View Full Version : Pen Storage (BIG and cheap)

June 1st, 2013, 08:49 PM
[Ed. Original thread can be found here (http://fpgeeks.com/forum/showthread.php/2838-Pen-Storage-(BIG-and-cheap)). Updated through post #97]

I got a tip this week for a place to find a box that would work to store pens... Harbor Freight Tools.

So I stopped and found a huge wooden tool chest (frankly the drawers are too shallow for tools and the felt lined wood wouldn't hold up, but whatever). HUGE compared to my poor cigar boxes, which I've far outgrown. Cost $75 with tax. I plan to eventually sand it down and refinish and swap out the rather ugly hardware but the whole thing is great.

Two big drawers that hold pen trays (I used the premade cut to fit kind) for 25 pens each. Plus 6 smaller trays that can hold pens, OR extra nibs, rehab supplies, eye droppers, etc. Plus a nice deep place under the top lid that holds most of my ink bottles (Noodler's bottles are just a tad too tall. So are the Iroshizuku ink boxes, the bottle might fit but I've kept it in the box.)

So happy. Was able to corral a pen and ink collection that has been driving my husband NUTS without having to do a bunch of rehab work making something else work for pens. This was simple, a little cutting and measuring for the trays and I was DONE and moved in. If you've got a Harbor Freight Tool and need a cheap storage solution check it out.

http://farm6.staticflickr.com/5336/8918337705_bded449bde_b.jpg (http://www.flickr.com/photos/84377112@N05/8918337705/)
PO3A1757 (http://www.flickr.com/photos/84377112@N05/8918337705/) by JoAndRoses (http://www.flickr.com/people/84377112@N05/), on Flickr

http://farm4.staticflickr.com/3777/8918954236_d9631104ac_b.jpg (http://www.flickr.com/photos/84377112@N05/8918954236/)
PO3A1758 (http://www.flickr.com/photos/84377112@N05/8918954236/) by JoAndRoses (http://www.flickr.com/people/84377112@N05/), on Flickr

http://farm9.staticflickr.com/8559/8918338827_172c1b781f_b.jpg (http://www.flickr.com/photos/84377112@N05/8918338827/)
PO3A1759 (http://www.flickr.com/photos/84377112@N05/8918338827/) by JoAndRoses (http://www.flickr.com/people/84377112@N05/), on Flickr

(Front has a panel that pulls up from the bottom and locks over the drawers so the whole thing is neatly secured from curious fingers:

http://farm3.staticflickr.com/2861/8919043530_54758a029e_b.jpg (http://www.flickr.com/photos/84377112@N05/8919043530/)
photo (http://www.flickr.com/photos/84377112@N05/8919043530/) by JoAndRoses (http://www.flickr.com/people/84377112@N05/), on Flickr

I'm impressed! Not the most beautiful, but functional, and I'd rather spend money on pens than on the (beautiful) $$$$ dedicated pen furniture.


June 1st, 2013, 10:12 PM
What a great suggestion. Looks really good.

Here is a link to their web site - http://www.harborfreight.com/eight-drawer-wood-tool-chest-94538.html

June 2nd, 2013, 11:40 AM
that is far more beautiful than my industrial looking Husky tool box drawer-thingy.

Oh, so you got one looking something like this:

June 2nd, 2013, 12:57 PM
Source for the inserts?

PLASTIS ice cube tray. Errr... the one on the left
99 cents at IKEA (Not affiliated at all, not an IKEA stock holder and I'm definitely not Swedish!!!)


June 2nd, 2013, 05:03 PM
that is far more beautiful than my industrial looking Husky tool box drawer-thingy.

Oh, so you got one looking something like this:

pretty close:




June 2nd, 2013, 05:41 PM
Oops, sorry, was not from Pentime. Was from GoPens.com


I used two full trays (the big drawers are a bit wider than the drawers so used another insert to add the two slots need to the drawer.

So that'd be 3 minimum if you just want to use the big drawers. Another tray or two would probably cut down to fit the small drawers easily, but I haven't done that yet.

