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San Diego Fun

Photos by EK Bowell

Photos by EK Bowell

I’m really excited to have been asked to teach this year in San Diego, California at Fine Woodworking Hands On. The class I’m teaching is Making a Japanese-style Tool Box. I first explored this type of toolbox for an article I wrote in Furniture and Cabinetmaking magazine (issue 263) in the UK. The cool thing about this project is there are so many opportunities for learning. You’ll also discover that once you learn how to make a box like this, you will make many more for other storage tasks.

No-numbers joinery layout

No-numbers joinery layout

To start, we’ll explore design options to customize your box – no sense in building a tool box that doesn’t fit your tools eh? We’ll also explore the use of removable, sliding tills that further increase the usefulness of the box. I truly enjoy working out of my toolbox and most of that is because I took the time to design it for my needs.  

Next we’ll breakout the material and begin laying out the joinery. We’ll be cutting the joinery by hand so our layout and marking skills will be critical. I’ll be sharing all if the little tricks I’ve picked up over the years that all but guarantee success. From accurate layout to accurate sawing, our joinery is going to be tight!

Once the outer box is together, we will move on to outfitting the inside. We can use a combination of dividers and tills to maximize the storage inside as well as making it efficient to grab your tools. I’m always amazed at how much I can pack into mine which makes it my toolbox of choice – a small footprint with a ton of storage.

Finally, we’ll apply a few coats of shellac to seal the surface. I’ll show you how to prepare the shellac from it’s flake form and the best way I’ve found to apply it.

Forged nails - decorative and practical

Forged nails - decorative and practical

Throughout the build I’m also going to cover topics such as sharpening and tuning and using hand tools. We will be using machines throughout the build as well, but the final trimming, joinery and surface prep will be done with hand tools. So you’ll have a great opportunity to hone both skillsets.

Worried about how to get your toolbox home? Worry no more because we are going to take a page out of the old IKEA catalogue. If you have to fly, you can wait to do the final assembly when you get home. I’ll be doing a detailed demo on the assembly so don’t fret. There is something to be said about flat-pack eh?

Most importantly, we are going to have a blast! Sometimes woodworking can be far too serious and I always look to keep it light. If you’ve worked with me before, you know that I like to have fun, make jokes, and to poke fun at some of the general seriousness that has infiltrated woodworking lately. I promise that we’ll have fun and learn from each other the whole way.

Also, you could consider bringing your partner/spouse and make a vacation out of it. I just did a teaching gig down in Australia and my partner joined me. She got to explore Melbourne and I got to teach a fun design class down under. So why not plan a trip to beautiful San Diego and hang out with me at Fine Woodworking Live? Come on out to the left coast and have some woodworking fun.

In order to understand, you must do. - V

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