How to Make Wooden Tool Crates

1 Material
3 Hours

You can never have enough storage or organisation in the workshop, so I have made these tool crates. Each one is made from a single piece of 2x4.
A standard 2x4 is 240cm long, so the first job is to cut it down into sections. You need: 3 pieces at 60cm long; 1 piece at 40cm long; 1 piece at 20cm long.
To get the maximum number of pieces out of the wood you have, it needs to be ripped down on the table saw.  Find the centre of the wood and move the saw’s fence so the blade is level with the centre line. To avoid overworking the saw, it is best to make small cuts, raising the blade a little every pass.
When you have cut just over halfway through the board, it can be flipped over. It is important to keep the side that was against the fence on the first pass against the fence again, so that the cuts line up. You can now keep raising the blade as before, until you have two pieces of wood. 
Complete this process with each piece of wood.
The 40cm piece now needs to be cut in half to make 2 separate 20cm-long pieces.
Some of the boards now need to be ripped in half the other way. Cut 2 of the 60cm pieces in half, along with 1 of the 20cm pieces.
It’s time to start putting it all together. It’s all held together with some wood glue, and 30mm nails. The thinner 20cm pieces need to be glued and nailed inside the wider 60cm piece.
A thicker piece can be glued and nailed in, leaving a gap on both sides for the 60cm thin piece to be put in place.
Now that you have a box, it needs a bottom. Put a bead of glue all around the base, then nail on the slats. Start with a wide piece, then a thin one, and finish with another wide one.
If you plan to make more than one, or just want some feet on the crates, you can add some strips of wood. These can be cut from the pieces left over from the 2x4. If the feet are inset from the ends and sides by the width of the wood it allows the crates to stack.
These can be glued and nailed into place, then you just need to let it all dry. 
When all the glue is dry, it can all be sanded smooth. This can be done by hand, but a random orbital sander makes it much easier.
The crates can be left natural, or you can apply any finish of your choice. I went for an ebony stain, as I liked the contrast with the chrome hardware I used.
I added some 90' brackets to the top corners, and some corner brackets to the bottoms. These add strength and - I think - look cool.
To make them easy to move, add some handles to the ends. (For a cheaper option, holes could be drilled through, and rope could be threaded through to make hand-holds.)
Card holders are a good idea, so you know what’s in the crates when they are stacked up.
Then all that’s left to do is fill up your crates!
Please take a look at the video for more information and subscribe to my YouTube cannel for a new project every week.

Suggested materials:

  • Wood 2x4

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Have a question about this project?

2 questions
  • Frank Bruno
    on Jan 18, 2017

    I only see one of the 40mm x 1 3/4 inches pieces used (cut to 20mm). What happened to he others?

  • Momo s
    on Sep 1, 2018

    Why not just cut three 20cm pieces in the beginning..maybe I'm confused because you say cut when you mean rip?

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