Monday, May 1, 2017

Portable work bench, part four

With the bench complete, it was time to turn to the toolbox.  It had to fit inside the bench, so the required dimensions were 25"x 12 1/2"x9".  Not coincidentally, I had just enough 4/4 cvg fir left over from the kitchen remodel to make it.

For a variety of reasons, I'm not a big fan of dovetails, mostly because I am a contrarian, but even I have to admit that a toolbox cries out for them.  Since I don't make them very often, I am not that good at it.  I rely on a trick that seems to make a big difference for me.  I use green tape on both the tail and pin boards, cut it with the marking knife and peel away the waste, leaving the part that will remain bright green.

This is somewhat time consuming, though not as much as you might think once you get used to it, but for me it makes all the difference.  Mostly, I think it makes the line precise and extremely easy to see but, who knows, maybe it's a tic I have.

Sometimes things I do in the shop turn out worse than expected for no reason I can discern and sometimes the opposite occurs.  This time, it was the latter.  The dovetails fit off the saw with almost no gaps.  Part of this is because I took advantage of the fact that douglas-fir is compressible and intentionally made the fit a little tight.  Here's the front of the box:

and here's the rear:

which is shorter for two reasons.  One, that's all the material I had and, two, it will make it convenient to work out of the box.  When the toolbox is stored, it will be against the shiplap back of the bench, so it doesn't matter.

Now I can show you why I wanted my toolbox to be 9" high.  It allows me to store planes and saws on the bottom and have room for a shallow, removable tray on the top:

I've learned the advantages of this kind of layout from the toolchest in my shop.  Shallow tills are extremely convenient.

Here's the toolbox inside the bench:

So, now it's time to fill it.


  1. How do you plan to keep the tools from moving around when it is turned and picked up by the handle?

  2. Andy,

    Looks good, nope change that....looks great. I may have to rethink my traveling chest and bench.


  3. Ralph,

    The handle is solely to slide the toolbox out of the bench.