Introduction: Custom Storage Box for New Tools

I recently got myself a new drill/driver set. Hooray for me!

Like a lot of tool kits that you see around, they did not come with a hard sided case, rather a "storage bag" which is essentially a small heavy weight canvas tote bag. No internal pockets or anything, just a bag with a zipper on top. I don't imagine ever actually using them to store, or transport the tools.

Maybe they'd be a good lunchbag. They're actually a good size to be an overnight bag for my 3 year old when she goes to Grandmas for a weekend.

Anyway, I needed a better way to store them, so I built them each a storage box. Although I built a two boxes, I'm only going to show one here. The second is only superficially different.

Step 1: Tools and Materials

The tools I used:

Miter Saw
Coping saw (any small hand saw)

3/8" bit
19/64" bit
other larger bit (see step 10)

Pocket Hole Jig & right angle clamp

Router w/ 1/4" straight bit & edge guide

Drill stops




1/2" plywood (base of box)
1/4" plywood (lid of box)
1x4 lumber (sides of box)
3/8" dowel

1 1/4" pocket hole screws x12
1" pocket hole screw x4

Wood glue

Window sash lock (actually only need half of it)

Spray paint

Step 2: Plan Your Layout and Drill Your Holes

Put your tool on the 1/2 inch plywood along with any other accessories you want. You can see that I chose to give the battery its own spot rather than store it attached to the tool. Make sure to leave 3/4" around the edges for the 1x4 walls.

Using your 3/8" bit, hold it as vertically as possible and snug against the side of your tool. Mark a few spots on each edge of the tool with the bit. It helps a bit to tap the back of the bit with a hammer.

Set your drill stop about 1/4" from the end of the bit. If you don't have drill stops, people use masking tape. Otherwise, just eye-ball it, the most important thing is not drilling all the way through.

Keep the drill at vertical as possible. Any wobble will result in the pegs not fitting tightly.

(actually, if you did drill all the way through, it wouldn't really be that bad)

Step 3: The Pegs

Cut your dowel into pegs.

When in the pegs are in the holes you drilled in the previous step, they should be no higher than 1/2" below the top of the 1x4. Otherwise they'll be in the way off the lid.

I cut the pegs by hand with a coping saw, so the ends were not even. I cleaned them up on a sander.

Step 4: Adjust Your Fit If Necessary

Push them into the holes and test the fit for the tools. It should be a snug fit.

When dry fitting my tool I decided that there was too much wiggle room, so I moved two pegs closer on the battery and added another peg at the bottom of the handle. You can use the existing holes as a guide.

Then reinsert your pegs and dry fit again. Repeat until you're happy.

If the fit is close, you can wrap the pegs with tape to snug it up rather than re-drill the hole.

You can see the tighter fit on the battery between the pictures.

Step 5: Glue Pegs

Smear a little bit of yellow wood glue on the ends of the pegs and push them into the holes with a twist. After a few minutes wipe up the squeeze out.

Let it cure.

Test your fit again. At this point you'd need to cut the pegs flush with the base, but it'll be a lot easier to do that now than after you get the walls on.

Step 6: Build the Walls

With your tool in place, take your one-by lumber and stand it up. Make sure that the lumber is at least 1/2" higher than the top of the pegs. I was able to use 1x4s. If you're building a box for a sander, a reciprocating saw or something bigger you might need 1x6 or even 1x8.

Set your edge guide on your router so that you're cutting a 1/4" channel about 1/4" from one edge. Ideally you will have a single piece of 1x4 that you can do this striaght through on. I was using a few different pieces of scrap and it was fine.

Cut your sides to the dimensions of your box. I put the pocket holes on the ends of the short sides. Then I added a set of pocket holes on the bottom of the long sides (the side without the router'd slot).

(Remember that the screw should head in towards the "meat" of the board. So the pocket screw holes will end up on the outside of the box. You can fill them in with dowel or plugs, or just leave them as is, this is a functional project here, and the holes don't hurt anything)

On one of the short sides, you should cut down the routered groove so that the top of the board comes up to the bottom of the slot.

The most important thing when screwing 4 walls together is in keeping the slot lined up at the corners.

Side note: if you plan on using pocket holes in lots of projects it's worth getting at least one pocket hole clamp. The Kreg Automaxx automatic adjusting system seem to be much more fiddly than advertised. I find myself needing to adjust it between most clamping. But it's still super useful.

Step 7: Attach to Box to the Base

Attach the walls of the box to the base. Use the pocket holes to screw them into the base.

Kreg's screw length recommendations are based on the assumption that you're screwing lumber to other lumber that's the same thickness. If your lumber is not matched, there's some guessing needed. In this case I'm joining 3/4" lumber to 1/2". What I did was to set the jig for 3/4", drill the hole in the thicker lumber, and then use a 1" screw rather than the 1 1/4". It worked out well.

As long as your lumber was flat and straight, everything should meet up pretty tightly.

Step 8: Cut Your Lid

I got the dimensions of my lid by just lining up the box with my 1/4" plywood and making it off.

You could measure the inside dimensions of your box and then add 1/2" to your width and 1" to the length.

However you get them, cut your 1/4" to those dimensions.

1/4" plywood can also be cut with a utility knife and a straight edges. A dozen passes with a sharp blade will usually be sufficient. This is what I did.

If you're going to use a saw, know that it will splinter and tear out, use painters tape to minimize this.

The one side that you cut the slot off of should let you slide this lid into place.

Glue a piece of scrap onto it so you have something to open/close it with.

Step 9: Attach the Latch

Attach the window sash lock so that the curved locking part sticks up over the edge when in the locked position but not when "open".

This is why I said that you only need half of a window sash lock. I was able to find a half of a window sash lock at my local Habitat for Humanity ReStore for 50¢.

(If you don't have a ReStore near you, then I'm sad for you. You have my condolences.)

Step 10: Accessory Blocks

As this is an impact driver, I can probably assume that 90+% of the time I'm going to have a Phillips, flat or magnetic bit holder in it. So it makes sense to keep them in the box.

Cut two pieces of scrap to fit in the corners. In the larger one I drilled two holes with a 19/64ths bit. The other one was with a larger bit. It was bigger than 3/8ths but smaller than 1/2. (the making was worn off and I didn't feel like getting my calipers)

The blocks were just glued into the corner. The clamps may have been overkill, but that's what I did.

Step 11: Put It on a Shelf.

I painted it green. It's a lot easier to ask someone to go get the green box than to try to explain which black box you're referring to.

I was a little worried about getting paint into the slot for the lid or the accessory holders. It didn't end up being a problem.

The light color also let the black marker show up better.