It started with the best of intentions. I was looking for a project for the Monday night woodworking group that often meets in my shop, the Hillsborough-Orange Woodworkers. I’m always looking for something relatively challenging, interesting and potentially useful.

It was with some excitement (a bit of an exaggeration) that I saw plans from Chuck Bender at 360 Woodworking for a dovetailed nail carrier/box. I showed the plans to a few members. There was some interest so I proceeded to the next logical stage and built a prototype.

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My first prototype as Mr. Bender intended.

The members liked the prototype but then the discussion turned to making something actually useful that might hold nails. The prototype as built really was not suitable for holding an assortment of boxed and loose nails. I pointed out that argument was moot in that I could not imagine any who built it actually using it for nail storage and cartage. I was ignored and the dissenters marched forward with ideas and notions of their own. Two trays with handles in the upper section, a tilting handle for easier access to the lower section….

To save face, I built a second prototype incorporating their ideas:

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I thought this is what they wanted.

I presented Prototype II expecting praise and adulation. Neither was forthcoming. It seems the criteria I missed was the ability to be converted into a beer carrier. I don’t drink so it never occurred to me. What did occur to me was that converting it to a beer carrier would make it much less likely to ever be exposed to a one pound box of 6-Penny bright steel smooth shank box nails.

At this point, I yielded the project to Ed Brant, the head of the loyal opposition. He built his interpretation of the project and was followed by several other members.

This is what they built:

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As you see, it holds beer.

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And it holds nails.

The top tray lifts out and can be replaced with one that holds more nails.

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Did I mention the handle tilts?

And apparently this is what passes for beer in these parts:

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I don’t drink. I wouldn’t know.

Well, this time I only built two prototypes of something for which I have no use.