Tony Rex
June 15th, 2013, 01:52 AM
Source for the inserts?
PLASTIS ice cube tray. Errr... the one on the left
99 cents at IKEA (Not affiliated at all, not an IKEA stock holder and I'm definitely not Swedish!!!)

Here's the size scale. Great for smaller and thinner pens.


I like great ideas. Thanks for sharing.


david i
June 24th, 2013, 12:52 AM
So, the uber-efficient bargain basement storage solution for pens.

It measures 12 inches wide by 15 inches deep, probably 13-14 inches tall (I've not measured that axis), weighing in at a couple-few pounds. It has slots for tray labels and can be locked. It's not going to stop aggressive crooks, but helpful to keep trays sliding out during transport from your pen room to living room to show pens to visitors and such...


Yeah, barely larger than the foot-print of the typical 48-pen notebook folders so prevalent in the hobby, it has ten trays. Lined with Gary-trays, each tray can hold 28 pens in slots, usually with room to rest 2-4 pens across slots between the two rows of pens. Let's say 30 pens per tray. Oh yeah... ten trays. 300 pens in a roughly 1 ft by 1 ft footprint. Cool. Right?

Most of my core collection is housed in the 100-140 year old Hamilton wooden case shown on the prior page of this discussion. But, even my own collection has outgrown that case, never mind sales stock. So some of my overflow has found its way to these 300-pen cabinets. The next image shows one of the trays, lined with Gary-slotter trays, housing the World's Most Complete collection of 1930's pens done in Screaming Souls in Purgatory celluloid.


Not sure I mentioned, but to those of us who display pens en masse at pen shows, light gray tends to be the most desirable color for background. It does not distract from the pens, does not show dust.

Here is the pen cabinet with PENnant Magazine (i know the guy what wrote the Sheaffer article and provided that killer cover... cough... cough), the Magazine measuring just 8.5" by 11" and covering most of the cabinet top.


I thought of buying up a bunch and offering them with Gary liners to the pen community, but truth is they are too bulky to buy by the dozen, what with my limited space in Manhattan.

To complete these cabinets for pen storage, one can buy 6-7 sheets of Gary liner (I recommend light gray). One just trims the sheet at the 14th slot and then can plop the sheet into a tray. After cutting up a few trays, the scraps can be used to fill the remaining trays in each cabinet.

Now, I do sell one of the most efficient means of taking pens for travel, the famous hardback 64-pen carry case. Here is one of my 64 pen travel cases propped next to the 300-pen Cabinet, whose small footprint and light weight amazes me even now.


If anyone needs a 64-pen travel case, email me, as I have a few still in stock.

So, I've shown the efficiency of the 300pen cabinet. Tiny footprint. Tiny height (Ivan's case shown a bit earlier probably holds similar number of pens, but is a tad larger). Light weight. Lockable. Space for tray labels.

But, what is the cost? I had- after all- asserted cost and efficiency as benefits of this cabinet.

Well, the cabinets typically sell for $29, sometimes discounted to $23. Shipping in USA runs $15. Gary tray liners run $45 or so in quantity (6-7) to fill one cabinet. Figure $90 for 300-pen storage that fits in the corner of your desk.

And... there ya have it. Sorry took long to post this. Life is busy. I have not even had chance to post this yet at Fountain Pen Board. Figure the next few days there...



June 24th, 2013, 10:14 AM
In case anyone has a cheap way to get stuff from China, or wants to freight a bunch, this is a Shantou Fuqiang Stationery Industry model FQ2610. They sell for around 90 CNY (15 USD) on Taobao.

david i
June 24th, 2013, 11:33 AM
$15 is better price than the $23-29 for which I've bought mine, but shipping small numbers (eg. individual orders) from China perhaps would more than make up the difference.

The 23-29 dollar price I had cited is from ebay, shipping from the USA within the USA. Might be easier than trying to fight for the extra $10 savings having to deal with overseas shipping.

Had I my old house and garage, I might stock 100 or so of these for resale, but as my NYC apartment cannot possibly handle that, I'm happy to see folks grab these directly.