Introduction: DIY Japanese Toolbox

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This is a simple take on the classic Japanese toolbox which features a wedge to close the lid together. It has a two tone design, parts of it stained and a rope handle in the lid so you could carry the box with one hand if you wanted to, in addition to the two handles on the sides. Overall this is a very simple and straightforward project which could be made in any wood, any size, and style.

Step 1: Cutting the Wood

For this project I'm using 1x10 inch pine and I began with cutting all the pieces to size. This is the cut list that I used:

A) 1 @ 15 x 9 1/4 inches (bottom)
B) 2 @ 15 x 6 inches (long sides)

C) 2 @ 9 1/4 x 5 1/4 inches (short sides)

D) 2 @ 10 3/4 x 2 1/2 inches (top sides)

E) 1 @ 10 3/4 x 1 1/2 inches (lid side)

F) 1 @ 10 3/4 x 2 1/2 inches (wedge & wedge fitting, cut in the middle at an angle)

G) 1 @ 9 1/4 x 11 inches (lid)

H) 2 @ 2 x 9 1/4 inches (handles)

I) 2 @ 4 1/2 X 2 1 4 inches (feet)

Step 2: Handles & Wedge

I cut a curve for the handles on the bandsaw, as well as cut the wedge piece at an angle.

Step 3: Handtools

To clean up the angled wedge cut, I used a handplane. To smooth out the inside of the handles, I used a spokeshave.

Step 4: Holes

Next, I marked out where all the screw holes would go to put the box together. I decided to add quite a few holes to the box, because I'm planning to add plugs and I figured it would lend a nice decorative touch. However there obviously isn't necessary to add as many as I did. I countersank each hole to make room for the plug.

Step 5: Assembly

Once the holes were drilled it was time to assemble the box together using screws. The traditional method of joining a Japanese toolbox is nails, however screws provides the opportunity for plugs, and are also easier to use.

Step 6: Feet

To bring the box up from the ground a little, I decided to add four feet, however that isn't a necessary step.

Step 7: Handle

To make the box a little more practical to carry, and to lift the lid off, I decided to drill two holes in the lid that were large enough for some rope to fit through.

Step 8: Sanding

Next up sanding to make the box nice and smooth!

Step 9: Staining

I decided to stain part of the box a weather grey stain, so first I removed the parts I didn't want to stain to leave them natural.

Step 10: Plugs

To fill in the holes with the screws, I first measured the depth of the countersink, and then I sat up a stop block on the bandsaw to cut all the plugs at once. After that I secured each plug with a little glue and used a mallet to bang them in.

Step 11: Touch-up

To make the plugs nice and even, I brought out the sander again. and then touched up parts of the box with some more stained where it was removed by the sander.

Step 12: Rope Handle

At this point I added the rope for the handle, simply by tying two knots on the underside of the lid to keep the handle in place.

Step 13: Finish

For a final finish, I put shellac all over the outside of the box to provide some protection.

Step 14: Conclusion - Watch the Video

For a much better perspective of the process, make sure to watch the video that goes over each step in much more detail.