Plans for California Job Case

Does anyone have or know where to find woodworking plans to build your own California Job Case? I’d like to make some for myself as I’m having no luck finding any locally. I can find a diagram of the layout but no dimensions to actually build one.



Log in to reply   8 replies so far

Mike, in New Jersey has them for sale, all different styles. Also try

Best of Luck.

Mike- I have been wondering the same thing. Actually, it shouldn’t be too difficult to make a template if you already have a case; but I’m not sure the labor and cost of thin hardwood would be lower than buying cases on-line. The biggest problem with buying and having them shipped is the shipping, often more costly than the case itself.
Let us know if this works out for you! - Best of luck,


If some one can give me the outer dimensions I should be able to print a layout full size on the wide carriage printer at work and reverse engineer a copy.


My stats say that a full size california case is 16 5/8 inches by 32 3/16 inches (no kidding) The “case”, i.e. that surrounds the compartment, is made of two different heights of wood. The front of the case is 1 7/16 inches high, the three sides are 1 1/8 inches high. The two inside braces are 1 1/8 inches gh hiwhile the thin separators are 15/16 high. The bottoms are usually 1/8 inch pressboard or ply, rabbited into the outside frame. I hope this is helpful.


Thanks Denis, that is incredibly helpful. I should be able to knock together something functional until I find the real deal. Don Black has a couple cabinets but I think the shipping across the country would be prohibitive.

Mike, I have 90 plus cases all in good to excellent condition.I’m located in Ansonia CT. email [email protected].

I recently had the same thoughts about making cases and drew up some plans using a design software provided by

I have all of the dimensions drawn out and the next step is to figure out the best way to machine the component parts.

I am modeling the parts from a mint conditionHamilton case that I acquired at auction.

To produce CNC code to make the wooden inserts and exactly where to make the dovetail cuts in the outer frame would be a great service to printers. But, I am no carpenter.

Having the plans digitized would enable an enterprising individual to put together a do-it-yourself kit that could be shipped much more economically than a fully assembled case. Easy to do with a CNC router or even a 3d printer, or one could produce the parts using plastic injection molding. Not exactly historically aesthetic, but it would be functional, and better than storing type in tackle boxes!

I found a source for case handles as well.

My experiences with buying used cases is not so much the cost, but the excessive shipping fees associated with their finished dimensions. You also never quite know what you are going to get. More than once I have received a structurally sound typecase with the inner dividers having gaps under which small type can slide and mix with other characters. That’s when the hot glue gun comes out, which can end up a sticky mess!

Please let me know if I can collaborate.

Mike Moore
Letterkraft Press

I met a retired shop teacher, who presented pictures of a coffe table he built. It had a glass top and inside of it was type cases, all made of oak! It was truly a thing of beauty.
Perhaps the the .918 club might have plans for your type cases. you can contact them at A good number of the members are retired shop teachers, there located in the city of Lancaster.