French Cleat Nail Gun Cabinet

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Blog entry by davidcolley posted 11-20-2015 12:46 AM 3107 reads 0 times favorited 2 comments Add to Favorites Watch

This has been a project on my To Do list for some time. Since I’m between big projects and happen to be walking around a few larger pieces of plywood I figured I’d knock this out.

As previously noted I’m a CAD designer (we used to call ourselves draftsman) by trade and use some pretty expensive software at work – but for home consumption I use SketchUp Make (the free version) and it does all I need to in order to design my woodworking projects. The picture above was created with SketchUp and a “sketchy” style applied.

I don’t own a lot of pneumatic nail guns but I do own a few and one of the more frustrating things for me is having to dig a tool out of the plastic case most tools come with. I suppose these cases are convenient for those who tote their tools from job site to job site – but for a workshop atmosphere – readily available equals time savings.

French cleat

Quite some time ago I installed a French cleat system on my garage walls and have been impressed with the versatility of the system. In contrast with any store-bought wall-mounted storage system – I don’t have to worry about some manufacturer changing the design or discontinuing the product once I’ve invested in it. I also don’t have to worry about being limited to what gadgets and options the manufacturer might think I’ll need – I can design my own.

design elements

So along with being constructed to fit the French cleat system, I also wanted the cabinet to include a drawer to house any nail gun specific tools, manuals, and, of course, the nails. I’d also like it to accommodate the couple of nail guns I currently have (my framing nailer likely won’t be stored here – I just don’t use it that often) and a couple that are on the wish list. I also wanted to incorporate adjustable dividers.

I’ve uploaded this model to the SketchUp 3D Warehouse if anyone is interested in building it, or a version of it. You can find it by clicking HERE.

practice makes perfect

They say that shop projects are an opportunity to practice and try new things that you would like to learn and possibly incorporate into your “real” builds. I wholeheartedly believe this but I’m also something of a perfectionist – so when I build a shop project, I want it to come out and look good too – it is MY garage after all and as much as my wife like to keep the house neat and clean – I too like to keep the garage organized. That being said I took this opportunity to try out a new dado set and try a couple drawer construction techniques.

the build and its difficulties

Probably the most frustrating part of this build was setting up the dado blades to accommodate the plywood thicknesses and dealing with warped lumber. This build consisted of 3/4” oak and birch plywood. Some of it had been sitting around for quite some time and could easily have been mistaken as a snow sled (very warped). The oak was 5-ply and the birch was 7-ply and neither was the same thickness. [No, 3/4” plywood is not 3/4” thick.] so that had to be taken into consideration when making cuts.


in the end

In the end the project turned out nicely. There is one thing that went not as planned and should have been a “no brainer” but I believe my mistake is not something that I alone am capable of (see if you can spot my mistake – it’s in there, I just worked with it). [Note to self: when you are making a cabinet with a left and a right side – the left and right sides are opposite – not identical.]

Read about my other builds at

-- David Colley |

2 comments so far

View BurlyBob's profile


9517 posts in 3602 days

#1 posted 11-20-2015 02:51 AM

That is a nice set up.

View helluvawreck's profile


32122 posts in 4203 days

#2 posted 11-20-2015 08:51 PM

Nice design and well done.

helluvawreck aka Charles

-- helluvawreck aka Charles,

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