Handyman's Toolbox

Introduction: Handyman's Toolbox

In this instructable I will be showing you how to make a very simple handyman's chest out of cedar. This project is extremely simple to build and can be finished in less than a day, and also teaches woodworking techniques, such as "dovetailing" and appropriate tool usage, for all those looking to learn some basic woodworking techniques.

I will assume that you, the reader, have a limited knowledge of woodworking and appropriate tools, and I will make the following steps as easy to understand as possible.

Step 1: Materials


  • 6.5ft. x 8in. x 3/4in. plank of wood(I chose cedar wood because of its quality, and ability to resist pests and rotting, but any plank will do)
  • 1 in. nails(if nails are not available, wood glue can be used, but keep in mind that nails are stronger)
  • Hinge and lock( w/appropriate screws)


  • Jigsaw or rotary saw
  • Sander
  • Hammer
  • chisel
  • screwdriver
  • hand saw(not pictured)
  • clamp
  • measuring tape
  • right angle

Step 2: Body Panels

Take your plank of wood and cut four 16 in. x 8in. pieces, and two 6.5in. x 8in. pieces, using the right angle tool to make sure the lines you cut are plumb. these pieces will be the middle and side panels, respectively.

Step 3: Making the Lid

make four parallel lines about 3/4 in. from each edge with a pencil, and, using a hammer and chisel, chip off the outside parts, while making sure that the rim is still thicker than 3/8 in. To make this easier, it helps to cut along the lines with a wood saw before chipping so that the wood can be removed without damaging the plank.

Step 4: Dovetailing

Put the five remaining panels down so that one 16x8 in. piece is in the middle, with all the pieces on their respective edges(look to pic 3 for help). The 6.5x8 in. pieces should have the shorter side facing the center board, otherwise when cut, the box will be somewhat awkwardly shaped. The dark spaces in the picture are places that need to be cut out, so that they look like the pieces in pic 3.

For those of you who are experienced woodworkers, yes, I realize this is not exactly how to create dovetails. A dovetail joint is an interlocking joint between two pieces of wood(look on a wooden cabinet, and you will probably see it).It is somewhat similar to how puzzle pieces interlock, in that they cannot be pulled apart.They have to slide sideways to come apart(hard to understand, I know)

Step 5: Attaching the Hinges, Lid, and Lock

Attach the parts together at their respective sides, making sure there are no gaps in the panels. Hammer in the nails, preferably 2 on each short side( 6.5in. to 8in.), and 4 on each long one(16in.). If you are using wood glue, apply it liberally to each joint and side, and set it to dry after making sure there are no gaps.

All that's left is to attach the hinges and the lock, and this project is done. Make sure that both hinges and lock are evenly spaced on the box.

You are finished with your instructable!

Leave a comment if you have a way to make this build more AWESOME and check out my other instructables.

Step 6: Notes

I would like to give thanks to my dad, who took the time to get all the materials for me(however reluctantly), and for teaching me the basics of woodworking.

Overall this project cost around $25.00 if you had to buy all the materials. the tools that are used, however can cost upwards of $100, depending on the quality of the items you buy. Keep in mind also, to buy extra wood in case you mess up.

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    7 years ago on Step 5

    I would make the sides of the box with dovetails instead of the bottom