace and three of these have gone to grand kids. I used broad finger joints for mine rather than dovetails. Also, I only put handles on the largest one. I figured the smaller ones couldn’t get heavy enough to need handles. For heavy duty use with thicker material, pegs through the fingers would strengthen and dress them up a bit.

I had fun making these, as you can see, they work in many sizes.

-- Sawdust Maker

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6 posts in 1377 days

#2 posted 05-10-2018 01:43 PM

Thanks for the response! It looks you have made a variety of sizes. They look good. I am going to draw up some plans with broad finger joints also and then decide what I am going to use. This is my first posting to Lumberjocks. I am a little disappointed in the quality of the pictures I posted. I posted them from my computer. I am going to try posting a picture from Photo Bucket and see if they look better. Thanks again for the response.

-- Fred - Fremont, Ohio

View JADobson's profile


1449 posts in 3452 days

#3 posted 05-10-2018 02:38 PM

Click for details

I used square wrought-head nails to assemble mine. With glue its plenty strong. The bottom is attached just with screws so it can be replaced if necessary. I followed the plans in Fine Woodworking#257 for these ones. It is a fun easy project that I built with my brother-in-law who is not a woodworker and he managed them just fine.

-- No craft is very far from the line beyond which is magic. -- Lord Dunsany — Instagram @grailwoodworks

View LittleShaver's profile


779 posts in 1960 days

#4 posted 05-10-2018 03:04 PM

Your plans put mine to shame. All I used was a sketch on a paper towel. The dimensions evolved as the stock was prepared. I may have used a tape measure to set the length of the first side and first end pieces, but all the rest were “This looks good”.
Don’t over think these, just build them and adjust for mistakes as you dry fit things together. Unless you are building this to snugly fit a particular item, “about” is close enough for overall dimensions. Cut the first set of fingers on a joint and then use them to lay out the interlocking piece. I gang cut the fingers on the long side ends and then used them to layout the short side mates. Once that’s done, the rest of the box parts are cut/trim to fit by either direct transfer or story stick.
For me, the less I use a ruler or tape measure, the better things turn out. However you want to work, have fun first.

-- Sawdust Maker

View HokieKen's profile


20728 posts in 2479 days

#5 posted 05-10-2018 03:58 PM

You could always dowel your butt joints instead of using screws.

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

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