Saturday, August 18, 2012

A cedar Japanese toolbox

My bread and butter boat is progressing bit by bit and mostly in the comfort of my lounge room.  In a recent outing to the workshop I pulled out some of the red cedar salvaged from Sydney to try to pick out some boards to make a box to present the boat.  The deal was my friends would help load the wood onto my trailer and I would make something out of it for them.

All the boards were fairly fragile with splits along the grain and I noticed that the larger wider boards had been harder to break up and so had more hammer marks.  What started as two promising boards ended as one sound box top and two fragile sides on the verge of splitting.  I thought the Japanese toolbox design would be ideal because the cleats would double as reinforcing.  I cut the box ends from some straight 19mm hardwood to provide a large gluing surface and some solid rigidity to the box.  The sides were glued to the ends and a ply base glued over the top, again, to provide rigidity.  Left over offcuts were trimmed down to make the cleats and a some trim to cover the ply edges.

I've said it before and I'll say it again but this Japanese tool box design is so clever and simple.  The lid sits inside the box sides and is cut oversized along its length.  The cleats are positioned asymmetrically so that the longer overhang can be placed in first, the opposite end drops in and the lid can be slid across to latch in place.  It has a very satisfying and secure feel without any metal hardware.