It’s done. Finally.
I did make a frame-and-panel lid, which probably doubled the time it took to build the whole thing. The frame is mortise-and-tenon joinery, and the panel is set in with tongue-and-groove joinery (well, actually groove-and-groove joinery). At least I got to use my plow plane, which I always enjoy.
The molding went on fine this time. Cut nails hammered into face grain work pretty well. I also found that nailing brads through the miters helps close any little gaps. That was a pleasant discovery.
Okay, here’s the guided tour.
Open the lid to find the small, flat tools, as well as two hand saws:
The saws overlap on the lid, but the teeth don’t get in each other’s way, and the stiff-spined backsaw on top prevents the longer blade on the handsaw from dipping down.
The tool tray itself is made from 3/8″ stock, also rabbeted and nailed at the corners, with the bottom nailed on. The sides are made of southern yellow pine, which is much stronger than the “whitewood” I’ve used on the rest of the box. The bottom of the tray is some juniper I had left over from another project. It’s pretty soft, fine-grained, and has a pungent smell when cut. The tool tray sits on four cleats at each corner of the tool box.
Pull out the tray and the bigger tools are underneath. There’s space for a hand plane or two, gauges, boring tools, a mallet, hammer, hatchet, stair saw, etc. I can pack in a surprising number of medium-sized tools.
The latch is a simple hook-and-eye with a catch that keeps the hook in the eye. The nylon rope handles were certainly the quickest hardware installation I’ve ever done. Best of all, they’re compact and easily replaceable. Even filled with tools, the box is relatively light. My wife can carry it easily.
If there’s a disadvantage to my design, it’s that the till is a little awkward to remove once full of tools. Also, I’m finding it difficult to install a cord to keep the lid from flopping back. Perhaps I should have made the till 3/8″ shorter to allow for a little more room on each end. I may rig up something later on.
Eventually I will paint the outside, but right now it’s time to take it on its first road test. I’ve got some small projects to do for a couple relatives.