I’ve been trying different sizes of docks to find The One True Dimension, which I think is 3″ wide by 1.5″ square. However, the other sizes can be useful in other situations, such as holding up business cards or other scraps of paper. I’m liking the effect of having different sizes ha on visually organizing competing to-do lists.
There are two interesting craft problems I’m facing:
- I was having problems with the slot being slightly curved. I was about to fix a defective Allen-headed set screw by jamming a torx bit into it, which helped fix a wobble. The curve, though, was created by a loose blade tensioner. Now the slots are straight, but it turns out that the slight curve helped grip the card better! This suddenly becomes a difficult cut, unless I can purposefully deform the saw blade in a controlled manner. Or, go to some kind of molded design. Or perhaps design a jig for a precision router that can follow a curved contour. The alternative is to cut the straight slot but find a slightly-narrower blade (the “kerf”, I think this is called) so the slot is thinner, make the dock wider, or the cut deeper so it sits better.
Finishing wood with stain and other coatings is surprisingly complex. I was under the impression that this was a wipe-on, wipe-off operation. However, as with many things, this advice has no bearing on achieving a high-quality finish. Although I’m dealing with small pieces of wood, I want the finish on them to be exceptional. These are desktop artifacts, after all.
p>For finishing wood, I’ve found this Fine Woodworking article on selecting a wood finish very helpful in understanding the different types of finishes. I had no idea there were so many kinds. I’m leaning toward hand rubbed finished, and have been looking into acquiring finer grades of sandpaper. The instrument making scene seems to have a lot to say about high-quality finishes also, and I’m getting the idea that it takes weeks if not months to do it right. That has ramifications for my production line. I’d like to get a small surface plate, which is awesomely flat, to use as a sanding base as I move through progressively finer grits. I also would like to make a bunch of staining vises that will hold the blocks in a frame, held in place with a pressure-applying screw shaft. I could possibly just use cheap C-Clamps that I build a holder for so I can array them out in a row and batch stain…but I’m getting a little ahead of myself. It’s fun to think about, though.
Have you ever considered using aluminum heat sinks salvaged from old/dead desktop computers? The aluminum base is heavy enough to not tip over while holding a sheet of paper, there are multiple slots to store cards in and the designs are sleek and modern looking. I use one at my desk for business cards and another to hold notes or important papers. I’ve even attached a few to wood blocks and given them out as gifts!
I have a box that I’ve owned at least 20 years — it’s a wooden index card file box with the cut in the wooden top that you are making. I believe it was meant for recipes; at least, that’s how I used it. It’s very handy! The cut in my box is much shallower than you show in your picture, which means that less of the index card gets obscured by being buried in the cut. I would suggest making the cut as shallow as possible, for that reason. Most index cards are sturdy enough to stand with very little depth to the cut. I’ve never seen a box like this since I bought this one. It’s a good idea, because it holds the very index cards that you will be inserting on top.