It’s good to have goals. Not just deadlines, but true motivation for doing something right and well. In my woodworking life, my greatest motivation tends to come from projects that will become gifts. In this case, the Japanese tool box for my buddy, Brady.
I am glad to have embarked on this project. The joinery (rabbets and nails, with a little bit of glue) was a lovely break from my usual dovetail routine. It would be a good project for someone just starting out in woodworking. And by careful wood selection, I barely dented my pile of reclaimed mahogany (the entire box used only two 36″ boards, plus some scraps I had lying around).
It had been a while since I “dovetailed” nails. I don’t know if I hit exactly 7º, but it was close enough. The bottom should stay put for a very long time under ordinary use.
There is nothing I would do differently on this project, which is refreshing. Except, maybe, making the box a little bit shallower. With 7.75″ of clearance inside (when the lid is in place), this is probably more of a picnic basket than a proper tool box. I thought about adding a removable till, but that seemed like overkill. These things are meant to be stuffed.
My favorite design detail on this is the recessed ends, which allowed me to add wooden handles (from softer Eastern White Pine, for comfort). Because what’s a portable storage container for if it hurts to hold?
Conceivably, these recesses could also permit someone to clamp this to a table. If I made a stouter lid (perhaps replacing the battens with a rabbet around a much thicker slab lid), this might even be sturdy enough to be a little workbench in a pinch.
But I think something dovetailed would be better suited for that. Oh well. Back to the bench, I guess.