A Hudnut Sorter

  • Advertise with us
Blog entry by handsawgeek posted 08-01-2014 03:00 PM 1661 reads 0 times favorited 2 comments Add to Favorites Watch

What the heck is a Hudnut?

And why does it require a sorter?

I’m very pleased that you asked these questions.

In the consumer electronics repair industry, whenever a TV, VCR, DVD player, or any other equipment was taken apart, fixed, and re-assembled, there would invariably be a screw, a spring, or some small part that was accidentally left out. If the technician deemed that the part was not important enough to the operation of the unit that it would require tearing the whole dern thing apart again to find where it went, it was thrown into a container on the workbench. These random collections of screws and widgets are affectionately called Hudnuts, and the container that holds them is called a Hudnut Box.

A Hudnut Box can be anything from an empty tissue box to a coffee can to a Mason jar. Whatever does the job. You see, electronics isn’t all that complicated after all!

How does this relate to the woodworking shop?

Let me give you an example from my own shop.

Let’s say I’m building a project that requires 10 #6×2” wood screws. I find the little drawer of said screws in my hardware bin, grab a handful, and head for the workbench. When assembly is complete, I find that I grabbed two extra. Being somewhat lazy, I don’t want to bother finding that same little drawer in the hardware bin again, so the offending screws get tossed into a coffee can on the shelf which is crudely labeled….

wait for it…..


Over time, this coffee can becomes quite full of all these random screws. It has become a form of Hudnut Box. I’m reasonably sure that every woodworker in the world has one or two sitting around in the shop.

They just didn’t know what to call them, until now.

Now, let’s pretend that I have a need for two or three screws to hastily attach something, a tool hanger perhaps, to the shop wall. Rather than painstakingly look for the little drawer in the hardware bin to find just the right screws, I grab the Hudnut Coffee Can from the shelf.

The one labeled “SCREWS”, of course.

Peering into the can, I reach in and begin rummaging through the collection, repeatedly getting stabbed by sharp screw points, until, in frustration I end up retrieving my bloody hand and dumping the lot onto the workbench, just so I can find the stinking screws I need.

After selecting the screws, the whole mess has to go back into the can. This cannot be accomplished without at least a dozen or so screws missing the can and hitting the floor.

Another five minutes crawling about the shop floor to retrieve them.

My solution to this conundrum?

The Hudnut Sorter.

Essentially, a Hudnut Sorter is nothing more than a scrap piece of ¼”plywood and a handful of wooden stir sticks swiped from the paint department at the BORG. Cut and glue the sticks onto the board to form a sort of corral with a pouring channel at one end.

Works great for any type of Hudnut sorting application, whether they be screws, nails, washers, picture hangers, or whatever.

You can even drill a hole to hang it on the wall next to your Hudnut Box(s), as I have done.

A couple a’ pics will ‘splain everything…..

-- Ed

2 comments so far

View Mark Shymanski's profile

Mark Shymanski

5621 posts in 3738 days

#1 posted 08-02-2014 02:43 PM

This is a personal pet peeve of mine, perhaps fostered during my time as a heavy equipment mechanic. I really dislike sorting through ‘collections’ of bolts or screws….and in some cases we’d use very high strength bolts and it would be dangerous to ‘mix and match’ fasteners. It has been ingrained in me to use only new fasteners and that a mismatched bolt gets tossed rather than used. I don’t toss too many now that I’m payin’ for ‘em but they go back in their container so I know what and where they are.

Now I wish I could say the same about all the #$&%# paper in my office LOL!

-- "Checking for square? What madness is this! The cabinet is square because I will it to be so!" Jeremy Greiner LJ Topic#20953 2011 Feb 2

View sfhipchick's profile


76 posts in 342 days

#2 posted 07-21-2017 08:05 PM

Oh the giggling hilarity of it all! :D I love your sorter and the story you wrote to get there! I believe that it’s not possible to HAVE a shop without at least one container of hudnuts! In fact, our shop wasn’t even a day old before he had a little baggie full of them. Now there are a bunch of baggies. These little baggies appear every time Steve finishes a project and there are little thingies on the work tables that may or may not have a home or may be part of a tool or something. He’s never around when I find these do-hickies so I grab a little baggie and in they go. I even have a collection of plastic baggies of all sizes just waiting for their chance to shine!

Unfortunately, I am trying to keep things organized but there are too many random do-dads and since Steve isn’t making the attempt to make a home for any of them, I’m about at the point where I’m going to gather all of the little bags and dump them into a single bag of Do-Dads! Er…Hudnuts. So sorry.

I do love your organization tray. One thing I can’t stand is the griminess of the hudnuts, and as you mentioned, their unfriendly qualities…why must they always bite?! Is there such a thing as hudnut rabies? Wait…tetnus…ew.

Anyway, I WAS reading your Gerber series but saw “hudnut” and needed to know more about this strange term! :) TY for the giggle and great idea!

-- Move out of your comfort zone. You can only grow if you are willing to feel awkward and uncomfortable when you try something new. ~ Brian Tracy

Have your say...

You must be signed in to post the comments.

DISCLAIMER: Any posts on LJ are posted by individuals acting in their own right and do not necessarily reflect the views of LJ. LJ will not be held liable for the actions of any user.

Latest Projects | Latest Blog Entries | Latest Forum Topics