How to Make a Tool Tote

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This Tool Tote has six through housing dado joints in it. These are used extensively for bookshelves and certain types of box construction. If you haven’t already done so, we recommend you complete the Housing Dado Course before you make this project.

You will need:

Wood Stock:

  • Sides (x 2): 20” (508mm) x 5½ ” (140mm) x ¾ (19mm)
  • Bottom: 20” (508mm) x 5½ ” (140mm) x ¾ (19mm)
  • Ends (x 2): 16” (406mm) x 5½ ” (140mm) x ¾ (19mm)
  • Handle: 1″ (25mm) dowel 20″ (508mm) long
  • Pegs: ¾” (19mm) x 2” (51mm)


  • Plane
  • Spokeshave
  • Gauge
  • Knife
  • Steel rule
  • Square
  • Panel saw
  • Tenon saw
  • Brace and 1″ bit
  • Drill and drill bit
  • Chisel 1” (25mm) and ½ “ (13mm)
  • Router plane
  • Pencil

Other Materials

  • 240 grit sandpaper
  • PVA

You must start with all parts trued, surface planed and cut to size. For a comprehensive guide on truing your stock by hand, click here.

Note: As the housing dado joint relies fundamentally on the two walls of the recess being parallel, you must ensure that all of the edges are straight, or at least the ones you will use as reference faces for registering your square against. You can check simply by butting up the edges of two pieces together. That said, you must be conscious that this does not always tell you that the edges are straight, since it’s also possible to get a good meeting line when one edge is round and the other is hollow.