Friday, July 05, 2013

Scaled down versions of the Handyman tool tote

The tool-tote (plans at the Handyman club) I had made a while back had one problem, it was big.  The reason it is big is to have an 18" box, which is big enough for most full size hammer.  In addition, it was trying to get the top high enough so that you can use it as a work surface where you can kneel on a board on the top while working with it.  And that means it has to be wide enough to be stable.  All that means that my wife won't use such a thing.  So we're giving it to my father-in-law, who needs a tool box and a stable work surface, and I'm going to make a couple more smaller versions for us.

Completed tool tote / sawhorse
Looking at the scrap, I figured out how a layout where I could make two boxes with the leftovers from this and the workbench and a single 2' X 4' piece of plywood.  So my wife goes to get the plywood.  And the guy who was helping her completely mangles the thing.  I had a layout so that if you made four 12" x 12" boxes in a square pattern on one half of the board, you would use the remnant that would be slighly less than 24" x 24" for the rest and there would be waste at the end.  Instead, he decides to make 12" boxes straight across the long way.  And he was using a board that was 24" wide, but 47 1/2" across, so that means that the last board would be 12" wide, but significantly less than 12" long.  And it also means that the rest of the pieces would be hard to cut out.  (big box stores generally don't mind doing cuts in plywood and lumber as long as they are straight through cuts)  This meant that I had to do some tinkering with the design to make it work with the cuts he gave us.

So, basic idea is to make two bins.  Both 12 3/4" high  (12" + the width of a plywood topshelf).  And the other dimensions whatever would work.  In particular I ended up having one top be 4" wide and the other 5" wide (the original goal was to have them both 5" wide).  And the box would be 12" long (instead of 13") and 8" across.  Because the top piece was across the top of the sides, it would actually be quite stable and strong (i.e. you could stand on either one without worry).

Box for the tool tote

This time was much smoother, the benefit of having done this before, and now I have a few more clamps and other tools that I've been accumulating while doing other projects.  And my general skill level with measuring, layout, and cutting has been improving.

Using a pipe clamp to hold the sides for screwing in

After the box is put together, next came the handles.  This worked well the last time, so this time with four handles to make it was practically a production line.  The Workmate acquitted itself nicely again to hold the handles for both rounding the handles as well as making the necessary holes for the bolt and the handle dowel.

Making the handles on Black & Decker Workmate

Finally the completed project.  It is incredible what a difference 2/3 scale makes.

Tooltotes next to full size model

And the reason for doing two of them:  so that I have the equivalent of two short sawhorses.  In this case I wanted to cut out a notch on the bottoms of the original version so that it be less prone to rocking on non-smooth surfaces.  Normally this would have been a problem because the handle would get in the way of putting it on my workbench top.  But with the tool tote/sawhorses I could lay it across the two of them and clamp them so I could work.

Scaled down tool totes in action

So now, we're passing on the original to my father-in-law so he could use it as a tool storage and a small workbench, and we have two short boxes. My wife is using hers for paint and gardening stuff.  I'm using mine to store measuring things.   A nice quick project.

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