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There are always new people interested in woodworking, and often these are younger people who have an interest in learning how to do woodworking and the best way of teaching them is getting them involved in making something. In the past I have made bird houses, and they are fine, but more recently I discovered another project that is still quite easy, but this one gives the woodworking student something to take away and something they can use in the future ... their very own tool tote.
It's easy to make, can be made with power tools or hand tools, there are many different designs, sizes and methods of making these all of them have their own unique advantages and perfect build for helping to teach newcomers to woodworking some of the finer techniques and methods.
I prefer to use Pine, or some other softwood as it is lighter in weight, so less to carry around. Softwoods are usually less expensive and easier to "work" than hardwoods, and if you make a mistake, it's not too costly to fix or replace. What's nice with this design is it doesn't take all that long to make, the tote works great and you can use a wide variety of tools in making and assembling it.
To make mine, I started off with small 3/4" thick off-cut pieces which also helped to determine the size of my tote. When it came to assembly, I ended up with 4 sides, 3 inches high and 2 of them 10 inches and 2 of them 15 inches. I also made the center "handle" piece the same length as the 2 longer ones and all I had left to do in the end was to cut some thin plywood for the bottom.
I concentrated first of all on the handle. I wanted to make it both functional and somewhat appealing to look at. As you can see in the video I bored 2 holes using my drill press and a hole saw. Forstner bits would work fine too and you could even cut smaller holes and cut that center part out with a Jigsaw, scroll saw, and coping saw or even a keyhole or similar saw. Lots of options. Same is true for a bit of a decorative edge, or in this case you could even use bandsaw.
Next comes the assembly and for this, there is a wide variety of choices such as ... dove tail corners, box joint corners, lap joint or rabbet joint corners, use of nails, screws or dowels, pocket holes joinery or any of the these with added with glue or some combinations there of. Lots of different options.
Once the sides are assembled, next comes the bottom and for this I just used 1/4" plywood that I nailed to the sides. Nothing complicated, but strong and easy to do.
The final element is to attach the middle handle portion, align to the middle and attach a couple of screws or nails on either side, flip the box upside down and screw in 3 or 4 screws or nails from the bottom and presto ... you will have a sturdy, well made tool tote that with just a bit of care, could easily last a lifetime.
It's fun to make, a perfect instruction project and something can get lots of use over the years.
Copyright Colin Knecht