Travelling tool box

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    Hi all

    It seems to be pretty quiet on this forum with regards to posting new projects…
    Not that I’ve been avidly posting either.

    Anyway, I’ve been slowly building me a tool box, basically to have a practice project to work on. This has been the most complex project for me by far, considering I’ve been making a few dovetail boxes and other pretty simple stuff before. (Only one type of joint)

    I have chosen the travelling tool box, that you can find on Paul’s blog and is seem in pretty much every video he puts out (as part of the scenery).

    travelling tool chest

    Since I couldn’t find any info on dimensions, I just brewed my own. Basically I’ve made everything in proportion, hardly making hard measurements along the way. My basic dimension is my hand span, all other dimensions are derived from that.

    I’ve snapped a few pics along the way, so I’d thought of adding these in subsequent posts sort of like a timeline.

    I’ve resawn, jointed and glued boards starting from 1 1/4″ pine, final thickness was 1/2″.


    Enough panels prepped for dovetailing the main carcass. I tried gang sawing these, but the thin boards were already cupping slightly, still all that dovetail practise paid off as you’ll see later.


    Let me know what you think…



    Next up are frame and panel construction

    Sized and grooved the back frame


    I cut the rails and stiles oversized to the carcass dimensions. Though I had pretty good stock to start from, I didn’t want any knots in those, so that why the frame is made a bit differently than what Paul probably would have done.


    I even made a mortice guide for this.
    Came out twist free.
    The grooves were cut with a 3/16″ cutter, the m&t joints with a 4 mm chisel. Being a Belgian, I had to make do…

    Fast forward (didn’t document the steps in between)
    This is how the outside will look like, first frame and panel fitted, yeay

    Back panel fitted

    More to follow.
    Please do comment…

    Matt McGrane

    Looking good so far. The dovetails seem to have come out pretty good. I’m just now experimenting with putting 8 DTs on a board 11 1/4″ wide. This is the first time I’ve done that many DTs on a single board. The fit wasn’t quite as good as when I do just one or two DTs on a small box.

    Did you have any revelations about cutting and fitting this may DTs?

    Matt, Northern California - Started a blog in 2016:

    David Perrott

    That is nice. I thought about making one. After I finish the wall tool cabinet I’m done with tool storage. I need to make more furniture than tool storage. Ok, I am building a new bench but other than that….


    @mattmcgrane : I made 7 tails on a box just over 7 1/2″. I started to gang saw them but wasn’t pleased with the result. So I continued the normal way (as in the dovetail series).
    My boards were cupping a bit, they are a hair under 1/2″. That was the most difficult to deal with. They were planed to thickness but so thin…
    So I had to compensate for that to get the baseline for the dovetails just right.
    After a few small boxes, I have a pretty good idea how close to the line I need to saw to get a tight joint. Other than that I just made sure to slow down.

    : the cabinet is on my list too. This box is a really scaled down version of it as most of the joints are used the same way.

    More to follow….


    Next up is the front panel….


    Fast forward again…

    A family picture with all the tools used on this panel.


    This time I made a book matched panel, though the knots were as bit if a challenge. Got them right with the no 80…

    Finally a mock up of the parts so far.

    How does it look

    I don’t get it how to get the pics to show up in the post…

    Tomorrow drawers.


    Next part

    The tool cabinet series were very timely…
    I first prepared and fitted my drawer fronts.
    The height was chosen arbitrarily to be 2 and 3″.


    Looks nice doesn’t it?

    Next natter were the half lap dovetails. Made some practice runs with some offcuts.


    On to the real thing. I made sure to take things slowly, trying not to screw up. So far so good.


    I chose to make my drawers like Paul does em so you can reach in the back while they’re still in the box. But I didn’t want to see any drawer runners so I did diverge from Paul’s cabinet design.
    In stead (after much debate) I’ve dadoed in a set of 1/4″ hardwood strips in the sides of the box.
    Luckily my procrastinating helped here as I hadn’t glued up the box at this point.
    The drawers have a groove in the sides for this.
    I still don’t know if this was a good plan or not, time will tell…
    But that also meant that I couldn’t do a tenon in the back panel of the drawers, instead I just fitted a 1/8″ dado.
    You can see all of that in the next pic. I’m already glueing up the smaller drawer.


    Next up, draws glamour shots…

    As always, do comment….


    Guess I really love how these turned out…
    Already started to fill em up!


    They do fill up quickly, though I did meet my requirement to have a full chisel set fitting .

    The sides are 1/2″ too, so not much meat to get grooves in…


    Again, time will tell if it works or not.

    Last for today, a closeup of those drawer runners installed. I use beech and ash offcuts.


    Tomorrow more stuff, the good, the bad and the plain idiot……..



    Looking good, I need to make a traveling tool box of some sort myself eventually. I like the tongue and groove back panel, nice touch.


    Steve Massie, I live in the great State of Florida, US


    Next steps

    After putting in the drawer guides I could glue the carcass together.

    The tails cleaned up nicely, even with the cupping. I did put extra clamps to force this cupping straight.
    No pic of that though…

    Then I put the back panel on, and cleaned it up.
    I put some nails in it, though not really necessary.


    Glueing and cleaning up the front bottom rail was easy..


    Next fitting the door, hingeing it and planing to match the carcass. I made all panels slightly oversize.


    Almost there…



    And then things went south…

    With everything flush, the only thing left to do was install the lock.

    To save some space, I thought it would be better to sink in the lock slightly.

    Went really easy, nice tight fit,
    Keyhole smack in the middle…


    Almost there, just need to find some screws that fit.


    Just need to mark where to put the metal plate in the top of the carcass.


    Then I got this awkward feeling…

    Some self encouragement was in order, felt the urgent need to put some dents in my bench, with my head !

    Now what ?


    Matt McGrane

    Watch out you don’t put bigger dents in your head than in your bench. Maybe it’s time to fill in the lock mortise with a patch and then cut a new one a little further down?

    BTW, the dovetails are looking fantastic! Nice clean lines on the joinery. Congrats.

    Matt, Northern California - Started a blog in 2016:


    Guess I’ll have to plane down the bench then…

    Thanks for the compliment. Somehow they never look good when I first put them together, no matter how careful I’ve paired the tails and pins.
    I do make sure to apply enough glue so the wood swells up and closes any gaps.

    I ended up making a new frame but reused the panel.


    New stock ready, took no more than 1,5 hours to prepare. All that practice pays off ……

    All other operations went quickly. I’ve done this before apparently.


    Tenon detail.

    about 4,5 hours later, we’ve got a new frame.


    I made sure to tic off the dimensions of the original so I could use the center panel.



    Time to free the panel, made 2 saw cuts making sure not to cut into the panel…


    I could break the rail loose without much effort.

    And with a scientific approach…


    Panel out, snapped a pic of the rebates. That was another first for me. Happy how it turned out .


    Guess what, it fits perfectly in the new frame, whew!


    I’ve kept the old rail that held the lock close by must as a reminder not to have to start banging my head again.

    Any thoughts are appreciated

    David Gill

    Great looking is a very neat professional job
    The book matched front panel looks very nice, did you rip that by hand
    I don’t think I could have made a new frame I would have had to leave it for a while till I got over the pain or come up with a make do fix

    Wigan, Lancs. England :

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