Hand made tool box - my first ever project

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Project by Plane & Simple Neil posted 1893 days ago 5407 views 2 times favorited 21 comments Add to Favorites Watch

This is my first woodworking project by hand. Took a class with a local cabinet maker who teaches everything by hand. This started as rough lumber (poplar & maple) and everything had to be re-sawn by hand, planed and joined by hand. Not a power tool in sight. I had to learn hand drilling, sharpening, sawing, planing and joinery. Getting everything square was really difficult and learning the joinery was tricky too. Getting the side and end pieces 4-square was a killer. I must build a shooting board!

I opted for a through dovetails for the corners and a through wedged mortise and tenon for the centre handle. I used some old domestic spalted maple for the thick veneer on the handle and also the wedges in the tenon. It was lying around and so I thought I’d make use of it. I book matched it and it feels good to grip. The handle I made to fit my hand and rasped it out and finished with some french files.

The hardest thing was probably re-sawning the base by hand. It came form a piece an inch thick and I needed a piece only about a quarter inch thick. Once I hand sawn it then I used winding sticks and a smoothing plane to get it square. Getting anything square is a dark art in my opinion. But hardest is relative – I’m a complete novice and so cutting accurate pressure fit joints took some practice!! In short nothing was easy, i made a hundred mistakes but it was all great fun. I realized that the project was about the journey and not so much the end product but actually I’m quite please with the end result too.

Finished in oil and then wax – just applied last coat today. Still looks a bit wet in some of the photos. It measures 12” wide by 24” long and the handle is 9” high at the top.

-- Neil, Connecticut - Hand planing is good for the soul!

21 comments so far

View Cantputjamontoast's profile


322 posts in 2016 days

#1 posted 1893 days ago

Very nice salem

I have #3-#8 planes asking me why can’t we do fun stuff like that?????

Thank you for sharing

-- "Not skilled enough to wipe jam on toast!"

View PurpLev's profile


8475 posts in 2232 days

#2 posted 1893 days ago

Very nice!

good joints, and laminations! doesn’t look like a “first” project… far from it

welcome aboard.

-- ㊍ When in doubt - There is no doubt - Go the safer route.

View woodworm's profile


14124 posts in 2174 days

#3 posted 1893 days ago

Very nice first project.

-- masrol, kuala lumpur, MY.

View cabinetmaster's profile


10874 posts in 2141 days

#4 posted 1893 days ago

Great looking project for a first time woodworker. Keep up the excellent work.

-- Jerry--A man can never have enough tools or clamps

View tinnman65's profile


1096 posts in 1997 days

#5 posted 1893 days ago

Very nice, I love that handle!

-- Paul--- Creativity is allowing yourself to make mistakes. Art is knowing which ones to keep. — Scott Adams

View a1Jim's profile


111999 posts in 2160 days

#6 posted 1893 days ago

Good design ,good workmanship, good build

-- Custom furniture

View Canexican's profile


106 posts in 2260 days

#7 posted 1893 days ago

Excellent work, I need to go back to using more handtools. Your project is very motivating.

Thanks for posting…


View spanky46's profile


977 posts in 1974 days

#8 posted 1893 days ago

Nice job! To look at it you can’t tell its hand tools only!

-- spanky46 -- Never enough clamps...Never enough tools...Never enough time.

View GaryK's profile


10262 posts in 2572 days

#9 posted 1893 days ago

Very nice. Especially using only hand tools!

-- Gary - Never pass up the opportunity to make a mistake look like you planned it that way - Tyler, TX

View Gary's profile (online now)


6855 posts in 2016 days

#10 posted 1893 days ago

Nice work. Especially with hand tools only

-- Gary, DeKalb Texas only 4 miles from the mill

View Napaman's profile


5314 posts in 2660 days

#11 posted 1893 days ago

very impressive…

-- Matt--Proud LJ since 2007

View Dan'um Style's profile

Dan'um Style

12805 posts in 2566 days

#12 posted 1893 days ago

a lot of really cool projects posted today. this one is a big favorite. really live the design on this box. very inspiring.
welcome to lumberjocks

-- keeping myself entertained ... Humor and fun lubricate the brain

View TopamaxSurvivor's profile


14548 posts in 2259 days

#13 posted 1893 days ago

Nice job for a firts!! Welcome to LJ ;-))

-- "some old things are lovely, warm still with life ... of the forgotten men who made them." - D.H. Lawrence

View knackonwood's profile


38 posts in 2024 days

#14 posted 1893 days ago

Very nice! You should be and deserve to be very proud!

View WoodSpanker's profile


519 posts in 1975 days

#15 posted 1893 days ago

Well watta ya know… they still make hand tools! I gotta get me some of those! Seriously, tho… nice work, superb craftsmanship. And Welcome! :)

-- Adventure? Heh! Excitement? Heh! A Woodworker craves not these things!

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