<img class="lazy" height="1" width="1" style="display:none" src="data:image/svg+xml,%3Csvg%20xmlns='http://www.w3.org/2000/svg'%20viewBox='0%200%201%201'%3E%3C/svg%3E" data-src="https://www.facebook.com/tr?id=376816859356052&amp;ev=PageView&amp;noscript=1">
 In Projects

We may receive a commission when you use our affiliate links. However, this does not impact our recommendations.

This clever and simple piece is great for storing tools, toys or a kimono

While picking though a table of vintage Japanese tools for sale I spotted this sliding-lid box under the vendor’s table; it was blackened by age, soot and rust. Despite its scars, however, the box was still graceful and functional.

The owner, a Japanese carpenter, wouldn’t part with it. But he let me measure and photograph the piece both inside and out so I could make a respectable version for myself.

The carpenter said it was a toolbox, and it would indeed fit a small kit of tools. But other experts in Japanese furniture said it was more likely a generic storage box that could be used to hold anything – wooden Tupperware, if you will.

The original was made using Douglas fir. For this article I made versions in both vertical-grain fir and Port Orford cedar, another wood preferred by Japanese joiners. The biggest challenge of the project was finding the dome-head nails.


By registering, I acknowledge and agree to Active Interest Media's (AIM) Terms of Service and to AIM's use of my contact information to communicate with me about AIM, its brands or its third-party partners' products, services, events and research opportunities. AIM's use of the information I provide will be consistent with the AIM Privacy Policy.

Start typing and press Enter to search