Card Caddy

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This article is from Issue 11 of Woodcraft Magazine.

Use your scroll saw skills and a small piece of wood to craft this attractive and unique holder for business cards or other small items you want to keep handy. 

Tools: Scroll saw, drill press

TIME: A few hours
Materials:   1/2" thick hardwood scrap, CA glue, sanding and finishing materials

My passion is woodworking! I would do a lot more of it if it wasn’t for that big drain on my time known as “The Day Job.”  

 This particular project is one I especially like because it can be completed in a single afternoon. It is a business card holder made from a single piece of wood. It is a good project for beginners as the only power tool it requires is a scroll saw. It requires some skill with the saw but not great skill. It also is a nice project for the more experienced woodworker, as it lends itself to any  number of design variations and can be built with small scraps of exotic woods. 

This card holder is made from a piece of wood, 51/2" by 31/2", 1/2"thick.  This is small enough that you can splurge and use some really nice wood.  If you lack access to a planer, find a local wood monger that sells 1/2" stock. Oak is a good choice. Copy the pattern on the next page and attach it to the wood. I like to use spray mount. If you start with a piece of wood that is 24" long, there is enough material to make four card holders.

To assist in setting the angle on the scroll saw I take some scrap pieces to make an angle block (Fig. 1). Glue up a stack of four to make a 2" thick piece.  (Actually it is four times the stock thickness.  If the wood is 15/16" thick then the stack is 115/16" thick.)  Mark a 1/2" bevel. It is easier to set a  1/2" bevel for a 2" stack than it is to set an 1/8" bevel for a single 1/2" thickness of wood.

Set the bevel on your scroll saw and begin sawing. Each ring has a line to serve as a lead-in to start your cut.

Four cuts make three rings and a base (Fig. 2). The rings have, of course, been cut apart and will have to be glued back together.  I use Hot Shot Super T instant glue. When used with an accelerator it dries in 10 seconds.

No matter how well you glue these rings they will need some sanding to smooth out the joint. To do this I use a sanding drum in a drill press (Fig. 3) but a spindle sander or even an electric drill mounted in a vise will do. An inexpensive sanding drum can be made by taking a 6" long, 3/8"diameter 120-grit sanding sleeve and mounting it on a 9" or 10"dowel. Rubber cement is an ideal adhesive. Cut in half and you have two disposable sanding drums.

Sand the glue joints smooth. This also gives you the opportunity to remove any saw burns.

Next, stack and glue the rings together. Start with the first (top) ring and place it upside down on a work surface. Place the second ring, turned 180º, on top. Position it and mark where the second ring intersects with the first (Fig. 4). Remove the second ring and place dots of glue on the first next these marks. I use Hot Shot Special T green instant glue. It is a very thick, gap filling adhesive that stays where you place it. Again align and place the second ring back on top of the firs ring.  Apply pressure and wait 10 seconds for the glue to cure.

Following these same directions, attach the third ring to the other two. Then glue the base to the third ring. The construction is now complete. This kind of project will be handled and fingers are oily, so I prefer to use a tung oil finish. Lacquer or shellac is also acceptable.A nice thing about this project is that it is very tolerant to cutting variations. The more varied, the more it looks like a basket.  And of course you will get better with experience. With such a small material cost, this experience comes inexpensively.

Dave Van Ess

Dave is an application engineer for Cypress Semiconductor, and the originator of net.rec.woodworking newsgroup.  Has more tools than he needs, fewer tools than he wants, and not enough time to use them. 

Basket designs with the click of a mouse

I got the idea for making a wooden basket from a plastic collapsible camping cup and an old woodturning trick. Turners would cut rings from a single thickness of wood and them glue them up to make a pre-hollowed bowl blank. I figured the rings could also be cut with a scroll saw, and did not have to be circular. If they had waves and were stacked correctly, the result might be a bowl that resembled a basket. I did my first designs by hand, but I spent way too much time on the drawings.   

The pattern shown above was generated with a simple software program that I wrote. The program is written in JavaScript because Microsoft provides a free Windows Based Script Host with their operating systems, so practically everyone with a computer can make use of the software I wrote. The program is easy to use and can generate an endless variety of designs. To get your free copy of this program script, log on to and go to the projects section.


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