Building an Aluminum Diamond Plate Toolbox

By: Joe Truini

I got a call a while back from the editor of Popular Mechanics magazine who asked if I’d be interested in writing about building a traditional-style carpenter’s toolbox. I said, sure, but suggested that rather than building it entirely out of wood, I’d use a more unusual, cooler-looking material.

So, I went online and found a company in Decatur, Tennessee, called Storm Copper Components that sells precut sheets of polished aluminum diamond plate. This stuff is my new favorite building material. The surface of the aluminum is embossed with a traditional diamond-plate pattern, the kind you might see on a bulldozer or dump truck; only it’s highly polished to a mirror-like sheen.

I ordered a 24″ x 24″ piece of .080″ thick diamond plate for about $42, and then bought an inexpensive sheet metal brake so I could bend the aluminum. I made the ends of the toolbox out of red oak and use a brushed-nickel pipe for the handle.

All in all, I think it’s turned out really well, and the article about it is in the January 2009 issue of Popular Mechanics magazine. To see the final product and find out how to build it, go to How to Build a Tough Toolbox on the Popular Mechanics website.

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