Tuesday 19 January 2016

Tool Box made by Hand from a Fine Woodworking Plan.

Gary, a good customer from Oregon USA, sent me these shots, along with a nice description. Wait till you see those dovetailed bench stops! I let him take you through the project.

The plan for a few years was to build the dovetailed toolbox from a Fine Woodworking plan but to use hand tools for everything except some of the most basic stock preparation and large cuts in plywood.

After buying and successfully using the David Barron 1:6 dovetail guide on some sample projects I bought the 90 degree angle guide with hopes that it would make cutting tenons more productive with hand tools.  The wood is clear pine and handle material was 1-1/2 by 3 inches, so I needed good crosscut capacity.  I ordered a Gyokucho 371 saw for this purpose but most of the cuts shown were made before that saw arrived.

Figures 1 through 4 are my first cuts with the 90º angle guide but with a substandard backless saw.  Fig 1 is the layout on the 1-1/2 by 3 inch blank.  Fig 2 is one of the first tenon cuts, which was quite easy using David’s suggested lift guide, even with the fine tooth saw.  Fig 3 shows the first four cheek cuts and Fig 4 shows the first completed tenon, which was perfect right off the saw and did not require paring chisel work.

Fig 5 shows the first cuts in the final handle material with the 90º guide and a Japanese Katabe saw I happened to have.  This was a better choice, but not as good as the still-back ordered Gyokucho 371.  The longer saw with the more solid handle was preferred.

Fig 6 shows cutting the tenon shoulders with the Gyokucho 372 and my dovetailed bench stops.

Fig 7 shows the completed tenon right from the saw.

By design, the tenons as cut were a bit larger than their intended mortise and needed to be planed to fit as shown in Fig 8.

Fig 9 shows the initial complex glue-up of the big dovetailed tool box with its four dovetailed sides, bottom, handle and internal dividers.

Thanks to David Barron’s dovetail and 90º guides and the bench jigs made for and with them, the toolbox went together quite easily with large scale tenons that were easily cuts with cheeks that were dead on and required no chisel work.


  1. Very nice. I have the 90 degree guide as well and love it. I use it several times a month.

    1. Hi Kevin, that's great to hear. All the best, David.

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