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Generation Next | Building a First Tool Box

Ask This Old House general contractor Tom Silva teaches a young fan how to build her first tool box.


  1. To determine the correct length for your tool box, use the longest tool in your tool box as a guide and mark just beyond it on a piece of 1x5 pine.
  2. Cut the board on the mark using the hand saw, making sure that your shoulder is perfectly lined up with the edge of the saw to ensure a straight cut.
  3. Repeat this process for the other side of the tool box.
  4. Cut the ends to the desired length using 1x10 pine.
  5. The length of the bottom of the tool box should be the length of the sides, plus the thickness of the two ends. Mark and cut the bottom to that dimension.
  6. To dress up the ends of the toolbox, cut the tops of each end piece at an angle using the hand saw.
  7. Drill holes in the two ends of the tool box, using the drill driver to accept the handle. Choose a bit that matches the size of the dowel you have and drill through both end pieces at the same time to ensure the hole is aligned correctly. Drill most of the way through both pieces, but to prevent chipping, flip the boards over and drill from the other side to complete the holes.
  8. Sand the edges of all your cuts using the palm sander. Start with the lower grit and work your way up.
  9. Assemble the sides, bottom, and ends together using wood glue and box nails.
  10. Once the box is assembled, slide the dowel through the holes. Secure it to the box by nailing from the top of each end through the dowel.