utility

utility

Watch stand - evolving desings

Some time ago I decided to make myself a watch stand. I don't have a bed side clock, and since I take my watch off to sleep it seemed it could do double duty and be the 'clock' on my bedside table.

I made this:

I was pretty happy with it at the time, and I've used it for a couple of years. However over time the failings in this design has become more and more annoying.

The first issue is that the round that the watch is wrapped around is not quite big enough. I miscalculated at the time and so the watch hangs quite loosely on it.

The second, and much more serious issues, is that when the watch is in place the whole thing is front heavy. It is very prone to tipping over. Particularly when I'm putting the watch in place. I must have had this fall over and off my bedside dozens and dozens of times.

So I finally decided to make a new one. Attempting to fix the problems of the first, and also to come up with a different design. I could have just made the same thing again, but with better balance and a larger center. However I thought it would be more interesting to design something actually different.

That thinking actually lead me to make two new watch stands, trying out two different designs and two different materials. One in wood and one in metal.

These are the designs I came up with

The wooden one is a fairly traditional and simple design. A central block that the watch closes tightly around with a peg through it that rests in a cradle. This is nice because I can lift the central block free of the cradle to add or remove my watch. Then set it back down. The weight is central and the whole thing is nice and stable. It also holds the watch face right where I want it.

The metal one by contrast is adjustable, the central 'hub' has two nuts welded into it, and the front and rear plates screw in and out to adjust to the size of the watch. This design is in some ways more complicated, but in others more basic. The structure of the stand is essentially the watch itself. The metal 'skeleton' simply adds rigidity that holds the watch in place.

A few weeks on and I haven't really decided which I prefer. I mostly alternate between them. I think the wooden option has a nicer tactile feel. But there is something about the bare bones metal one which I enjoy the look of.

Below I have videos of me making each one. Which do you prefer?

 

 

project, utility, Woodworking

Making a wooden business card case

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This project was inspired by a friend who recently had some great businss cards made up based on a design my wife created.

 

I decided that it would be cool to have a nice case to hold businss cards, and as it happens loyalty cards are usually the same size so it can do double duty.  

The whole point of handing over a business card is for someone to remember you and your business, what better way to set a good first impression than plucking your businness card out of a beautiful hand crafted wooded case. 

Before making this final version I made a proto-type. I didn't realise at the time that I was making a prototype, but sometimes projects don't go so well, and it turns out that what you thought was going to be great, turns out to be nothing more than a practice run.

Tools

Tenon saw

Marking gauge

Chisels

Hand plane

Router with thicknessing jig

lathe

clamps

 

Materials

block of hardwood - I used Cherry

Small contrasting hardwood for hinge

Method

Below can watch a quick <3min video highlighting the main steps i went through in this project. 

 

This is how the steps break down

The first step was to cut the block of hardwood into two equal halves. I used the router thicknessing jig to get the two halves to an equal thickness and also with a nice flat profile.

I then used the same jig to let me drop the router lower and excavate card size hollow in each side. 

I then used my freshly sharpened chisels to square up the recesses on each piece. Once I was happy with the size of the cavity they would produce, I glued and clamped the two halves back together.

Once it was dry I could trim the sides even with a hand plane, then sand the whole exerior until I had a pretty nice smooth finish.

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At this point I was almost tempted to stop. There is something quite interesting tactile about a smooth lump of wood which is odly lighter than your brain thinks it should be. 

Next step was to cut off the part that would become the lid, and then smooth up the sides from the cut to get the best possible fit between the body and the lid.

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With the main body essentially finished it just needs a hinge. In my prototyle I tried to make an integrated hinge which was actually quite difficult to get right. For this version I decided on an external hinge. This allowed me to get the hinge right before comitting to attaching it to the box. Which was good because it took a couple of tries to get a nice fit on the two pieces. By using a contrasting colour here it really makes a feature of the hinge.

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With most of the hinge shaped, I glued it to to the case using duct tape to hold everything firmly in place whilst the glue dried. 

Whilst I had been developing the hinge I was using a small panel nail to act as the pin, but the whole idea was for this to be a wooden case, so I didn't want to let things down at the hinge with a metal pin. So I used the lathe and a pair of callipers to turn a 2mm wooden pin. The pin itself feels very fragile, but once it is in the hinge it is well supported and works great.

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Once the hinge was working I found that whlst it was fairly straight, the lid did want to pull slightly to one side. To combat this, and to provide a nicer feeling close position, I turned a second pin to embed in the front of the lid, and a small drilled recess in the body for it to click into. 

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That last touch really makes it, there is a definite click when you open and close the lid which make the whole thing feel more robust. 

Conclusion

This is a fun little project and yields a nice item that can be used every day. I leave my case in my jacket pocket and I avhe both business cards and a couple of select loyalty cards in it. 

Do you use business cards? would you use a case like this? let me know your thoughts in the comments. 

 

 

 

 

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