Introduction: Japanese Toolbox From Make:

Picture of Japanese Toolbox From Make:

First, let me give credit for the design and plans.  This project is straight from this resource in MAKE:

I made this project because I needed a toolbox big enough to bring my drill and assorted hardware when working outside my house.  I thought that this was an elegant design and especially liked how the lid is attached to the toolbox.  It is a simple and elegant solution.  The only divergence I made from the original was to eschew the use of a diagonal on the top.  If you look at a picture of the toolbox in the closed position you will see that it forms a perfect surface to saw 2X4's or other wood.  I can jam the wood up against one of the pieces of wood and it is very stable.  I can sit on the box.  I've even used it as a stepladder of sorts (upside down) in a pinch. 

The total cost for new materials was $22 but that includes a big piece of 12 inch board that I will use for another project.  If you pro-rate it for usage the total cost of new materials is $16.  The total time for the build was about 4 hours, but that included drinking a beer.

I really encourage you to read the resource above as it is well-done and has the exact dimensions for the wood cuts and directions for the build.  What follows is a synopsis of the build.

Step 1: Cut All Pieces According the Cut Sheet

Picture of Cut All Pieces According the Cut Sheet

Everything is made from a 4 foot section of 12 inch pine and an 8 foot section of 8 inch pine.  Using a table saw cut the individual pieces using the schedule in the original article (see first step for reference).

Step 2: Make the Ends

Picture of Make the Ends

The end pieces have a strip of wood on the top that will become the grips when you want to transport the tool box.  Use glue and countersink the screws using a countersink bit.  I used 1 inch screws for this step.

Step 3: Glue, Clamp, Countersink and Screw the Box Sides and Bottom

Picture of Glue, Clamp, Countersink and Screw the Box Sides and Bottom

The important thing to remember here is to make this as square as possible before you tighten it all with 2 inch screws.  You will note in the third photo that the right edge was slightly proud and so I sanded it down with my belt sander. Gluing and screwing the bottom on is pretty easy.  Just make sure to mark the placement of the screws accurately.

Step 4: Drank a Beer

Picture of Drank a Beer

It's thirsty work.  And it's Veteran's Day.  Cheers to all the Veterans out there and thanks for all you do.

Step 5: Attach the Top Side Pieces

Picture of Attach the Top Side Pieces

Make them flush with the sides and remember to round the corners with a sander because when you hold the tool box this is where you will be holding it.

Step 6: Attach the Top Braces

Picture of Attach the Top Braces

The top of the lid is cut to fit inside the box in width.  The length is about 1 1/2 inches longer than the opening of the box.  The two braces at each end are built to extend to the outside edge of the sides of the box.

Step 7: The Magic Moment

Picture of The Magic Moment

Step 8: Fill the Box and Store It

Picture of Fill the Box and Store It

This box holds all the tools I use for most jobs outside the house.  And it fits neatly on the table saw stand I built.  Easy accessibility.


Big Daddy Gurney Guy (author)2014-08-17

Liked this so much, I had to make one for me, one for Son #3, and helped Son's #4 and Son #5 make their own. Still owe Son's 1 & 2 theirs. Great project for the boys. Thanks!!

HammerofGod (author)2014-06-15

When I saw this, I knew I was going to build it. I finally got around to it and made one for my dad for Father's Day. Thanks for the idea!

Cyanide41 made it! (author)2014-02-13

Nice, Easy to follow instructions. Thanks!

Grunambulax (author)Cyanide412014-03-01

That's a beauty. Looks durable and elegant.

mjenk20236 made it! (author)2014-03-01

Great instructable. As soon as I saw it, I knew I was going to have to make one.


Grunambulax (author)mjenk202362014-03-01

Super job. I love the symmetry of the screw placement.

bricobart (author)2013-11-15

Nice job woodworker! Didn't the japanese craftsmen use handles to transport the box? There must be a way to make this a bit more handy, no?

Grunambulax (author)bricobart2013-11-15

Ooo. You did the stormlighter. I loved that...

bricobart (author)Grunambulax2013-11-17


Grunambulax (author)bricobart2013-11-15

Thank you. The box is held with the side grips. You can see it in Step 2. When fully loaded it weighs about 30 pounds and it's been comfortable to tote. You hold it by the grips in the side and keep it close to your body. Built-in ergonomics. I think part of the genius of the designer is that he made no protruding parts and that means you can sit comfortably on any end and the box can rest flat on any end. I've used this as a small step stool when lengthwise and a tall step stool on it's end. I've found it consistently stable. I think you could achieve the flat effect with a recessed folding handle, but that is a degree of difficulty up.

bricobart (author)Grunambulax2013-11-17

Very clever, I like it! One of my first I'bles was a toolbox made from a beerbox - that's why my favourite step in your I'ble is step 4! ;)

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