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On top of the daytime woodworking classes, my school offers to our students the opportunity to stay later for an hour and half of “extended day” classes. My woodworking class is one of the after-hour programs. Together with other subjects such as languages, chess, cooking, felt art, knitting and fencing, our students have quite a variety to choose from. This year is the second time that I have offered a class. Last year my pupils built a tool tote or tray (which I am about to show below). This year they are building a clock.

The tote is a great little project to introduce beginner woodworkers to the importance of carefully laying out, cutting and assembling parts together. It is made of six parts: A floor, two side walls, two tall end-walls and a handle. The children received a board and had to cut from it all of their parts.

I will explain using the drawing above.

Cross cut the board twice, to create the tote’s tall ends (A, B). Then cross cut the remaining length again to separate the floor board (C) from the side walls segment (D). If you rip the side walls segment in the middle you will get two walls (D1, D2) . If you rip it two times you will end up with three parts (D3, D4, D5) – two side walls and the handle.  Some of my students decided to rip (D) only once, and make a handle from another board or a branch, but others ripped twice and were able to harvest all the parts for their tote from one board.

tool tote

After cross cutting all her parts, Ashna is preparing to rip the last segment (D) into two, to make the long side walls of her tote.

Tool Tote

tool tote

Sophie has decided to use a branch as her tote handle. After finishing all the tote parts including tapering the tall ends she begun forming tenons at the ends of her stick.

Tool Tote

Tool Tote

Next time I will show how my students finished their projects.

 — Yoav Liberman

ICDT-S1-P2Interested in making your own tool tote? Check out “I Can Do That!” season 1, part 2 at to see how you can make one from big box retailer materials.

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Showing 9 comments
  • ThomasP

    By chance was the tote handle made from a branch of a “Burning Bush”? The wood of this “bush” is very strong and a very clear off white color (no notable grain). Good wood for a variety of handles/knobs etc.

  • tpobrienjr

    My daughter and son (now 43 and 41 respectively) still have their little tool totes that we made many years ago. Not furniture quality, but certainly little-kid quality. I was surprised to learn that they still owned them.

  • jimballew

    A tool tote was the first project my granddaughter and I did together, next we are building a workbench her size.

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