Many moons ago I built some small wooden tool boxes to use as Christmas gifts. The plans have been here for quite awhile. Recently I have received some requests to make up toolbox kits that can be assembled by kids as a craft or woodworking project. For some reason I thought the original design was a little bit boring, so I came up with this!
It's essentially the same design with different proportions and curved ends instead of the straight cut. The curved ends were mostly the result of wanting to add a little bit of character to the design. However, since I intended to cut the kits on my CNC router I also figured I could fully utilize the capabilities of the machine by cutting a curve (so yeah, just because I could).
The changed proportions are a bit of a different story. I was trying to come up with an efficient way of cutting these on the CNC, but was having difficulty finding material that I really liked. Most inexpensive 1x material is so warped and full of knots that I just wasn't happy. Then I discovered some really nice 1x8x4' knot-free pine at Lowes. Eureka!
It cost a little bit more but I think the results were worth it. I fit the new box dimensions to the material's 4 foot length. That makes the box a little bit wider and a little bit shorter, but I really like the new proportions. Also for the sake of efficiency, it allowed me to utilize 1 foot dowel lengths (minus a saw kerf).
Unlike the original wooden tool box plans, cutting this is a bit more complicated. In all honesty, if you're using hand tools or even a miter saw, this would be simpler if you adjust the dimensions to utilize standard dimensional sizes. That being said, the whole project can be cut from a single 1x8x4' (3/4"x7-1/4"x48" actual size) board. I used pine, but building this out of cedar would make a really nice rustic planter box that would hold up to soil and water outdoors.
After crosscutting and ripping the parts to overall size, the curves can be laid out and cut. If you're making a bunch of these, say for a kid's craft, then I would recommend making a pattern and then cutting the curves with a router. Check out this video for a great basic tutorial on how to use router templates. Without using a router and template, a jigsaw, scroll saw, or bandsaw would be the best for cutting the curves.
If all that seems like more than you want to tackle, perhaps a precut wooden tool box kit would help you get started more quickly. I cut the kits myself on my CNC router and they're ready to ship. Just follow this link or click the picture below.
The dimension for drilling the dowel hole is marked at 1/2". Since this is the same diameter as the dowel itself you might need to adjust it a little bit. I usually make the hole about 1/32" over the actual size of the dowel itself. One thing to note is that dowel diameters vary sometimes. So the best thing is to get the dowel and then make the hole to fit.
Something else I do to help make the assembly go better is to drill 1/16" pilot holes for the 4d (4 penny, 1-1/2" long) finish nails. Pine is soft enough that splitting isn't usually an issue, but holes still give that extra bit of protection. Since I have used these as woodworking projects for kids, it DOES help to get the nails started and going in straight.
With the nails you don't really need glue but it does make for a stronger assembly if you'd like. However, the dowel definitely should be glued in - a little dot is all that's needed.
I created a short YouTube video that might help you with the assembly process. If it doesn't show up below then you can click on this link and it should take you to the video on YouTube.
You can view the plans below or click here.