Every summer we would go over to my Great Grandpa's house out on his ranch and see what cool things he had. Unfortunetly he passed away in August of 2010. He had all these awesome compasses, hammers and all sorts of old tools that were fun to look at. We would really all just take a second and think, " Holy cow, tools have changed so much from 1890's to now". Actually just last week my cruddy cardboard toolbox (not really a toolbox) fell apart and I thought about building another one and, ta da, I was inspired to build an old-fashion toolbox in dedication to my Great Grandpa.

Warning: Tools are dangerous and don't forget to wear safety equipment.

Step 1: Get your design together

Picture of Get your design together
toolbox pic 2.jpg
Toolbox pic 1.jpg
toolbox pic 4.jpg
I'm pretty sure you can't build this without a design first so this step is the most important of all. You may need more height, width or length than me but you can follow my design if you'd like. This includes an optional set in tray that fits on a notch on the inside of the toolbox. Here is my design. Oh, and here are the measurements:

Length = 30 in
Width   =  11 1/4 in

Long Side:
Length = 30 in
Width = 8 in

Short Side:
Tallest height = 15 in
Smaller height = 11 1/4 in
Width = 11 1/4 in

Set in tray:
Length = 29 7/8''
Width = 9 3/8''
Height = 2 1/2''
Trike Lover7 months ago

I've been mulling over making one or more toolboxes similar to this pattern - I still have one like this I made in Grade 7 wood shop class. My thought was to make the box a bit larger and beef up the joints, etc. This is a very nice project, and I thank you for sharing. Gotta get busy and go make some sawdust....

Grim Man1 year ago
Love it. When I was helping to move my grandmother into a retirement village I was asked to do grandfathers workshop. His toolbox was a lot like this, but the handle has swing out end caps and the bar was threaded on one end. Took me a while to realise that it was for a bar clamp. One more tool, one less thing to carry.

Now that's a really neat & inventive addition to what is already a very nicely executed and useful project. I was going to build a couple of these toolboxes, slightly customized for particular classes of tools (e.g. electrical, plumbing, general woodworing, etc., and now I'll add the bar clamp modification to each one.. I was also going to add a reinforced section in one corner to allow mounting a small clamp-on vise - this could also be made in such a way as to augment that. Many thanks for sharing.

Dr. Pepper (author) 2 years ago
Oh! I almost forgot. I would love to see an Instructable or some pictures of your toolbox when it's finished.
HunterBond2 years ago
I can't believe that no one has commented on this, but I wanted to say that is a very nice toolbox you've made there. Nothing quite like making something yourself, and exercising some craftsmanship to honor a Grandfather.

I'll be thinking of this and likely referring back when I finally get started on my own tool box.

