Blog and Gallery of Mike Miller

Making a Full Size Japanese Toolbox with Tool Tray

Traditionally, the Japanese toolbox was constructed with simple joinery of dados and using cut nails. I have been captivated by the mechanism of the locking lid using a wedge for some time, and have been itching to make one of my own. Until recently, I didn’t have a the resaw capacity to make the parts needed for a full size version of the toolbox. Fortunately, I just got a hold of a brand new 14″ bandsaw that was able to power thru the 10 inch+ wide boards that I needed to resaw for my parts. I constructed the carcass of my Japanese toolbox from Ash, mainly for its hardness and durability. I wanted to pretty up the box, so it could be a showcase piece for the woodworker that chose to make it theirs. I used some incredible pieces of compression figure to make the lid supports, and black walnut for the lid and handles. I did not use cut nails for my build, however I chose to use brass pins to add support for the pressure points and to add a pleasing aesthetic. I finished the box off with a 2 inch deep tray for holding smaller hand tools, and tool rolls. I finished the tray with walnut tinted danish oil, and finished the box with boiled linseed oil and a topcoat of shellac. I am beyond excited to see how the box came out with its working components, and love the eastern aesthetic. This will not be my last tool chest, or my last Japanese toolbox.

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