Introduction: The Clipboard
As part of my eternal quest to organize every aspect of my mortal existence, I decided I needed a system for tracking the progress of Customer orders in the workshop. My memory tends to fail me quite often these days, so I've become a big fan of task lists. As it relates to drum building, I need to know what hardware I have and what needs to be ordered. Relying on memory alone resulted in a few instances of not ordering everything I needed and therefore delaying turnaround, which isn't ideal. I also need to know what stages of the build process have been completed, so I can organize my workflow.
I solved this initial problem rather quickly with a work order template made in Excel. However, the resulting problem was a stack of forms for me to flip through several times per day ... then I'd set them down and never see them again. Somewhere in the universe there is a huge pile of my papers and orphaned socks .. I'm convinced.
I decided that I needed clipboards ... one for each open order. They get updated and hung on the wall. I could buy clipboards at Staples, but I'm cheap and that place is overpriced. I could get 6 from Amazon for $15, but why do that when I have plenty of hardboard, scrap wood, free binder clips, a workshop?
Step 1: Hardboard Back
The hardboard panel was cut to 8 7/8" x 11 7/8" on the table saw. Using a nickel, which I misplaced a few minutes later, I traced a radius on the bottom corners. This radius was then shaped using the oscillating belt sander.
Step 2: Poplar Stop
Most clipboards have some kind of paper stop integrated into the clip. I figured I'd just run mine the full width of the board because I liked the look and it was easier than trying to perfectly center a smaller piece.
Using some poplar 3/4" scrap, I cut strips at 3/8" x 3/4". One side of the strip gets a 21 degree bevel, which is clearance for the binder clip because it will angle downward once attached. The other side gets a 45 degree chamfer on the top corner. If that material isn't removed, the binder clip can't close down onto the hardboard. You might think, "why not just reduce the 3/4" width to 5/8" or 1/2"?" The answer is .. I did that first and the screw busted out. Granted you just could just re-position the location of your screws, but I wanted them centered. You'll see what I mean.
Spread some glue, flush the strip with the top of the hardboard, and add some clamps.
Step 3: Binder Clips
While the glue dried, I turned my attention to the binder clips. I marked my desired locations at 1/2" down from the top and 1/4" in from each side. I used a 1/8" metal bit on the drill press with lubricating oil. This spring steel is tough stuff. Even with the oil, I over-heated the bit and it's dead dull after 12 holes.
Step 4: Finishing
The excess poplar strip was cut off using a large crosscut sled on the table saw.
I broke all the edges and quickly sanded the poplar with 150 grit sandpaper. For finish I used one coat of 50/50 boiled linseed oil and mineral spirits.
Step 5: Assembly
I centered the binder clip with the holes to the back, so I could mark location for drilling. Drilling was done with a 3/32" bit using the drill press. I made sure to set my depth stop to make sure I didn't blast through the other side.
I attached the clip to the board with two 6 x 1/2" stainless screws.
Step 6: Glamour Shot
A quick tag of ownership with a stencil and spray paint and we're done. When I outgrow six, I can just make more.
Hardboard Back: 8 7/8" x 11 7/8"
Poplar Strip: 3/8" x 3/4" x 8 7/8"
Binder Clip: 2" wide or "Large"
Screws: 6 x 1/2"
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