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    I love the product of this project, turns out I own a couple of these toolboxes and did not know what they were for. My mom informed me the one in my son’s room was built by my great-great-grandfather for his tools.

    But one question I had was how portable are these toolboxes? It seems to me their main function was to bring tools to the site, but they appear large and unwieldy. I am a pretty big guy but that does not look like fun to carry. How does it fit through doorways, sideways? Tipped on end? How heavy is it loaded with tools? Seems like it need some kind of comfortable longitudinal carrier/handle, at least.

    Just curious if anyone had a historical perspective. My great-great-grandfather was a comparably small guy.


    The only way I see for this box to be carried is by two people or maybe a hand cart. Maybe the intended user would have an apprentice to help with the heavy lifting? It would be way too heavy loaded up for one person to manage. Also, on your own you’d not be able to easily get through a door.

    Last summer I made a toolbox for general hand tools for when I was working on my brother’s house. I think it was about 20-22″ wide. Any more than that and I’d have been rapping my knuckles on the door jamb trying to get through a doorway.

    A box about 22″ long by 16″ wide by 12″ tall would work as a small personal box. The toolchest project, which is 24x18x12, would work too, but it is more like shop furniture than something you’d lug around.

    Another aspect of a portable toolbox is figuring out the size you want based on how easy it would be for you to get it out of your car. If you had a van or truck you probably could make something as big as you or two people could carry.

    One method for trying out size and weight is to get a large laundry basket and keep loading it until you are OK with the weight and see if you can get it out of your car easily.

    When working with my dad we used to keep tools in a metal gangbox. That was, I think, 42″ long by 24″ high by 24″ tall. The two of us could move this around the place, but loaded up it would be still pretty heavy.

    I don’t know about historical perspectives. I look at this toolbox project as a history lesson.


    Near Chicago, USA


    Evening all (evening in this part of the world anyway)

    I agree with all jude says.
    I have a tool box about 28 inches long by 15 by 15 with just everyday hand tools in it,
    its really a two man job to lug around but manageable on my own.
    I’m threatening a long time to make two smaller ones that are more portable.
    Still we must remember the owner of the chest that Paul restored and replicated
    was as strong as as an ox from the nature of his work and the hardship of the times he lived in. God rest his soul.
    No labour saving devices or electricly operated anything in his time.
    Another point is the original owner of the chest probably carried only the essentials in it.
    thats my tupece hapney worth anyway.

    daragh rusty holmes ireland.


    I have though about this before also. The conclusion I came to do was that the full chests servers a purpose similar to the modern job-site-box. As such they would go to the big jobs were you would be onsite for several weeks to protect and store the tools with out having to lug it every where. Most of the time it would live in the shop near the assigned bench.

    Tuscloosa, Alabama
    Lung T'an Hu Huesh Kung-fu Woodshop


    Another argument to switch to a wooden plane. 🙂

    This is one of the reasons i chose pine for the box i made. ( best strength to weight ratio ) And made it smaller than the plans here.

    For me, it all ends in vanity. I could stuff my tools in a durable dewalt cloth bag that’s probably a quarter of the weigth and twice as ergonomic. But as you know, beauty matters. And pride. And it gives everybody something to chat about, and that’s not to look down upon.

    To csomerlot: i’ve learned to relax when i pack the tools i think i need. 2 chisels are enough, even if i dont know what im up against. And if you’re hauling one of those old juggernaughts, remember they were built to accomodate a storehouse of moulding planes, hammers and saws.

    In my country, sweden, carpenters sometimes lived for a few days in a house while finishing a door, a window, or what was needed before moving on. Hence the big chest.


    Well, having built the chest out a slightly heavier wood than pine(sassafras) and loaded it with 10 saws, 2 #4, a #5, a #45, #71, brace, mallet, hammers and my collection of smaller hand tools, I can confidently say one average working craftsman would have been able to carry the chest between transport and work site. It is heavy, but if the handles are placed correctly then it is bottom heavy, but I was able to carry from my shop to my truck, and then from the truck to the office and back.

    If I was going to build one for regularly toting my tools, I would find the lightest eastern white pine to build it from though. It would save 5 pounds easy on the finished weight.

    Tuscloosa, Alabama
    Lung T'an Hu Huesh Kung-fu Woodshop

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