Japanese Tool Box

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Project by Orion Woods posted 12-27-2010 01:52 AM 5397 views 3 times favorited 8 comments Add to Favorites Watch

Sitting back and enjoying the different projects here on LJ inspired new projects for me that I had never even thought of before. Needing storage like every other workshop out there drove me to try my hand at the japanese tool box I had seen others do. I really liked the style and simplicity of them. My first attempt did not go so well (although not TOO bad and still useful) and was definitely a learning process, thankfully I learned enough to make this example for my dad for christmas.

It measures 11” wide 22” long and 6” tall and is made of poplar from the local big blue box store. Instead of the simple butt joints that are traditional with these boxes I used finger joints as I wasn’t ready for mortise and tenon just yet. All the top pieces are pinned and glued with oak dowels. I edge glued the bottom panel and top panel aand bottom panel rides in a dado in sides. Finish was just a couple of coats of tung oil with a steel wool rub down between coats. The Poplar has some great colors in it that really popped out with the oil and i wwould have hated to take away from that with a colored stain. As it was it was red black green and light yellow.

overall this was a great project that I enjoyed doing and can’t wait to make another for myself! Hope you enjoy my first post and comments are certainly welcome!

-- Brian

8 comments so far

View NormG's profile


6112 posts in 3004 days

#1 posted 12-27-2010 02:05 AM

Great job, sure it will be appreciated also

-- Norman - I never never make a mistake, I just change the design.

View MatthewG's profile


85 posts in 2779 days

#2 posted 12-27-2010 02:20 AM


Nicely done project! I am not familiar with this design. Does the lid slide back and forth to allow you to lift it off? Are there handles to carry it?


-- Matthew, from beautiful Wisconsin USA

View Orion Woods's profile

Orion Woods

67 posts in 2769 days

#3 posted 12-27-2010 02:29 AM


Yes the lid slides back and forth to open and to lock it in position, notice ifyou can that one end of the lid appears longer than the other for this purpose. Look for japanese toolboxes here for other and check out daiku dojo for a bit of a detailed explaination. I did not add handles although it would have been a good idea and very easy, don’t know why I didnt, my mind was on other christmas presents I guess!

-- Brian

View RonPeters's profile


713 posts in 2881 days

#4 posted 12-27-2010 03:04 AM

Nice job! Poplar is a popular wood. I used it for my bench drawers.

-- “Once more unto the breach, dear friends...” Henry V - Act III, Scene I

View nordichomey's profile


100 posts in 3102 days

#5 posted 12-27-2010 04:14 AM

Looks great! I have making some of these on my list. You have given me a few new ideas!

-- nordichomey

View RayCurtis's profile


128 posts in 3164 days

#6 posted 12-27-2010 10:28 AM

Looks good Great idea.

-- RayCurtis

View souichiro's profile


369 posts in 3346 days

#7 posted 12-27-2010 06:33 PM

Great box, I really like the design. And the poplar looks amazing! I always hope for these finds when I’m in there looking at boards. :)

-- Dale, Oregon

View stefang's profile


15881 posts in 3334 days

#8 posted 12-27-2010 09:20 PM

I love those Japanese tool boxes. The top is very practical and ingenious. You did a fine job on this one. Personally I think you made a good choice using box joints for appearance sake.

-- Mike, an American living in Norway.

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