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Build Your Own Garden Tote

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By Rob Bergmueller 

Master Gardener℠ volunteer in Chatham County

Here’s a cheap and easy to make tote for carrying your garden tools.
Originally from a beekeeping publication from over thirty years ago and meant for carrying hive tools, I have found the tote to be great for carrying garden tools and tall and strong enough to act as a seat when gardening. Using it as a seat while weeding saves your knees as well as your back and it has a large enough base that you won’t topple over.

Wooden garden and beekeeping tote

Image: Rob Bergmueller

If you’re also a beekeeper, the dimensions are such that you can use this tote to act as a form and support for gluing and nailing hive frames. A full depth frame matches the outer dimensions of the box so that the frames are held square for gluing and nailing.

Wooden garden and beekeeping tote

Image: Rob Bergmueller

The entire project is made using ¾ inch pine shelving. Cut the material to the lengths and widths provided.

Part of Tote Thickness Length Width Number Needed
Top & Bottom 3/4″ 17″ 7 3/4″ 2
Sides 3/4″ 16 1/2″ 7 3/4″ 2
Cleats (lower compartment) 3/4″ 15 3/8″ 3 3/8″ 2

The box is easily constructed using lap joints. You don’t need anything fancy as this tote is strictly utilitarian. All joints are glued and nailed. Check with a try square to ensure that the box is aligned well. You can use thin rosin coated nails with small heads like you’d use for constructing hive frames. To make it easy to pick up and carry around the garden or bee yard, I used a hole saw and drilled three connecting holes that I can stick my hand into to pick the tote up. Finish the project with either a stain and a clear coat of polyurethane or a coat of your favorite paint. Please note that this box is not meant to stand on. The nailed joints are not strong enough to withstand twisting. Don’t worry about getting it dirty, it gives the tote character!

Wooden garden and beekeeping tote

Image: Rob Bergmueller