Help please - Painting six board chest question

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Forum topic by simoncpj posted 07-12-2018 03:00 PM 496 views 0 times favorited 6 replies Add to Favorites Watch
View simoncpj's profile


23 posts in 1359 days

07-12-2018 03:00 PM

I am making a mini six board chest and plan to use traditional cut nails and no glue to hold it together. I would like to paint the exterior with milk paint.

How would you suggest I do this without leaving paint on the cut nail heads?
Pre-finish prior to nailing together
Try to paint around the nail heads
Paint over and try to wipe while wet

Thanks for the benefit of your collective experience

6 replies so far

View Lazyman's profile


5794 posts in 2234 days

#1 posted 07-12-2018 03:05 PM

If you can put some wax on the nail heads without getting it on the surrounding wood, it would be easier to get the paint off afterwards (wet or dry). Or better yet, especially since you are not going to glue it together, paint it before assembly.

-- Nathan, TX -- Hire the lazy man. He may not do as much work but that's because he will find a better way.

View John Smith's profile

John Smith

2651 posts in 1010 days

#2 posted 07-12-2018 03:27 PM

do you have any concerns about the cut nails rusting ?
or would that just add character to the project.

if there was no glue involved, I think I would assemble the whole box
with the nails left out maybe a 1/4” or so, paint the box as desired,
then come back after you are satisfied with the paint job and set the nails.
you could grind down a bolt to the profile of the nail head to set the nails
without leaving hammer marks. or – if you wanted the heads dead flush with
the wood, use a large flat bench chisel on the nail head and gently tap it in.



-- there is no educational alternative to having a front row seat in the School of Hard Knocks. --

View bondogaposis's profile


5837 posts in 3198 days

#3 posted 07-12-2018 04:56 PM

Paint the boards first then assemble.

-- Bondo Gaposis

View LittleShaver's profile


687 posts in 1466 days

#4 posted 07-12-2018 05:54 PM

I like John’s suggestion. Since your nails sound like a feature, you might want to do a careful layout to get consistency and symmetry.

-- Sawdust Maker

View ColonelTravis's profile


1976 posts in 2741 days

#5 posted 07-12-2018 06:09 PM

I learned this technique for smaller brad nails on molding, it may or may not be feasible in your case, but get a tiny gouge, dig into the wood a little, lift up a flap (don’t tear it off), put a nail in the depression that you gouged, hammer it in, put glue on the flap, rest it back down to cover the nail head, then put some masking tape to keep the flap down while the glue dries. You’ll never know a nail was there. I’m doing that with 1 1/2” cut nails on one board on a desk build I’m about finished with. I don’t want to use pocket screws and I don’t want nail heads to show on this board. Also doing it with brad nails on the trim molding.

View simoncpj's profile


23 posts in 1359 days

#6 posted 07-12-2018 07:59 PM

Thanks Gents, I appreciate the wisdom. Likely will see what I can pre-finish then try leaving the nail heads proud for the touch up.

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