Dr. Pepper (author)  HunterBond2 years ago
Thank you so much! A few people have commented on the intro page I believe. He was a great guy and I was glad that I could build something in honor of him.
twhitfield3 years ago
Forgot to mention in my last comment that my box got extremely heavy as I kept adding tools. I ended up using a piece of seatbelt from a junk car to make a shoulder strap. It ruins the "old" look but makes it much more comfortable. I also added two strips of rubber from a floor mat to the bottom...one at each end....screwed into the sides so the box sat on the rubber strips. I took mine into customers houses and this way I could set it on hardwood floors or counters without worry of scratching anything....plus it didn't slide around in my truck as much!
Dr. Pepper (author)  twhitfield3 years ago
Cool! My toolbox is at least 50 lbs. I'm strong so I can move it around but not a very long distance.
yeah...I carried mine with just the handle for a while but I found it was more a matter of being off balance than too heavy. All the weight in one hand and on one side. Give it a try! It's easy to do and if you don't like it it's easy to undo.
twhitfield3 years ago
A suggestion for a different handle...I made a box similar to this years ago and my grandfather suggested a 2' pipe clamp for the handle. My box was sized to fit a two foot level. The pipe clamp was sturdy and always there. Didn't need it often but there were times when I was glad I had it!
Dr. Pepper (author)  twhitfield3 years ago
Thanks! I really love your suggestion and might make another.
sunshiine3 years ago
I remember the contest. I though you had won 1st prize on this?
Dr. Pepper (author)  sunshiine3 years ago
Nope, didn't win anything. :( I was really disappointed.
Chumlee4 years ago
love it, gonna make it with my grandad :)
Dr. Pepper (author)  Chumlee4 years ago
Thanks! I hope it works out well! Oh, and make the tray a little smaller than the measurements if you are going to stain it and clear coat it.
making it today, the only thing is how thick wood like deph ?? an is it heavy??
its much bigger than i expected !! :D
Dr. Pepper (author)  Chumlee4 years ago
Cool. Sorry I couldn't respond quickly because I was on vacation. What do you mean by wood depth? It is heavy. Yeah it's pretty large.
thatss all right mate, ive made it an it looks great.... i did make mine abit smaller tho an i did the handle slightly different (i ran out of wood, lol ) really good project tho an i enjoyed making it :)
Dr. Pepper (author)  Chumlee4 years ago
Thanks, can you show some pics?
certainly... mine was made on the cheap and havnt got round to varnishing it yet!!
Tupulov4 years ago
Well illustrated with complete measurements. WELL DONE!
Dr. Pepper (author)  Tupulov4 years ago
Thanks! Was there anything that I could have improved?
good looking. i thought the picture was an oldie tool box that u were gonna restore and ruin.
Dr. Pepper (author)  unaffiliatedperson4 years ago
Oh, cool. Thanks.
Grand-Pa4 years ago
Great job, nice looking box.Just a word from the wise. "P P E"
I noticed in a couple of pics the lack of personal protective equipment.
For instance concrete, bare feet and power tools don't mix well. If your tool would have had a short in it you just might have been joining your great grandpa.
I also noticed the guard was missing on your table saw. Saws do not know the difference between a piece of wood and your fingers. (BTW I am guilty of that one my self). My Dad had a chunk of his thumb chewed out by a saw once.
I couldn't see if you had safety glasses or hearing protection on so I'll trust you on that one. Just remember "SAFETY FIRST"!!
Still like your box though :)
Dr. Pepper (author)  Grand-Pa4 years ago
Great job. Love the classic look.
Dr. Pepper (author)  cdawisconsin4 years ago
The only thing I'd say is that rather than using a bit of scrap for the end caps for the dowel, you could put a hole through the dowel pre-insertion and then run a screw down through the end piece and into that hole. That would keep it in place AND stop it from rotating.

