Why I Can’t Have Anything Nice

I’m pondering a new feature on http://www.theapartmentwoodworker.com. A weekly “Things I Learned This Week” segment. Cautionary tales for the small space woodworker.

This week’s entry: when driving nails into unsupported face grain, pre-drill as deep as you can.

For the new travel tool chest, I nailed on the rot strips (instead of screwing them on like I would normally). The nails (Tremont fine finish) are about 1/4″ shorter than the combined thickness of the rot strips and the floorboards, prior to setting. Wanting the nails to bite hard, I only pre-drilled the rot strips themselves and not the floorboards. Fine finish nails taper dramatically, so it should have worked.


And it looks fantastic from this angle.

What actually happened was each nail pushed fibers up and through the floorboards, splintering the face grain. Not a structural issue, but an annoying cosmetic blemish.

As a result, the tool chest floor is getting an adhesive-backed cork lining.  They say the sign of a good woodworker is not the absence of mistakes, but the ability to hide the mistakes made.

As an alternative to further pre-drilling, I may next time drive the rot strips first, before attaching the floorboards to the carcase. That should eliminate any unsupported fibers and give me the fastening power I’m after.



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