Handy Tote

Easy to adapt for a variety of uses, this utilitarian design can serve as a kid’s first toolbox, a tote for your favorite gardener or crafter or even a unique magazine rack. It requires only a few tools to build, and you can make two (one to give and one to keep!) from one 8-ft.-long 1x8, leaving almost no waste.


1. Use a jigsaw or miter saw to crosscut the bottom, ends and side blanks to length from a 1x8 board. Then use a ruler and compass to lay out the end-piece pattern (see photo for layout dimensions).


2. Stack and tape the end pieces together so that you can cut both ends at the same time. Use a jigsaw to cut along the layout lines, and use a 7/8-in.-dia. spade bit and drill to bore the handle holes. Cut the side blank piece in half to create two sides. Use the bottom piece as a straightedge to guide the jigsaw.


3. Clamp the bottom and sides between the ends. The parts are attached with 1-5/8-in. drywall screws. Bore a No. 6 countersink hole for each screw. Bore five holes through each end: two holes for each side and one hole for the bottom. Bore two holes through the bottom and up into the sides. Each countersink must be deep enough that the screwheads will be slightly recessed. Drive a screw into each countersink hole.


4. The handle is secured in the ends with a couple of finish nails. Insert the handle in the end holes, and drill a 1/16-in.-dia. pilot hole through the edge of both end pieces and into the center of the handle. Drive a finish nail into the pilot hole. Finally, fill the holes with paintable wood filler. Sand all surfaces smooth; then apply primer and paint.

Cutting List
No., Description, Size
2, Ends, 3/4 x 7-1/4 x 9-1/2 in.
2, Sides, 3/4 x 3-9/16 x 14-1/4 in.
1, Bottom, 3/4 x 7-1/4 x 14-1/4 in.
1, Handle, 7/8-in.-dia. x 15-3/4 in.

Shopping List
(Makes two totes)
1x8 x 8-ft. board (1)
7/8-in.-dia. x 32-in. wood dowel
1-5/8-in. drywall screws (12)
1-1/2-in. finish nails (2)
Wood filler
Paint or finish

Want more?

Check out these shop organization tips.
Hand tools overview.