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Storage & Organization

How to Build a Wooden Toolbox

One of the simplest, yet best things you can make for someone or yourself for your workshop is a trusty toolbox made from wood.

With just some basic materials, you can easily create a place to house your most used hand tools. 










 Table or compound mitre saw


Drill/1-1/2" hole saw Bit 


Builders Frame or measuring tape




wood glue


 1 piece of  2"x 4" piece of 1/2" plywood



1-1/2" dowel rod 

Deck Screws


Marker and/or pencil

STEP 1: Once you've gathered all your tools and materials, start cutting your pieces of your wooden toolbox. There will be 4 pieces of plywood and 1 dowel rod; which will be your handle.

2 of those end pieces will be drilled with a hole and cut at an angle.

For my wooden toolbox build, I grabbed whatever scrap 1/2" thick plywood I could find, hence the multiple colors on it shown below....

The importance of measuring and getting the right size for the toolbox is extremely important; as you'll want all sizes to consistently fit like a puzzle piece.

For my build I chose the following measurements:

  • 2 long sides: 4 inches tall x 16 inches in length
  • 2 end (handle end) pieces: 8 inches x 8 inches with 1-1/2" holes cut centered 3/4" from the top middle so the dowel can go inside it
  • 1 bottom portion: 7 inches wide x 17 inches in length
  • 1 1-1/2" dowel rod 18 inches in length

STEP 2: Once you've gotten your measurements, begin to cut the sizes using a table saw. Use a drill with the 1-1/2" bit for the end pieces, carefully centering the hole to ensure the dowel will go in it. Lightly sand all edges to ensure no rough edges are still there. 

In fact, those side pieces are the most crucial part of building a wooden toolbox. Use your framing square to cut a 45 degree mark at the 4 inch height of where it will meet the long sides of the tool box. You may have to mark at several attempts if you haven't cut angles like this before; both side ends need to match up exactly so the dowel can be straight.

Take extra care in sanding the holes where the dowel rod will go, as it will help the dowel rod fit easier into it. 

STEP 3: Place the pieces together to ensure all sides fit properly. Use a small drill bit to pilot hole where the screws will go to assemble the tool box.

Using decking screws, these not only will give a good hold to the tool box, but it's screw heads look great as well. Don't forget that whenever you are screwing in the sides, you are simultaneously gluing the edges for an extremely tight bond.

Use the decking screws on any area where 2 pieces of plywood edges meet, spaced out at minimum of 4 inches apart.

STEP 4: After assembling the sides, place the dowel rod handle through the side pieces. Be sure to apply a small amount wood glue where the rod will go into the side holes, so that it won't come out.

STEP 5: Inspect all sides, and sand and clean edges to give it a professional look. Remove any sawdust and excess wood glue, and paint whatever color or finish you'd like for it.

For me personally, I chose a wood-colored spray paint that took away those 'multiple' colors from the scrap plywood pieces I used. 

This size toolbox will hold a framing hammer, measuring tape, small box of screws, framing square quite comfortably. 

As with any project, you can always alter or make the toolbox to accommodate your needs for specific tool storage.

Let us know if you have any further questions,
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Posted 2015-12-23T17:26:21+0000  by Joseph_HD_ATL Joseph_HD_ATL
Greetings Joe,

I love this "old school" tool box project!

It is such a great project to build with kids, and to build it out of scraps...just a perfect example of creating something so useful, out of bits of nothing!

Great job!    Maureen
Posted 2015-12-24T14:50:54+0000  by Maureen_HD_BOS
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