My son has a lot of toys. For that purpose, I would like (if durable suitable drawers can't be bought) consider making drawers or boxes on rollers in a frame or something like. I live in Japan and we have dining room table and almost no tools beyond a small hammer and small screwdriver. There is decent hardware store in our area. The space I would like build into is 70 cm wide by 100 cm deep and 150 cm- I am totally on the number of drawers to build. There certainly lots of drawer building video which focus on small aesthetic pleasing desk drawers. If I really don't care about aesthetics (I don't care how it looks), is the project practical if I have never really built anything? What about I bought plastic boxes and then mounted them on a frame?

  • When you mentioned the decent hardware stores, are you willing to buy a tool or so to build the drawers?
    – Jack
    Jan 2, 2022 at 7:18
  • Yes but don't have space to put things. Jan 2, 2022 at 7:44
  • It might be the hardware store will rent tools, so you do not need to keep them for long. Most building usually comes down to making very good measurements and checking them often to build decent things. Power tools are nice, but hand tools do as good of a job for most projects.
    – crip659
    Jan 2, 2022 at 14:15
  • 1
    "Yes but don't have space to put things" - but if you're building drawers maybe you could reserve one for your "toys" ... ;) Just put a lock on it so that curious little hands don't get any unsupervised access.
    – brhans
    Jan 2, 2022 at 14:37
  • Where I live you can buy nice stacking plastic toy boxes for 10 USD. I don't know if cheap Chinese plastic crap costs more or less in Japan than it does in the US but it can't be far off. You say you don't have space and you don't care how it looks. You do not say that you are interested in starting a woodworking hobby, you do not state any direction for that hobby other than building one toy box. So why not just buy a cheap ugly box? amazon.co.jp/…
    – jay613
    Jan 2, 2022 at 15:50

3 Answers 3


Rather than buying a tablesaw, you could buy a Japanese hand saw and a chisel. With these you can certainly build a box and with practice, a cabinet and a set of drawers.

Japanese saws cut on the pull stroke, so they can be made thinner than European saws. This makes them ideal for dovetailing.

For the box you will only need to learn how to do one joint - either dovetail or box joint. Or even a butt joint and just screw the walls together.

If you decide on a dovetail, remember that with hand woodworking you can make the tail as large as you like. There is no need to do twenty 1cm dovetails on each side - although this would be good practice!

Do not be shocked by the chisel prices. That is for a full set. Initially you only need one as wide as the joint you are making.

In the linked video, don't worry about all the planing. If you can get some reasonably straight and flat wood, for a toy box you should be fine. He uses a really easy joint that only needs a saw.

To make the bottom of the box, just nail some plywood across.

If you find you enjoy woodworking, The Anarchist's Tool Chest by Chris Schwarz will give you a box to put all your tools in. Chris is an excellent place to go for learning about woodworking.

  1. Japanese saws
  2. Chisels
  3. Some examples of woodworking joints
  4. Building a simple box
  5. Easy box with large dovetails
  • 1
    The Japanese saw is a good idea. But pointing someone with "a hammer and a screwdriver" to dovetail joints will only result in great frustration for them. Screws and steel brackets are more likely to give them something useful in a reasonable amount of time.
    – Olivier
    Jan 2, 2022 at 14:59
  • I do mention that you can use butt joints and screws. I wanted to steer the conversation away from table saws...
    – AlDante
    Jan 2, 2022 at 18:56

The one tool that may do everything you need to build drawers is a tablesaw. The bigger the better, width cutting capacity wise, that is. With repeated passes you can cut dadoes or rabbets or even finger joints for drawer sides. Rabbets for the bottom to reside in, besides sizing the material for assembly. If you learn what you need to apply the tool to what you want to make, it will be quite feasible. First projects aren't usually great looking to begin with although they could, the esthetics improve over time after gaining experience on doing more projects. Who knows, you may like it and want to do more over time.....


It is certainly possible to build good drawers, as @aldante describes, but one can also (at least in North America, and I assume in Japan) order custom sized drawers online that arrive as easy to assemble parts.

Cost-wise, they might be appealing when compared to buying and storing basic tools. (And of course, assembly time is minimal compared to building from scratch.)

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