All Boxed Up

4 Mar 2020 10:36 AM | Mary Hannaford (Administrator)

Even if you don’t know him, many of you have probably seen member Jeremiah Smith around the Roswell Firelabs Makerspace. He can often be found in the evenings or on the weekends working in the woodshop on his own projects or helping other members out with theirs. Just last December, he started a Build Your Own Picture Frame class. If you have seen him working, you’ve probably also seen the beautiful, wooden toolbox that he uses, too. What you might not know is that he built that toolbox himself, right here in the Firelabs. 

Jeremiah uses his toolbox to transport his personal tools to and from the makerspace. While he used to use the standard cloth or canvas tool totes for his tools, he found that they weren’t really secure and often bumped up against each other - sometimes even causing damage. Since he’d always wanted a wooden toolbox, Jeremiah decided that the time had come for him to make one. This way, he could design every inch of it to perfectly suit his taste and his tools.

Over the next few months, working in his spare time, Jeremiah began to build his toolbox. To make sure it wouldn’t be too heavy to carry, he made the frame from poplar, with a spalted maple front. The shelving inside is made from walnut and more maple, and the drawer face is from curly maple. It’s topped off with a gorgeous Sapele handle. While Jeremiah says the toolbox has currently taken him about 20-30 hours of work to make, he also says it’s still an ongoing project. Every time he gets a new tool, he has to add a place to put it! And, of course, if he ever runs out of room, he’ll happily make another one. 

Some of the tools around the Roswell Firelabs were essential in the making of his toolbox. He says the tools used included: table saw, miter saw, band saw, jointer, planer, drill press, metal lathe for brass rod used, router table, and various hand tools. The miter saw was his main tool, which he used for the corners of the box frame with a rabbet (a recess or groove) in the rear for the back panel.

The drawer top and side are dovetailed together. This means that each end of the wood pieces was cut with triangular teeth that fit together like a zipper for extra strength in the structure. The handle is split with magnets on either side to keep the hinged door closed during transport without the need for a clip or clasp. Magnets are also used to keep most of the tools inside in place.

The toolbox’s finish has been left natural, which is just beautiful. Jeremiah says he loves the look and feel of natural wood, but he might treat it with some oil or wax once he’s done adding a few more features. 

While this is a project that size-wise, could be completed in a garage, the Roswell Firelabs Makerspace offers a bit more elbow room and definitely more tools at your disposal! Not all of us have things like a table saw, planer, or drill press just laying around. Luckily, we don’t need to - the Firelabs has them for us!

If you’re a member of the Roswell Firelabs and have a project you’d like to share, please feel free to reach out on Slack or shoot me an email at

Roswell FireLabs
1601 Holcomb Bridge Rd

Roswell, GA 30076

Roswell FireLabs is managed by Atlanta Maker Alliance, Inc., a local 501(c)3 non-profit organization.

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