Tool Tote

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Project by CodyM posted 1070 days ago 2929 views 10 times favorited 15 comments Add to Favorites Watch

Tool tote made similar to Roy Underhill’s infamous tote. Since I don’t have Roy’s book “The Woodwrights Apprentice” this tote is a bit different than the original. The main difference is the size. I made mine 20” long x 10” wide x 5” tall as a smaller size to carry around misc. tools while doing home improvement projects. Another difference is the angle of the sides. In “The Woodwrights Workbook” there is a page that just touches on the general info about the tote, and in it Roy writes that the splay of the sides is 5:3. After laying out the angle and stepping back to look at it, it looked a but to steep so I decreased the angle to 5:2. And since I have been wanting to try my hand at a distressed finish with milk paints I decided to try it on this project. So the entire tote is made of alder, 1/2” on the sides, ends, and bottom, and 7/8” for the center partition. Corners are joined with a rabbeted butt joint reinforced with 1 1/2” 15ga. finish nails. The bottom is also set into rabbets in the sides. The center partition is set into dadoes in the ends and bottom and once again finish nails are added. This little project turned out to be more difficult than I thought it would be. The compound angles combined with the rabbets made for some choice words being used in frustration. Once it was all glued up it was time to add the “distressing.” This included hammer blows, screwdriver thrusts, cut nails thrown, bolts and nuts gouged all around, and a few slides down the driveway to give it the illusion of age. I also sanded all the corners and the edges in certain spots very aggressively to give them a nice rounded over look. Then onto the milk paint. I used barn red and soldier blue, both of the Old Fashioned brand. First a coat of the barn red, and once dry I added more distressing and sanded a bit. Then a coat of soldier blue with more sanding and distressing to let some of the red show through in certain spots. Once that was done I wiped on some oil based stain to give it a grimy and dirty look. Then in order to protect all the abuse I just inflicted on the tote I applied two coats of gel polyurethane. I think the antiqued finish turned out so well that I am now looking for another project that would look good finished that way. Thanks for looking!

-- Cody - Salt Lake City, UT

15 comments so far

View Woodwrecker's profile


3582 posts in 2201 days

#1 posted 1069 days ago

Nice work Cody. I think you did old Roy proud!

-- Having fun...Eric

View Lidiya Blaznina's profile

Lidiya Blaznina

847 posts in 1164 days

#2 posted 1069 days ago

Interesting design,Cody !

-- Lidiya,Russia.

View Brett's profile


881 posts in 1385 days

#3 posted 1069 days ago

Great job! It looks fantastic. I really like how the distressed look turned out. I would like to be able to get nice results like you did.

-- Hand Crafted by Brett Peterson John 3:16

View clieb91's profile


3263 posts in 2560 days

#4 posted 1069 days ago

Cody, looks nice and used. Nice work on the finish.


-- Chris L. "Don't Dream it, Be it."- (Purveyors of Portable Fun and Fidgets)

View woodzy's profile


416 posts in 1304 days

#5 posted 1069 days ago

Nice work. I need one of these.

-- Anthony

View helluvawreck's profile


15582 posts in 1492 days

#6 posted 1069 days ago

It looks like an antique, Cody; nice job.

-- If a man does not keep pace with his companions, perhaps it is because he hears a different drummer. Let him step to the music which he hears, however measured or far away. Henry David Thoreau

View Bearpaw's profile


206 posts in 2346 days

#7 posted 1069 days ago

Nice job. Liked the distressed finish. On a smaller scale this can also be used as a center piece on a table with fruit in it.

-- "When we build, let us think we build forever." John Ruskin

View itsmic's profile


1419 posts in 1744 days

#8 posted 1069 days ago

Very Nice Tote, the design is a good one to use, Your execution of construction and finsish are execelent, it looks like a very old well built, well designed tote, thanks for sharing

-- It's Mic Keep working and sharing

View bob62's profile


160 posts in 1243 days

#9 posted 1069 days ago

Great Finish Cody!

-- Robert, Mississippi,

View Ken90712's profile


14878 posts in 1814 days

#10 posted 1069 days ago

Well done, I like the old fashion design of this.

-- Ken, "Everyday above ground is a good day!"

View Grant Libramento's profile

Grant Libramento

173 posts in 1605 days

#11 posted 1069 days ago

Very nice. That tote will see many generations of good use.

-- Grant, Tryon, NC

View ChefHDAN's profile


294 posts in 1475 days

#12 posted 1069 days ago

I always love the way some projects get started and so much is learned from the start to the finish. Congrats on a great project, I haven’t had the courage or time lately to attempt the compound angle work you conquered, but one day I’ll take a shot at it, and then I guess I’ll beat the hell out of the project too!!!

View CodyM's profile


48 posts in 1446 days

#13 posted 1069 days ago

Thanks for all the great comments everyone! It’s always encouraging when other people also think a project turns out nice.

-- Cody - Salt Lake City, UT

View Jim Crockett (USN Retired)'s profile

Jim Crockett (USN Retired)

852 posts in 2359 days

#14 posted 1068 days ago

Nice job! You certainly got the distressed look. For the life of me, I can’t fathom that people want to take a nice piece of work and then intentionally beat the h* out of it to make it look old and worn out. I just can’t wrap my brain around that! Guess that this is just another case of different strokes for different folks.

-- A veteran is someone who, at one point in his/her life, wrote a blank check made payable to "The United States of America," for an amount of "up to and including his/her life".

View MGoBlue7's profile


40 posts in 1428 days

#15 posted 1066 days ago

I think you just found an old tool tote and took some pictures. ;-)

It looks awesome. Great job Cody, and thanks for the detailed description of the “finishing” process.

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