Project Guide

How to Build a Wooden Toolbox

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1
Cut the Wood
A child using a hand saw to cut a board.

An 18-inch toolbox is long enough to carry a small hand saw and other essential tools but remember, you can tailor these dimensions to suit your needs.


From a 1- x 10-inch board

Measure, mark and cut one 18-inch piece for the bottom of the toolbox.

Measure, mark and cut two 12-inch pieces for the ends of the toolbox.


From a 1- x 5-inch board:

Measure, mark and cut two 19-1/2-inch pieces for the sides of the toolbox.


From a 1-inch dowel:

Measure, mark and cut one 22-inch piece for the toolbox handle.


Tip: Use a combination square or speed square to ensure your cut lines are square.

2
Prepare End Pieces
A child measuring a board.

Dress up the end pieces by cutting off the corners at an angle.

  • Make a mark 3-inches in from both sides of the top edge.
  • Make a mark 3-inches down from the top edge on both sides.
  • Connect the two marks at each corner.
  • Use a hand saw to cut off the corners along those lines.
  • Repeat for the second end piece.


To make the holes for the handle, use a power drill fitted with a 1-inch spade bit.

  • Make a reference mark centered on an end board, 2-inches down from its top edge.
  • Clamp the two end pieces on top of each other, keeping the reference mark visible.
  • Drill straight down at the mark, just until the point of the drill bit emerges on the other side.
  • Remove the drill and flip the clamped pieces over.
  • Insert the tip of the spade bit into the small exit point and continue drilling to complete the hole through both end pieces.
  • Check that the dowel fits into the holes.
3
Assemble the Toolbox
A wooden toolbox.

Sand any rough edges, if desired, and dry-fit the pieces before assembly. 


Mark a reference line 3/8-inch from the bottom edges of pieces that will be nailed. This will help ensure that the 2-inch box nails are aligned to penetrate the center of the adjoining board.


Tip: Start the nails while the board is flat to make assembly easier.


  • Put a thin bead of wood glue on one end of the bottom piece.
  • Align one end piece flush and square with the edge of the bottom piece.
  • Finish hammering three evenly spaced nails through the end piece to secure it to the bottom piece.
  • Wipe away any glue that squeezed out.
  • Repeat for the second end piece.


  • Turn the toolbox on its side and apply a bead of wood glue along the bottom edge and a few inches up the edge of the end pieces.
  • Align one side piece flush with the bottom and end pieces.
  • Finish hammering five evenly spaced nails through the side piece to secure it to the bottom and end pieces. Use two more nails on each end of the end pieces.
  • Wipe away any glue that squeezed out.
  • Flip the box on its other side and repeat to attach the second side piece.


  • Insert the dowel through the holes made for the handle.
  • Center the handle so that it extends the same amount beyond both end pieces.
  • Hammer one nail from the top of each end piece to fasten the handle into position.