Adventures in Building

Submitted by melissa2 on Thu, 03/10/2011 - 10:11

I work on projects slowly, so, ironically, this is the third Ana White plan I’ve used–but the first project completed in full! I put everything aside to work on the toolbox for two reasons:
(1) I got a jigsaw for Christmas (yay!).
(2) It will be a welcome helper when working on *other* Ana White projects! (Like, finishing the two that are partly done?)

I used plain wood on the sides instead of moulding. If you decide to do this as well, you’ll need an 8′ length of wood and the dowel rod. The first time I tried to make this, I used cupped wood. (Looking at the short end of the wood, it all had a slight U-shape.) You’re probably shaking your head and saying: “You can’t use cupped wood! That’s the first thing you learn in Woodworking 101!” But by the time I saw that it was cupped (I checked for all the other types of warps, and asked the family member I was with–who will remain nameless–if it was warped the cup way, and was told “no”), the wood had already been cut by the helpful store associate. Besides, I had spent so long looking for a non-warped piece of wood that my legs and back hurt. Getting tired of wearing a winter coat in a hot store while doing aerobic activity, I thought: “I can’t ask for them to take this wood back. It’s cut already! I know! I’ll MAKE it work!”

So, full of optimism and/or denial, I went home, cut my new 3/4″ dowel rod to size, and decided to try and work with the cupped 1″ x 6″. Let’s see, which direction should the warp go? Should the toolbox have a wobbly bottom? I tried to use the force of a Workmate to flatten the wood. As soon as I tried to attach two pieces together in a way that would hopefully flatten them both, the end piece of wood split. So I tried again, and it split again. It split in three places. This was after I had spent a long time cutting out and elbow-grease-sanding two “I’m-an-obvious-first-time-jigsaw-user” ends.

Sadly, the wood was better fit for feeding a fire than creating a toolbox. After lamenting my toolbox’s fate, I was told, “Well, at least you have a nice dowel rod!”

At a different store, two store associates tried to help me find a piece of wood that wasn’t warped or–especially–cupped. One of them reassured me that he was confident the project would turn out this time. Sure enough, the whole box went together in a snap.

It’s a lovely, classic box and useful for so many different things, including craft storage/toting. This is a project that those of you who work more slowly, like I do, can probably easily finish in only a few days.

Well, as long as you find a non-cupped piece of wood. :)


This was first posted to the site in January. I've since found myself mostly using it for crafts. It's really handy to have!

Built from Plan(s)
Estimated Cost
Estimated Time Investment
Week Long Project (20 Hours or More)
Type of Wood
Soft wood (possibly pine)
Finish Used
The finishing is what made this a long project;
(1) Stained with Minwax English Chestnut,
(2) Varnished with oil-based semi-gloss,
(3) Hand-sanded with 220 grit sandpaper,
(4) Varnished with oil-based semi-gloss (coat 2),
(5) Hand-sanded with 220 grit sandpaper,
(6) Varnished with oil-based semi-gloss (coat 3)
Recommended Skill Level

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