Nail Cabinet


This is based on an article by Chris Schwarz in the Popular Woodworking magazine of February 2014. The 21 drawers hold fasteners that take up too much space and are hard to find when you need them.

For me, it was practice for when I need to re-do the kitchen cabinets. I tried hand cut dovetails for the case. The drawer fronts required lots of rabbets and use of chisels and planes. There are three coats of water-based polyurethane topcoat on top of oil-based natural and cognac colored stains. Each drawer had to be custom fit to each space; and they took me four months to finish. Keeping track of which drawer fit into which space was a job by itself. The card catalog pulls are from Lee Valley.

One thing that amazes me is that the original nail cabinet was a modified old crate by a guy in his garage in Washington D.C.. Years ago, Roy Underhill bought it at a garage sale. It’s on his TV show on the back wall. Chris Schwarz made one and wrote an article about it. Now it’s famous. The guy who made the original probably never knew the impact it would have with woodworkers.

It’s a beautiful cabinet. And for nail?
The rest of the shop must be out of this planet.
My dad has a nail cabinet where he accumulated all kind of fastener over the year. Not as beautiful as your though.

Great job.

Abbas, Castro Valley, CA

You turned this storage cabinet into a work of art! Your workmanship looks sensational. And I think four months is pretty speedy for all those hand-cut dovetails! That’s a great story behind the original cabinet, too.

I can understand completely about the drawers because I experienced exactly the same thing with my storage cabinet (which is merely a utilitarian structure and not a work of art).

I solved my problem by hammering in a mark on each drawer box.


“Those who would give up essential Liberty, to purchase a little temporary Safety, deserve neither Liberty nor Safety.” Benjamin Franklin

Looks wonderful. Maybe better for storing the crown jewels than nails, but we all have different shop standards and yours are obviously higher than mine.

Mike, an American living in Norway

This looks a lot nicer then the original! Every time my wife runs across one of these she says I need one of those so I guess its on my bucket list.

-- Paul--- Creativity is allowing yourself to make mistakes. Art is knowing which ones to keep. — Scott Adams

I have several plastic cabinets with drawers that I hold various small screws, nails etc. Your cabinet is way more classy!

Rob, Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario

Thanks for all the great comments. I consider the cabinet to be a new member of the family. (But should I clean some of the ugly nails before putting them into it?) Yikes!

Very nice work Rich amazing nail bin

woodworking classes, custom furniture maker

This is a cool cabinet, needs to be on my build list.

Main Street to the Mountains