Bit Braces

W. & S. Butcher


Working with Hands - James E. Price

  Tool Boxes 1 of 2  

Not all the tool boxes
I make are dovetailed
and made with refined
joiners' tools.




Last year I went through an exercise of figuring out how I would make a box if I were back in time circa 1790 as a fur trapper in The Ozark Highland of Upper Louisiana.

The tools I used to make the box in the photos were the kinds that were routinely carried on belts or in a pouch.

A belt axe, hunting knife, and a clasp knife were used. The boards were rived out of red oak. I made a club to pound on the hatchet head to start a split and the drove in little dogwood wedges to chase the split to the other end. It helped that the oak I chose split easily. The dimensions of the box are 11-5/8 x 6-1/4 x 5-5/8 inch.

I made tools out of horseshoe and square nails such as a small chisel and a bow drill. It took about 8 inches of iron wire to make the snipe hinges. The latch was made from a piece of bone and leather.

Sawing was done with a little steel saw with a 3-inch blade that I made before the imaginary trip and put in the pouch. I worked well over a week on this box and then made another one while the techniques were fresh in my mind.

I flaked some stone scrapers for smoothing the rived boards and finished the smoothing with a flat sandstone rock about the size of a bar of soap.

I did not use sinew to join the boards together to make the box. The lashings you see in the photos are string saturated with beeswax.

1 of 2  

Simonds Saws

Atkins Backsaws


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