Large number of parts organization

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Forum topic by jmartel posted 04-07-2015 05:43 PM 1102 views 0 times favorited 17 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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6457 posts in 1566 days

04-07-2015 05:43 PM

How does everyone else do their parts organization? Especially when talking about large numbers of parts. I’ve got an entertainment center that I’m building that will have around 20 part sizes, with multiples of each part.

In the past I’ve used a pencil to mark it, but over the course of working it, that can go away. And given that I use walnut a lot, it’s difficult to see sometimes. My initial thoughts are to use masking tape with a sharpie on the show face, and a few pieces to mark the forward edge and the top edge/side. Given that some of the pieces are close to square, but one side is slightly longer, I figured marking the sides would prevent confusion from machining the wrong side. Probably use letters to distinguish each part rather than number. My thoughts with the tape is that I can take the tape off if needed, and put it back on after machining that side.

Any other better ways that I’m missing? I know everyone tends to have their own way of organizing things and keeping them in order.

-- The quality of one's woodworking is directly related to the amount of flannel worn.

17 replies so far

View timbertailor's profile


1591 posts in 840 days

#1 posted 04-07-2015 05:56 PM

Painters tape or just right on them in pencil before final sanding.

-- Brad, Texas,

View shipwright's profile


7080 posts in 2214 days

#2 posted 04-07-2015 06:24 PM


-- Paul M ..............If God wanted us to have fiberglass boats he would have given us fibreglass trees.

View NoThanks's profile


798 posts in 945 days

#3 posted 04-07-2015 06:35 PM


- shipwright

So what are you saying, Permatex Magic Marker :)

I mark the edges and keep things in piles.
1 dot for shelves, 2 dots for adjustables, FE for finished end panels, Ijmb for center dividers.
I also keep everything face up throughout the build.

-- Because I'm gone, that's why!

View waho6o9's profile


7114 posts in 1993 days

#4 posted 04-07-2015 06:44 PM

Contrasting colors work for me and I like green on walnut easy to see.

View jmartel's profile


6457 posts in 1566 days

#5 posted 04-07-2015 07:23 PM


- shipwright

I think for this build, the smallest piece is 15”x18” or something aside from trim, so I think I’ll have more space than you usually do to label.

-- The quality of one's woodworking is directly related to the amount of flannel worn.

View bigblockyeti's profile


3565 posts in 1137 days

#6 posted 04-07-2015 09:26 PM

As far as keeping things in order for myself while I’m in the middle of making something (especially when dealing with large numbers of similar parts) I like to put parts on shelves. Performing all of a specific machining task on each stack of similar (or identical) parts before moving onto the next stack or next machine helps to make the process flow more efficiently and gives me good stopping points that can be resumed quickly.

View Jim Finn's profile

Jim Finn

2390 posts in 2338 days

#7 posted 04-07-2015 09:33 PM

I have not faced this issue but if I were to… I would mark with masking tape and write on that.

-- "You may have your PHD but I have my GED and my DD 214"

View Bluepine38's profile


3335 posts in 2501 days

#8 posted 04-09-2015 04:54 PM

83 door and drawer panel custom kitchen, we used numbers and letters on the stiles, rails and panels
where they would not show, throw in the middle stiles on large panels and it got very interesting. It
did however get finished. Used a 1/4” letter/number stamp set to put make the imprint then filled in
with fine lead mechanical pencil.

-- As ever, Gus-the 77 yr young apprentice carpenter

View daddywoofdawg's profile


1006 posts in 991 days

#9 posted 04-09-2015 05:11 PM

zip lock bags for small part and write on them in a way that you can reuse the bags.write on the end grain numbers,timber framers use roman numbers easy to read.

View distrbd's profile


2219 posts in 1863 days

#10 posted 04-09-2015 05:20 PM

I use these Stanley small parts organizers,they are stackable and very practical:

-- Ken from Ontario, Canada

View Picklehead's profile


991 posts in 1346 days

#11 posted 04-12-2015 10:52 AM


- shipwright

Paul, is this a wooly mammoth?

-- You've got to be smarter than the tree.

View lunn's profile


215 posts in 1725 days

#12 posted 04-12-2015 11:40 AM

I’m with waho The colored pencils won’t scratch wood like lead does. Wipes off with mineral spirits. If your using oil base stain, it will take it off. Tape left on for a long time, may leave glue residue from the tape, especially if it gets damp.

-- What started as a hobbie is now a full time JOB!

View Pezking7p's profile


3097 posts in 1068 days

#13 posted 04-12-2015 12:22 PM

I used the good 3m masking tape when doing my cabinet build, and make sure to mark the up direction and the show face. I didn’t like the tape technique much, because you had to constantly take it off and put it back. I think pencil on end grain might be best.

-- -Dan

View Woodbum's profile


714 posts in 2482 days

#14 posted 04-12-2015 04:42 PM

Blue painters tape. It releases well and most of the time doesn’t leave residue. But, if you leave it on for a real long time sometimes it doesn’t want to release cleanly. I also mark my parts on the end grain with numbers in chalk, but that can wipe off if used on the flat or the edge of a piece of stock. That’s why I mark on the ends.

-- "Now I'm just another old guy wearing funny clothes"

View CL810's profile


3403 posts in 2404 days

#15 posted 04-12-2015 07:49 PM

On my cut list I label each piece A, B, C…. Then I mark up the wood with the letters and lines roughly showing the cut lines with chalk. If white chalk won’t show, I use crayons. Then after dimensioning I switch to painters tape and sharpie. Cabinet maker’s triangle for orientation.

-- "The only limits to our realization of tomorrow will be our doubts of today." - FDR

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