I found it difficult to keep project-specific tools and parts organized, so we made a tool organizer that can store everything! Now you can bring everything you need with you in one place. If you’re interested in making one for yourself, check out the plans below.
1. Break Down Box Walls
This entire project can be made from 2 8-foot long 1x6s, so breaking down the materials is pretty easy. First, we broke down the side walls and divider elements for the two boxes. I chose to make the sides overlap in a single joint, so each side wall will be the same length. While the sides are the same length, the lower tray differs from the upper box in that the lower walls are half as tall. This way, you can rip the 1×6 in half and get two walls. The overlapping joints were cut on the bandsaw (you could use a jigsaw also) in a way that the tongue and the recess are inverted so that each piece could fit regardless of orientation. Make sure to cut a dado in the upper box side walls to receive the dividers.
The dividers are a little wider than the box walls because they fit inside the dado channels. These pieces also were ripped down by 1/2″ (1.27 cm) because the bottom panel will be inset inside the walls and this height difference leaves the right amount of room. Because there are no additional dividers on the bottom tray, I used a rabbeting bit to cut a groove for the bottom tray’s bottom panel.
2. Assemble the Handle/Dividers
The handle was made by laminating two boards together and drawing a curvy-handle shape on some paper. This template helped me cut the handle shape using the drill press and a jigsaw. Then, cutting to saddle spaces in the handle assembly and the other divider, I glued the two together to make a cross-shaped unit. I wanted my tool organizer to have 4 equal spaces in side the tote, but if you wanted to have more, you would need to adjust the spacing and the dados. To make the wooden handle more comfortable, I used a small round-over bit to add a small fillet.
Now that all of the pieces were cut and prepared, I used glue, clamps, and brad nails to hold the elements together. The upper & lower box came together using the overlapping joints, the handle assembly fit nicely into the dados, and each bottom panel was glued and nailed in place. Because I wanted the tool organizer to be two independent elements that joined together, I need a way to join and lock them together.
3. Add Aluminum Slides
There are many ways to join the two boxes together so that they can be locked and unlocked easily. I decided to use some 3/4″ (1.9 cm) aluminum angle stock as sliders on each box. Matching the upper box’s outer dimension, I cut some of the aluminum stock to 45-degree miters on the miter saw. These upper slides are attached to the outside of the box and hang underneath the top box. To leave room for the lower box to slide in place, I used washers as spacers before screwing the slides in place.
To create the lower slides, I followed the same logic, but instead of the outside dimensions, I cut the aluminum to the inside measurements. These lower slides were screwed to the inside of the lower box and spaced so that they fit nicely when placed under the top box. All that was left was to add a simple latch to the tool organizer’s face to prevent the lower box from sliding forward.
Great for Project Tools!
This box was a result of having all of my beekeeping equipment in a ratty cardboard box and not having a convenient way to carry all of it to the beehive. This tool organizer could be custom made for a specific process or project; changing your oil in the cars, gardening, or organizing art supplies. There are endless uses for something like this, and I hope you make one to help improve your workflow. We have plans available down below if you are interested in making one!Get These Digital Plans!
(purchasing via these affiliate links supports ILTMS)
- SawStop cabinet saw
- 8″ Dado stack
- Dewalt 20v drill driver combo
- Dewalt Miter Saw
- Countersink drill bits
- Pancake compressor/nail gun combo
- Shop Fox 6″ Jointer
- Grizzly 14″ Bandsaw
- Grizzly Drill Press (WAAAAY overpriced (3x) on Amazon, buy from Grizzly directly.)
- Shop Fox Hanging Air Filter
- 2HP Dust Collector
- 1 Micron bag
- 11″ Digital protractor
- 90˚ corner clamp (4 pack)
Finishes & adhesives I like: