We built these little toolbox kits (mentioned previously here) as a way to carry project supplies that are more than you can carry in two hands but less than a honkin’ big toolbox.
The idea is simple, really: take a standard 4′ x 8′ sheet of plywood and some doweling and make a simple device that carries well and holds a decent amount of tools.
The main feature of this design is the angled side. This works with the slightly off-centre handle to tilt the toolbox so that it rests alongside your leg without bumping into it. Even full (and it still has a pretty good capacity) it won’t bump into the backs of your knees and it is super easy to carry up and down stairs.
We also built kits–unmade toolboxes–that are an easy-to-accomplish project for anyone looking for a wee bit of a challenge.
The kit is easy to put together with some clamps and a drill. No glue is needed, and assembly takes about half an hour. The trick here is to make sure that all the cuts are flush and true. This will make the assembly way easier and will also give you square corners. Therefore, it is a good idea to use a table saw, chop saw, and/or hand-held circular saw–with fence or guide–when cutting the stock. It’s also a great idea to use a drillbit exactly the same size as the dowel you intend to use for the handle so it is easy to snug-fit in place until you fasten it. You can use 2″ and 1 1/2″ #8 screws for the body and 1″ #10 screws to secure the handles. 2″ Brads and a compressed-air nail gun work well too.
Here’s a simple how-to:
- Start with a flat surface; a level workbench is better than the floor because you will need to do some drilling. Insert the dowel into the two holes in the end pieces and place the three now-assembled pieces on the flat surface. The carrying bar should be at the top.
- Place the bottom piece (the biggest one) flat between the two end pieces and make sure all the corners are flush.
- Clamp the pieces together / down as best you can so nothing moves.
- Drill pilot holes from the sides into the bottom taking great care to drill flush and level. Drive the screws into the bottom from the pilot holes you created on the sides to secure the sides to the bottom.
- Repeat this for the back and sides, using clamps to make sure the corners stay flush. You can also drive a few screws from the bottom into the front and back pieces to make extra sure if you like. Totally optional.
- Clamp the sides to be flush with the carry handle (the dowel you inserted in step 1) and drive small pilot holes from the side into the dowel. This will secure the handle in place. You probably want to use smaller screws and a smaller diameter pilot hole.
That’s it. You should have a toolbox.
But there’s one more thing.
We built these toolboxes and kits to give away. The idea is that if you can give someone something to build, then that’s more than just giving them a gift; it’s a gift that has the potential to create a maker, or at the very least to give someone new to making a chance to be successful.
You should try it too–build something you can give, and something you can give away. Let us know if you do and we’ll share your story here.