Dr. Pepper (author)  RDProgrammer4 years ago
Thank you. Very nice to know for next time!
tbcross4 years ago
really cool my pa had some like this and I love them thanks for the pattern, I think there may be some of these under the christmas tree next year!!
Dr. Pepper (author)  tbcross4 years ago
Creativeman4 years ago
Just saw your 'ible....front page, no less! Great instructable, and nice to remember your grandfather. Reminded me of the box I made 25 years ago, but which received little use...had a few jobs then where I needed it. So I dusted it off, took pictures and it's pretty similar, wouldn't you say? I like your finish much better, and I have built in storage for tri-square, pencils, drill bits, saws, and hand screw driver. For the handle, I used a piece of hardwood cut to about 1.25 inches square.
Dr. Pepper (author)  Creativeman4 years ago
Thanks! I like your toolbox too!
Techgirl-524 years ago
Sweet Toolbox! It looks very impressive! I'm glad it's a featured Instructable! :D
And the dedication to your Great Grandfather? Totally cool!
Dr. Pepper (author)  Techgirl-524 years ago
glorybe4 years ago
That box looks nice and sturdy as well.
If you want something even a bit more antique you might build another, very similar box called a walking tool box. The edge of one side is curved in such a way that the upper leg and hip don't rub against the box when you walk. The long tools, such as hand saws will flex enough to fit in the box.
Dr. Pepper (author)  glorybe4 years ago
Thanks! Nice to know.
GEESE GIRL4 years ago
dr.pepper1234 are you on
Dr. Pepper (author)  GEESE GIRL4 years ago
Why don't you ask me on my orangeboard?
GEESE GIRL4 years ago
hi dr.pepper1234 it is me geese girl are you on
Dr. Pepper (author)  GEESE GIRL4 years ago
I have an orange board you know.
That`s AWESOME!!!!!!!!!
Dr. Pepper (author)  HALOPLAYER1014 years ago
thank you
e3d3jg344 years ago
Beautiful toolbox. Great job!
Dr. Pepper (author)  e3d3jg344 years ago
thank you, glad you like. I love it too!
drewgrey4 years ago
Nice job. The biggest difference between your box and the one I use at work every dat (at the UW ) is that I have little lightweight cardboard boxes and tubes glued to the bottom for keeping stuff organized. Yours is much nicer looking but mine does have a great charlie the tuna sticker on it.
Dr. Pepper (author)  drewgrey4 years ago
cool! why do have a charlie the tuna sticker on the side? Can you send me a picture of it?
Great job!
Dr. Pepper (author)  rudycoaltrain4 years ago
thanks I think I did ok!
like it!
Dr. Pepper (author)  iminthebathroom4 years ago
cool, thanks I do too!
Dr. Pepper (author) 4 years ago
(removed by you)
aeray4 years ago
Good work.
As a working carpenter, tilesetter, roofer, furniture builder, metelworker, concrete placer, etc, I've built, and have, a lot of tool boxes. My only problem is that I tend to make them too large (i.e. "I'll make it big enough for all my framing tools!" or "I'll make it big enough to hold my handsaws!"). When I'm done, and the tools are loaded up, I can hardly carry them, and I'm a big guy. I'm now in the process of designing a more modular system of smaller, more specialized boxes that I can actually lift easily.
Dr. Pepper (author)  aeray4 years ago
thanks for your info, this thing is huge and weighs about 30-35lbs. I hope you get your design done and maybe you can post an instructable about it.
It just snowed 5" here today, and it is a good winter project. I'm working on categorizing tools by type. Nailguns will go in one box, sanders in one box, drills/drivers in one box, power saws in one box, handsaws in one box, hammers in one box, etc, etc.
I may post an 'able about it but I suspect that tool collections will differ enough that I won't be able to specify dimensions, just say "this is what I did, figure it out for yourself".
Dr. Pepper (author)  aeray4 years ago
cool id love to see it.
nanosec124 years ago
If I may add my comments, this is not a criticism just an idea. What do you think of either etching a memorial on the side of the tool box, or even having an antique brass plate made up and engraved with a simple 'In Loving Memory of .......' and fastened to the box with brass rivets?

That is the only 'improvement' I can think of to your wonderful tribute.

Dr. Pepper (author)  nanosec124 years ago
wow, that is such a great idea, though do you know how much this would cost? I'm trying to keep a low budget on things. Well, actually this entire project was free ( I had everything ) Um, just wondering but how did you find this?
Cost - depends on what you decide todo, but if you want (especially in the theme of doing it yourself) you can make the engraving directly into the side of the toolbox with simple hand tools, or with careful use of a dremel type tool. If you go with a brass plate, you will have to price that out with Trophy shops being a good starting point.
Finding your 'ible - I am not sure, I sometimes get bored, and click the names of people that comment, and then click on their Instructibles, and then follow the links to similar Instructibles. I am pretty sure that your name caught my eye, especially with the picture/logo you use.

Dr. Pepper (author)  nanosec124 years ago
cool! thanks, and good to know.
farna4 years ago
This is a minor constructive criticism -- don't take it wrong, the box is great as is and is a fitting tribute to your great grandpa!

