Carrying Tote Project Info


This is the introduction for a free series. Want to watch the whole thing? It is free to do so, you just need to log into the site and you can enjoy this series and many other videos we think you will love.

For a beginner friendly step-by-step guide on how to make a Tool Tote, see our sister sister Common Woodworking.

Wooden carrier – skills in making the through housing dado joint

This project has six housing dado joints in it. These are all through housing dadoes and are used extensively for bookshelves and certain types of box construction. It’s probably the simplest of all the joints to make but though limited to certain types of construction, no other joint type can really replace it. Though it is simple in its mechanical strength and functionality, we should never underestimate its value to woodworking and furniture making. We recently completed the wall clock in which we used the stopped housing dado for making the superstructure. This carrier is somewhat simpler but we thought it important to your developing skills and we also felt it would be a quick and simple project to make over the Christmas holidays. Though common in concept, this basic joint can be used to create sturdy boxes of many different types ranging from window boxes to drawers and raised garden beds to toy boxes.

Parts and cutting list

Sides (x 2)6 x 20 152 x 508
Bottom (initial size) (x 1)6 x 20 152 x 508
Ends (x 2)6 x 16 152 x 406
Handle (x 1)1″ dowel 20″ long 25mm dowel 508mm long

Tools/materials/equipment needed

The tools we use to make this project are quite common, minimal and yet essentially fundamental to all joinery types. As we focus on dead-on accuracy we need each housing dado to fit to each side of the components perfectly and without any gaps. The essential element to all joinery is a keen knife edge, an accurate square and sharp chisels.

Square Marking gauge
Chisel hammer
Smoothing plane
Tenon saw
Brace and bit
Sandpaper (1 x sheet of 120-150 grit & 1 x sheet of 220-250 grit)
1-1½” Natural Bristle Brush
Wood 4 square feet of 3/4″ (20mm) pine
FinishShellac (Zinsser [USA] Liberon [UK])


  1. John Peterson on 16 December 2013 at 4:01 am

    Very informative. The dado joint is a joint I have little experience in performing and this video will make all the difference in helping me improve my shills as a woodworker. Paul, thank you very much.

  2. Ben Fisher on 4 September 2014 at 7:21 pm

    One thing I noticed and one request.

    1. The “workbench” link goes to which is an invalid link now. That needs fixed.

    2. Is there a way to provide a downloadable PDF version of this page and pages like it? I can print to PDF so it’s not a HUGE deal but it would be nice.

  3. Bryan Dilks on 6 December 2016 at 1:14 pm

    Paul, thank you so much for sharing your wealth of knowledge! I am intrigued and am enamored with your approach. I plan to try this carrying tote, and it will really be my first work with a chisel. I love I’m the Southeastern U.S. Should I be using somethijg inexpensive like poplar, or would you recommend something harder for greater success with the tools as I begin to learn to use them?

  4. Paul Sellers on 14 December 2016 at 4:09 pm

    Any wood will work and any wood will hold up for decades if not centuries. Poplar is just fine. Good luck!

  5. vazoli on 1 January 2017 at 7:44 pm

    Thank you, very good project. Happy New Year. 🙂

  6. Richard Gaal on 27 September 2019 at 3:43 pm

    Became my standard present to boys in family and friends, thank you very much!

Leave a Comment

You must be logged in to post a comment.