japanese tote 02japanese toolboxThe 6″ Makita Power Planer is one of these specialized tools that is a step larger than you think is good for you to handle. It is the scale of tool that fits timber framing, which is itself woodworking on a scale larger than life. In the tradition of the Japanese, mine came in an attractive wood box, one that can be used for many tools. The photo on the left shows you both the original with rope handles at both ends, and mine with wood cleats for lifting the box. The key to both is the sliding lid in all its ingenious simplicity.

The lid is simplicity itself. The top is made of 5-ply, 6 mm birch plywood with cross cleats at each end that enable it to engage corresponding cleats in the box. Enter the lid into one end and slide back an inch and it’s done. No need for hinges or other hardware. The original box came fitted with rope loops in each end for handles. This version has a double cleat at each end to provide the hand holds for lifting.

The cleats on the original box were glued and fastened with clinch nails. Decorative copper clinch nails are used here. The forged heads give an attractive touch. They are available from Jamestown Distributors.

The finger-jointed corners are readily recognized and were known to an earlier generation as a cigar box joint. Together with the dovetail joint, it is the way to build strong boxes. The machine-like precision of the pins makes this joint reserved for machine cutting, whereas the dovetail makes an attractive and doable hand cut joint. The corners can be butt jointed and still make a box utilizing the sliding lid feature unique to this tool box. The sides are made of ½″ stock with box joint pins on ½″ intervals and 5-ply, 6 mm birch plywood top and bottom.