Nut & Washer Sorter




About: Retired Tool Maker ( 1980 ) Retired Mechanical Engineer ( 2009 ) Full time Tinkerer

I collect a lot of odd nuts, bolts and washers. Dad kept a coffee can of various sizes that we would search for the right sizes. Now that I have my own shop I have drawers for most all the sizes. But how do I quickly sort them into the right drawer?

Step 1: Laying Out the Plywood

So I took a scrap of 1/2" plywood and drilled holes in it for all the various sizes, #0 to #10, 1/4" to 1/2" and M3 to M12. I found a bolt in each size at least an inch long. Then I spread the bolts along two lines on the plywood, one for English sizes and one for Metric sizes. When I liked the spacing I marked each center and the bolt size. I measured the diameter of each one and picking a drill just a bit smaller I drilled holes for each bolt. Also drill a big hole to hang it up on the wall.

Step 2: Pressing the Bolts In

After drilling all the holes and sanding off the burrs I pressed all the bolts into their holes. If you have a loose one you can use some glue, or put a nut on the front side. ( I did )

Step 3: How I Use the Nut & Washer Sorter

So sorting washers is the easiest, just find the largest bolt the washer fits over. I keep all my washers sorted by English sizes, for Metric I use the closest size that looks good. If it fits over the bolt I just let them drop until the bolt is full and then transfer them all to the drawer.

For nuts I try to twist the nut onto the bolt. I only put the most common sizes on: 1/4"-20 and skipped 1/4"-28. If it spins on it is the common size, if not it must be the other size. Metric fine threads are uncommon, so not much sorting there.

So I keep this Nut & Washer Sorter hanging on the wall next to the drawers so it is handy as I store the odd fasteners. For serious sorting I pull it off the wall and use it at the work bench. Hope you find this easy to build and fun to use.

Good luck, Carl.



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    7 Discussions


    2 years ago

    Yep, nice one. I love simple solutions to make life easier.


    2 years ago

    Great..No more guessing when you get extra bolts from various projects.


    2 years ago

    Very nice. You could use some threaded inserts for your bolt sorter.

    2016, 7:37 AM.jpg

    2 years ago

    Great work citizen!


    2 years ago

    Great idea and great instructable.

    I hate using the "female card" when it comes to diy, but i alway seem to have issues finding the same sized bolts for the mixed tin.

    As an expansion of this idea, could you drill corresponding holes next to the bolts and glue the correct nut above the hole? That way gimps like me could quickly thread the bolt in, and I think it would be easier to find matching bolts.

    My husband has shown me to match the end of the thread, or match them side by side etc, but I'm just crap at finding matching bolts.

    What do you think?

    1 reply

    Reply 2 years ago

    I think that is a great idea. I do have similar cards with threaded holes that are store bought. Once you get all the 1/4" bolts in one spot it is easy to see the fine and course threads. Thanks!