Father’s Day Project: Build a Toolbox

Published on June 05, 2015
Written by Ray Access

Surprise your dad or help him build it.

Early Appalachian settlers were do-it-yourselfers before do-it-yourself became an American movement. Embrace the trend and give a handmade gift to your dad this Father’s Day. If you’ve got the tools, here’s a great project to house them: a toolbox that’s as functional as it is good-looking. The finished product, which is 24½ inches long by 14½ inches tall, holds all the tools your dad needs to make his next project.

Materials Needed

Cut all the following pieces out of white pine, which is strong but relatively light. Substitute a heavier, stronger wood, if you want.

For the box:

  • Front: ¾ x 3 x 25¾ inches
  • Back: ¾ x 7½ x 25¾ inches
  • Bottom: ¾ x 8½ x 24¼ inches
  • Top divider: ¾ x 85/16 x 24¼ inches
  • Ends: ¾ x 10 x 14½ inches (2)
  • Handle: 1 x 1 x 24¼ inches

For the drawer:

  • Front: ¾ x 4½ x 26 inches
  • Front end blocks: ¾ x ¾ x 4½ inches (2)
  • Back: ½ x 3½ x 227/8 inches
  • Bottom hardboard: ¼ x 3¾ x 233/8 inches
  • Sides: ½ x 3½ x 7¾ inches (2)
  • Turn buttons: ½ x ½ x 3 inches (2)

Building the Box

Use the downloadable pattern <toolbox-diagram.jpg> to shape the two ends of the box. Notch the sides into the ends, so that each end looks like a house. Attach the back, bottom and upper front with wood screws or finish nails. Now attach the top divider horizontally to align with the bottom of the front piece. It’s beginning to take shape.

Optionally, you can use wood glue to attach holding strips to the top divider to hold a variety of tools. Refer to the downloadable diagram. Use 1 x 1 x 24-inch pieces. Optionally, round the top edges.

To attach the handle, first round the edges so it’s more comfortable to carry. Remember, this is a gift of love. Use wood glue as well as screws to attach the handle to the two ends.

Constructing the Drawer

In the front and two ends, cut dados or grooves that will hold the bottom securely in place. Use a table saw to cut the dados so that they’re slightly wider than ¼ inch. Cut the dado in the back of the front piece 1 inch from one long edge. Cut the dados in the side pieces ¼ inch from one long edge.

Line up the dados and attach the sides to the front, using wood glue and countersunk finish nails. Make certain the bottom hardboard will fit snuggly into the dados before securing. Fasten the bottom to the front and sides, and then attach the back piece. Attach the end blocks to the front piece to conceal the dado. Make sure the finish nails are below the surface of the wood.

Make sure that the drawer is square, so it will slide into the toolbox smoothly. Test it by sliding it into place. The drawer should slide in and out without getting hung up. Attach each turn button to the toolbox front just above the drawer with a small flat-head nail through its center, loose enough to turn, but tight enough to hold the drawer in place.

Won’t dad be pleased!