Cutting Board Wallet




About: I made a beer mug with only a knife and a hatchet. I think that says a lot about me.

Life is about the good things. Though often we spend our time rushing from A to B, from B to C, back to A, than to E - skipping D - and so on. All day long. Days in a row. Weeks in a year. Few people dare to take a break, me included. Breaks are supposed to be weekend luxury. Unless in the case you're running your own business. In that case breaks are like true democracy - something beautiful but inaccessible.

One day I realized that it would be great to stop the running from time to time. Just one moment of zen in full chaos. A purring kitten in the apocalypse. 'D' can be that moment. Or Bbis. Pushing the 'pauze' button. No shame. One moment of letting it all pass by. Freezing the clock. Anchoring the sun with a whisper.

I wanted to materialize that moment - we're humans after all and before all I'm a maker. Almost instantly I thought about cutting boards. To me, cutting boards are synonymous for good time - unless you use them to cut your fingers or smash mosquitos. Cutting boards trigger quality time. Some sliced cheese, a good beer - you know that feeling.

This thinking process went parallel to another, one that started two years ago.

I needed a new wallet. Nothing special, if it wasn't that there was only one hughe problem: I didn't manage to decide which or what. What I needed just didn't seem to exist - and though, it's difficult to find something more dumb than a wallet. You know, I'm a card & note guy. No pictures, coins, instant soup, knife blades, etc. Just cards & big euros. So I searched for a kind of container just large enough to store them. Not bigger not smaller - I even hesitated to dril a hole in the whole package and screw it just all together. And I wanted it to be awesome. Show me your wallet and I'll tell you who you are. My wallet had to be really really awesome. And intelligently desined. And modest. Very modest.

I decided to marry both stories. One plus one is three. And nothing more challenging than making a crossover.

I can't carry a large cutting board with me all the time, but I do can carry a small one. Pocket sized.

'Why not just make a wooden wallet cutting board?!' I thought.

Marriages are compromises. Also this one. It had to be a container able to contain my stuff firmly, and I wanted that it would release its content with only one finger-clip. Just like a pocket knife. Grip 'n slide. And it had to be cutting board like. And it had to be something that everyone could make. This is instructables after all. Not everyone is supposed to have a thousands of euros worth CNC router, laser cutter or 3D printer. Basic tools, basic supplies. Power to the craftsmen.

That made quite a lot of parameters in one eaquation, and so I started drawing. The outcome became the one and only wallet you'd take out of your pocket with a smile.

Have a break. Take your wallet.

Step 1: Grip 'n Slide

Contrary to most woodworking projects you'll start this one with some metalwork. Makes sense, right?

You'll make a kind of 'clip'. This will hold all our cards & notes nicely together and move with a little help of your fingers inside its wooden coffin. Like a money clip, but way better.

Keep it simple: grap a piece of alu & bend it like beckham. Height: same as the inside width of the wallet (see next step). Length: same as a plastic card.

Then you'll search for a small piece of hardwood and glue it to the clip. CA, bicomp, HT3000 or whatever you might have hanging around. Avoid milk or rice water. Roughen the glue sides, let it harden overnight and sand the edges.

To give it a better grip you can add a fish, beaver, crocodile, T-rex or cow-tongue pattern. Functional and awesome.

Step 2: Cutting Wooden Components

I wanted to use a 6mm thick oak board, but only found a 9mm thick beech plinth. I hate compromises, but sometimes you just have to. Prototyping with beech sounded okay to me.

For one wallet you'll need 4 pieces (90 x 120mm) of that plinth, board or whatever plank-like piece of wood you may find.

Take a very cardsize card, place it on two boards and draw the contour. Add a few millimeter at the width, a few more at the length and start cutting the heart out of those two pieces, using saw or multitasker. And if you really feel the need to use a laser cutter, go ahead.

Then you'll prepare the front and the back panels.

The front can stay as it is - which would be bad for a custom wallet. Engrave, carf, sand or smooth. Make it yours. I wanted a cutting board, so I made a sober twist on the classic - 'naked' - designs. Just a small piece of hardwood, sandwiched between two pieces of beech. Glueing, clamping, letting it set overnight.

The back panel needs a bit more engineering since you'll have to cut a slot in the middle. Width: same as the clip button. Length: twice that as that. Chisel or multitasker, work properly.

Step 3: Glueing All That Stuff Together

All you need is glue, clamps & patience.

Don't forget to insert the clip BEFORE you glue the second cover. Just in case...

Step 4: Finishing

Once the whole is nice & dry you can finish the contours by cutting it right, rounding & sanding the edges and sand the whole a little bit more.

Finish with natural oil - walnut is just perfect.

Last step: transferring the content of your old wallet to your new wallet - and burning the first one.

Than it's time for a break. Highly deserved.

Step 5: One Moment in Life

Bricobart at work. Don't disturb.

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    10 Discussions


    4 years ago on Step 5

    Highly ingenious! How big of a pocket do you need to carry that thing? That would be a great picture!

    Perhaps a belt clip... hmmm... now I need to make one!


    4 years ago on Introduction

    Nicely executed my friend. I too, am in need of a D sometimes, my havarti will never tread and my credit will be forever loved once again, thanks to you

    1 reply

    4 years ago

    Amazing and unique combination! The wallet does say a lot about the person...and I think this one only has good things to say ;)!

    1 reply

    Reply 4 years ago on Introduction

    Very kind. Don't forget that it also can be used as a deadly projectile. Sill okay, those good things? ;)