Japanese Toolbox Build

As I mentioned in my last post, my second box project was to build the toolbox design presented in Toshio Odate’s book, Japanese Woodworking Tools: Their Tradition, Spirit, and Use. I started my Japanese toolbox by coming up with some raw dimensions based upon my longest tool I owned at the time. I also studied a great post on the giant Cypress blog showing his build of a similar toolbox. This post is very informative and greatly facilitated construction of my own toolbox.

Japanese Toolbox Side

My version of Odate’s toolbox turned out to be 36” L x 11 1/4” W x 10 5/8” H. A design note: I built the box a little long for my “wingspan” and it makes carrying it fully loaded difficult. One should consider when building their own tool chest.

I built this toolbox in April/May 2014 and it was constructed primarily from 1×12 softwood boards purchased at the home center. The carcase was put together with 6d cut nails. The design of these toolboxes have several very neat features. Outer end boards are thicker to serve as handles (mine were made from 5/4 oak). The lid slides within the top opening to securely close the box without the need for hinges or latches. Like my packing box project, the battens that hold the lid in the toolbox opening are clinch nailed.

Japanese Toolbox End

Construction of this box was fairly straight forward. Cutting the piece for the lid presented my first long rip cut with a handsaw. Also be careful that the nails that hold the top boards do not intersect with the nails that secure the end boards. You may guess why I provide that caution. This seems like a simple concept, but during my first few projects I had some design/layout issues such as this.


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