Tugboat's Toolbox #1: Inspired by MaFe's Recycled-wood Toolbox

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Blog entry by Tugboat706 posted 06-25-2012 09:31 AM 4440 reads 0 times favorited 3 comments Add to Favorites Watch
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I’ve been playing with wood for quite a while, but beyond the simple power tools I’d had for a while (scrollsaw, drill, circular saw), I hadn’t really done much, although I’d wanted to. I looked at the shop which has a bunch of random (and some not-so random) power and hand tools. I have stuff I have no idea how to use, that was either given to me, or I’d gotten inexpensively. I knew how to use a bandsaw, although my blade wandered. I have a shaper that an older gentleman whose vision was going gave to me. Tablesaw. Router. I can use those without losing body parts, but that’s the extent of it, no real skill. You get the picture. So I came to the conclusion that too much time on the computer and such was bad for the soul, relative to getting out and learning to make STUFF. So I figured, ‘Hey, my shop is all kinds of disorganized, why not some kind of tool box?’ In searching the internet for ‘plywood toolbox’, one of the top three hits was by some fellow named Mafe, who’d posted ‘Paris Toolbox (A Lumber Jerk in Paris’ which sounded too entertaining to miss. The process he followed was very easy to follow, and seemed like something within my skill set, or at least close enough to learn from and do. So, I have (more or less) copied Mafe’s design with my own scraps of 3/8” pine plywood and a 1×3 which was found under the ply which was long enough for the handle.

Below is the bottom, with the two sides kind of standing there. The inside of the box is 7” x 21.5” wide, dictated by the size of the largest rectangular scrap.

Next, I took another large-ish piece and formed the two end pieces. It looks a lot like Mafe’s, except that I wanted to try a mortise-and-tenon thing with the handle. So I drew a rectangle, and drilled 4 holes in it, and let the scrollsaw do the rest. Not bad so far.

So, here we are! The pieces dry-fitted together on my very rough home-built work table. I had to use the file a little to fit the tenons into their mortises (I keep wanting to say holes), but it went well. I also sanded all the wood, and used a home-made scraper to round off the edges on the handle. So nowI have to glue it?! Indeed.

Now, the depth of my lack of tools hits me. I only have two medium-sized clamps! So we improvise. I have a lot of lead-acid batteries sitting around from my other hobby, model warship combat. So, clamp it up, and weight it down, and make sure everything stays square!

That actually worked! I was feeling pretty good at this point. I continued to follow professor Mafe’s example, and put in a divider bout 5 inches from one end. That left enough room inside the longer compartment for my hammer (it’s a unit of measure, really!), plus some room to spare.

Finally, I added a piece of scrap whitewood (whatever that is) trimmed to fit and drilled to hold my most-used screwdrivers, large and small. I have some bigger ones that I used to work on Jaguars with, but they don’t get used half as often and can stay on the pegboard.

And at that point, I had to do all my chores for Sunday in order that my very understanding wife will continue to allow me to muck about in the shop :) I’ve got more to follow, but I have a tremendous sense of accomplishment. I also have a new book (Taunton’s Complete Illus. Guide to Woodworking) that seems to have guidance on how to use several of the machines that heretofore have been used as tables :)

-The bandsaw blade wander was researched and fixed, amazing what a little knowledge does!
-The older gentleman’s quote was ‘I want to get out of woodworking with the same number of fingers that I started with’. Let me have the bandsaw and the shaper for a small amount, which he then gave to the church. Nice guy.

-- Clark in Georgia

3 comments so far

View mafe's profile


11730 posts in 3116 days

#1 posted 06-25-2012 09:53 AM

Hi Clark,

I can see a wonderful toolbox here! Nice work.
Skills is something we get as we try and that is just hat you did, next time you need a box you now have the set of skills for it – it is that simple.

I have no doubt your skills will grow fast and the machines will slowly become les mystic and more just a motor with a function that we can improve in many ways, but pls keep all the fingers as you go there.

War ship models! That must be quite a skill also? I have a few unfinished ship models here, perhaps I can ask you questions once I get to that…

What a wonderful blog, your writing left me with a big smile that was needed today (one of those days).

Thank you for your kind words, and for letting me know here.
The best of my thoughts,
Mads – a lumberjerk in Copenhagen now…

-- MAD F, the fanatical rhykenologist and vintage architect. Democraticwoodworking.

View doordude's profile


1085 posts in 3009 days

#2 posted 06-28-2012 04:17 AM

good looking tool tote.keep on with the projects

View ramone's profile


18 posts in 1501 days

#3 posted 07-01-2015 08:49 AM

... inspiring …

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