Tool Tote

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Project by Peter Oxley posted 625 days ago 2912 views 18 times favorited 16 comments Add to Favorites Watch

It turns out that the kind of woodworking I want to do doesn’t pay very well, so as some of you may know, I’ve returned to school full time. One of my classes required a project – pretty much anything we wanted to make, as long as we could relate it to the class somehow. I’ve always wanted to build a tool tote, and it seemed like a good fit for the project, so …

The toolbox is about 19” x 7”. The lighter wood is hickory, and the darker wood is black walnut. The bottom of the box is maple ply. The box joints and handle tenons are about 1/8” proud for some extra visual detail.

If this tool tote looks a little familiar, it’s because it was heavily inspired by a box made by Maveric777. Thanks, Mav!
Click for details

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16 comments so far

View Boxguy's profile


1445 posts in 900 days

#1 posted 625 days ago

Peter, your tool tote is a lovely build. The Green and Green/Arts and Crafts joinery is very nice. I am especially drawn to your handle as it is really an eye-catching feature. There is style and grace in this design, nice job. I am curious about what you are taking classes in and how this tote applies.

This is a tote I made. I offer it not in a spirit of competition, but rather, in a spirit of sharing ideas and techniques. This design is based on the pictures of Roy Underhill’s toolbox at the start of his show as he is making his way through the city on the way to his shop. It uses no metal fasteners and will really hold up to wear. This site explains the build.

-- Big Al in IN

View Luke's profile


538 posts in 1926 days

#2 posted 625 days ago

Been browsing the recents tonight and this is by far the coolest thing I’ve seen yet. Good job with the handle especially.

-- LAS,

View TopamaxSurvivor's profile


14725 posts in 2308 days

#3 posted 625 days ago

nice work! Should easily be a top 3 .

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

View Tony's profile


978 posts in 2662 days

#4 posted 625 days ago

Woodworking we want to do does not pay, because most people do not want to pay for quality items which will last for there lifetime, they want to throw them away and get something new every few weeks.

The tool tote looks great, I especially like the grip – I hope you re enjoying school.

-- Tony - All things are possible, just some things are more difficult than others! - SKYPE: Heron2005 (

View Douglas Bordner's profile

Douglas Bordner

3963 posts in 2696 days

#5 posted 625 days ago

Beautiful, Peter. Love the tote handle a bunch!

-- "Bordnerizing" perfectly good lumber for over a decade.

View HorizontalMike's profile


6925 posts in 1546 days

#6 posted 624 days ago

I bet this will get quite a bit of use! Nothing like having some of you WW with you at all times! Cool!

-- HorizontalMike -- "Woodpeckers understand..."

View ChesapeakeBob's profile


341 posts in 2115 days

#7 posted 624 days ago

Awesome tool tote. I always like the curved top handles. Really nice work and design.

-- Chesapeake Bob, Southern Maryland

View Jamie Speirs's profile

Jamie Speirs

4118 posts in 1488 days

#8 posted 624 days ago

An amazing tool tote

To make a living at woodwork you need a bread & butter

line of products. Something you can batch. Say you made these

tool tote and sold a few day, that lets you get on to the bigger

projects. It has kept a crust on my table for over 40yrs

I love my job. :) Even when I need to turn 100 table legs or 500

cutting board stands, I think of the freedom that I will have.


-- Who is the happiest of men? He who values the merits of others, and in their pleasure takes joy, even as though 'twere his own. --Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

View DaddyZ's profile


2381 posts in 1672 days

#9 posted 624 days ago

Nice Looking Tote !!!

-- Pat - Worker of Wood, Collector of Tools, Father of one

View Peter Oxley's profile

Peter Oxley

1426 posts in 2506 days

#10 posted 624 days ago

Thanks, everyone, for the comments and favorites!

@ Boxguy – I’m actually a computer science major, but a Human Development class required us to build a project to use as a sort of object lesson. I’ve seen Roy Underhill’s tote before. It’s cool, but really not my style. What do you find to be the advantage to the tapered sides? It seems to me that something meant to be carried has a maximum outside dimension, and the tapers reduce the volume of the container. I like to build without fasteners, too, but will use them without apology when I think they are called for. This tote has no fasteners.

@ Tony – You’re preaching to the choir, my friend! I try to explain that my stuff might cost twice as much, but if it lasts 10 times as long, that’s a good investment. They either don’t get it or don’t care! How are things going for you? Doing much traveling this year?

@ Jamie – Thanks for your thoughts. It’s cool that you have a production model that works for you. Unfortunately for me, what you are suggesting falls squarely in the category of “what I don’t want to do.” I get bored pretty easily. You say 500 cutting board stands, and my eyes glaze over. For the past six years, I’ve been making a living as a cabinetmaker, but it’s too repetitive for me, and I was starting to hate woodworking. I’d rather love woodworking and just build gifts and stuff for me than come to hate it in order to make a living at it.

Lots of people have commented on the handle – I assume the grip is catching your eye? I made a short straight segment in the hickory, and then glued walnut cheeks on all four sides of that straight section. Then I did most of the shaping with the spindle sander.

Thanks again for the comments, everyone!

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View a1Jim's profile


112015 posts in 2209 days

#11 posted 624 days ago

Nice work

-- Custom furniture

View Jamie Speirs's profile

Jamie Speirs

4118 posts in 1488 days

#12 posted 624 days ago

Peter, I think you have found the balance..

When I do a run my head is mashed, I make silly

mistakes. Jamie

-- Who is the happiest of men? He who values the merits of others, and in their pleasure takes joy, even as though 'twere his own. --Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

View Roger's profile


14373 posts in 1436 days

#13 posted 623 days ago

A very nice tool-tote

-- Roger from KY. Work/Play/Travel Safe.

View Maveric777's profile


2690 posts in 1709 days

#14 posted 574 days ago

Wow! A little late to see this, but glad I finally got to take a gander at this piece. Peter you did a stand up job on this jewel. I always had a soft spot for good wood contrast and you nailed it my friend. Flat out tickled I was able to be a small inspiration on this killer tote… Very well done Bud!

-- Dan ~ Texarkana, Tx.

View Douglas Bordner's profile

Douglas Bordner

3963 posts in 2696 days

#15 posted 277 days ago

That’s glorious, Peter. Gleaning ideas for a gift project. Much to contemplate here. Thx.

-- "Bordnerizing" perfectly good lumber for over a decade.

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