Vintage Toolbox

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Woodcraft catalog cover with vintage Stanley 888 toolbox

An iconic tote for your on-the-go tools

In the early twentieth century, Stanley made some of the best hand tools then available. Along with their iconic hand planes and chisels they also made a series of toolboxes including the model 888. Recently, a member of the Woodcraft team came across a vintage 888 which was featured on the cover of a recent catalog. After taking a look at this bit of woodworking history, we couldn’t help but want to build a similar one, stocking it with a collection of key handtools for bench work. But rather than strictly reproducing the original, which was simply nailed together, we went with box joint construction for added durability. We also substituted 1/2" birch plywood for the bottom to avoid the crossgrain construction we would have had to deal with should we have employed solid stock. Our dimensions are very close to the old Stanley’s, but feel free to tweak them to suit whatever tools you intend to tote. As a collection of tools can be quite heavy, you’ll want to choose a lightweight wood for your box so as not to add unnecessarily to your burden. We went with butternut (see p. 54 for more about this lightweight species) but white pine or even cedar would also be good choices. Online, you’ll find a file for recreating our custom WM logo which we laser-engraved as a nod to the Stanley’s brass badge.

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