Stacking Tool Caddy

A simple-to-build tote, perfect for tool and supplies transport.

by Chad Stanton
pages 26-32

I designed this stacking tool caddy to hold small parts and a few tools. It’s comprised of three tool trays that stack and interlock together to form a single unit that can be carried wherever needed. Best of all, it stores my screws, nails and small tools so they’re all right at hand. It’s also handy for transporting other items: sewing supplies, fishing tackle and whatever else you can think up.

The trays are joined with half-laps secured by dowels. The dowels not only add strength but also add a nice decorative detail to the project. To lock the trays together, the main handle pivots, allowing access to the individual trays. A tongue depressor acts as a simple spring latch.

Trays First

The sides for each tray are 12” x 312” poplar (dimensional 12“x4 lumber from the big box store). To begin the construction, cut the side and end pieces. It’s vital they are the same length – if they aren’t, the trays won’t be square and won’t stack and interlock correctly. A stop-block can aid in making the repeat cuts accurately. Cut the short tray sides, then reset the stop-block to cut the long tray sides – you should have six of each.

Next, rout a 14” x 14” rabbet on each end of each of the tray pieces for the half-lap joinery. Watch out – the router bit has a tendency to fracture and tear out the fibers as you exit the cut, leaving a jagged corner. An easy way to eliminate the blowout is to first make a small cut with a handsaw to define the exit point of the bit.

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From the December 2017 issue, #236