The only thing I'd change is the location of the hand slot in the removable tray divider. It would be better if there was a slight rise in the center of the tray divider with a slot for your hand. With tools in the tray it will be hard to get your hand in the slot as is. A solid portion about an inch deep under the slot would be nice. Might have to make the main handle a bit taller so there's room for your hand in the center between the raised tray divider and the main handle, but looks like there's room.

Length of such boxes is dictated not by any particular tool, but by the longest one expected to be carried. I've seen similar carpenter's boxes long enough for hand saws with slots to one side to stand the saw(s) up. Those are particularly long and a bit awkward!
Dr. Pepper (author)  farna4 years ago
thank you. I understand what you have said and am glad you've seen my instructable. If you don't mind me asking how did you find it?(the instructable, im just curios)
Gotta love it.
Dr. Pepper (author)  JamesRPatrick4 years ago
ahhh. thanks so much
CementTruck4 years ago
Great testament to the coolness of your Great grandfather that you would like to remember him by doing this.
Dr. Pepper (author)  CementTruck4 years ago
thanks. oh and this thing weighs like 30lbs!
Dr. Pepper (author)  Eviil~~PikmiN__{7}4 years ago
ohhh! thank you so much. I'm glad you liked it. Did you have any questions about it?
Some Dork4 years ago
I love this, great story and great project. I have the same memories of my grandfather, this really speaks to me. Inspiring work.
Dr. Pepper (author)  Some Dork4 years ago
wow thanks so much. As you can see this is not the most popular 'ible but your feedback is greatly appreceated.
agis684 years ago
nice job!!!...I fix one for my fishing tools
Dr. Pepper (author)  agis684 years ago
cool thanks for checking it out. man, it is so heavy but so gorgeous. I'm so proud that I finished it and it looks great!
Old printers and scanners are an awesome and super cheap source for stainless steal rods. I have a box of them. Oh, so pretty!!
elect-ric4 years ago
I still use one. The length on all these toolboxes was based on a large hacksaw so you did'nt have to take it to bits everytime you used it Great Idea
Dr. Pepper (author)  elect-ric4 years ago
jacob2die44 years ago
nice toolbox.. but i cant seem to understand the staples n how did u do the corners? dovetails would have been nice, i know its a copy of ur grandads but cant hurt to improve the design, n use some genuine old joiner tricks.. n all the power tools too.. would have used hand tools, but guess i am a nerd then..
Dr. Pepper (author)  jacob2die44 years ago
umm... thanks for the feedback. If you used hand tools then do you know how long this project would take you? this is the design i'm staying with though dovetails would have looked good.

hi :) i know it would take a bit longer, iam a joiner/cabinetmaker or what its called in english ( iam from denmark, and here its called furniture maker ) so i rely on my hand tools, and its a joy for me to make things in the old way, ofcorse i use i planer sometimes, but try to use handplanes only :) but as i said, nice toolbox :)
Dr. Pepper (author)  jacob2die44 years ago
ohh, thats cool. I'm a carpenter and I make stuff but I just don't know how you you use hand tools. thanks for looking

pricesam124 years ago
This is so awesome, love it!
tulekah4 years ago
there is something deeply symbolic and spiritually meaningful in what you have done. much more than if you had done what i am going to do i.e. copy the toolbox of a unknown stranger,
Dr. Pepper (author)  tulekah4 years ago
uhh... thanks i guess that was a compliment but, the toolbox looks so awesome and I think you should use my 'ible because it's pretty good
i have a highfalutin' convoluted way of writing, sorry. what i meant is the it is very cool to re-create something that is part of your own family history; and that i am going to use your 'ible myself.
Dr. Pepper (author)  tulekah4 years ago
ohhhh, ok, thats so awesome. did you vote?
nickodemus4 years ago
I'm sorry about the loss of your Great-Grandfather, this is a great way to honor him. And like unclelar said, I think he would be proud.
unclelar4 years ago
I think that your Great Grandpa would be proud of what you have made.
Nice job !
Dr. Pepper (author)  unclelar4 years ago
Thank you so much i think he would too.