Home > Woodworking > Toolbox – Part 4

Toolbox – Part 4

This will be the last post on this build. For a relatively “simple” project this has taken quite a bit of shop time which I attribute almost entirely to design changes I made of the original plans. It’s really OK because I learned along the way although I’m ready to get this project off my bench and get on with the next one.

One thing that I got right was figuring out in what order to assemble this piece for glue-up. On Saturday I recreated this assembly prior to gluing just to make sure everything still fit and that there weren’t any snags. I decided to use Titebond III over original Titebond for the slightly longer open time I would need (10 mins vs 5 mins). Because the ends were dovetailed and the upper shelf and te handle fit into mortises, assembly began on one end making sure to glue and insert these pieces. Next the shelf was glued to the back, captured in a dado. Then finally the other end dovetails were carefully joined making sure to simultaneously glue and capture the shelf and handle. It wasn’t exactly simple but with the dry fit test run, it went without major problems. Once together the tote would mostly hold itself in place which made adding clamps easy.

Tote glue-up.

Tote glue-up. Pretty much used all my clamps.


Glue, mortises and dados pretty much hold everything together.

The Last Mistake??

So I had cut recesses in each end to capture the handle and I had the bright idea to use a long screw to strengthen the joint. The plan was to counter bore and plug the hole but wouldn’t you know it, I drilled right on through the remaining thin piece. Now I screw would be useless unless I wanted to plug and start over. I decided to deepen the 3/8″ drilling into the handle and used an oak dowel piece to both strengthen the joint and plug the hole. That worked OK but like so many features of this design, was not what I had originally envisioned.

Finishing Up

After the glue set up, I sanded the assembled tote and wiped on a coat of diluted Zinsser Bulls Eye clear shellac. I’ll still wipe on a few more of these coats and also need to make the latch for the drawer but otherwise this project is pretty much completed.


I’m calling this project completed. Making my own design changes was costly in time but rewarding for the experience.


A few more coats of wipe on shellac and a drawer latch and it’s ready for tools.

Concluding Thoughts on this Project

My goal in redesigning the original Popular Mechanics plan was to eliminate all of those unsightly screws. Even counter bore and plugging so many screws didn’t seem ideal to me so I decided to use dovetails for the sides and a dado to capture the shelf. As built I didn’t use any screws, but I’m wondering if the tote will hold up as well without them. Time will tell.

Also, the use of 3/4″ stock makes this beast quite heavy. Add to that all the oak pieces and it became even heavier still. My recommendation would be to use much thinner stock if building a tote for real use. Without the tools to mill my own stock, I am pretty much limited to using dimensional lumber for time being.

It’s good to get back in the shop… Turtlecovebrewer

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