Being from an industrial design background, I am always obsessed with functional objects. And I always want special and unique gifts for my best friends. So here comes a design project during my days in Techshop: a desktop accessory with personalized information.
Step 1: V- Carve Texts on Shopbot CNC Machine
After getting a nice piece of wood, in this case- 14" X 8" X 12/4" hard maple or African Mahogany, The first step is to V- Carve your wishing words on one surface of the wood. But before that, it is always good to test cut on a scrap piece to see whether you like the cutting or not.
Then if you are satisfied with the result on the test piece, go ahead and repeat it on the final piece. But the final piece is much thicker than my test piece. So be careful with the clamps and make sure the machine will not touch the clamps during cutting. Sometimes, using double stick tape would be enough ( carpet tap), as i did in the other piece of African Mahogany.
Step 2: Angle Cut the Back Surface on a Bandsaw
I set the angle about 5 degree. Draw the line on the wood piece first and then adjust the blade angle based on that. Since in this case, hard maple and African Mahogany are pretty hard wood, so cut slowly on the band saw.
Step 3: Flatten the Back Surface on a Joiner
Band saw does not create a flat and nice quality surface, and because the back surface is long grained, So I just run it lightly on a joiner to create a good surface.
Step 4: Layout Your Profile and Cut All Sides on a Table Saw
Layout your profile of the shape on the piece. I created an asymmetry geometry and I quite like the shape, and all the functions are based on the geometry. I then cut all the sides on a table saw by using a angled crosscut guide. Use double stick tape again for some cuts when it is not easy to hold the piece stably.
Step 5: Cut the Pencil Holder Hole on a Drill Press
After cutting all the angled sides on a table saw on step 4, SAVE all the cutoff pieces. I use the side cutoff piece and put in on the bottom by double stick tape, since I want the hole is paralleled to the side line. Clamp tightly and then I cut the hole using a 1-1/8" bit.
You can see from the last pic, I use another cutoff piece to help clamping, since there is a slight angle between the front and the back surface.
Step 6: Smoothen All the Side on a Belt Sander
I did not cut all the sides perfectly on the table saw, so I sand all the surfaces on a angled belt sander. I love this belt sander, it created a very flat and smooth surface!
Step 7: Make the Dovetail Slot on the Router Table
Mark the dovetail slot based on the size of your steel you are going to use for the bottom. I used a steel piece of 2" X 6" X 1/4". And I made the dovetail slot 3/16" deep. Make a test cut on a scrap piece of wood before cutting on the final piece!
Then i squared the end by a 1" and a 1/8" chisel.
Step 8: Cut the Cardholder Slot on a Chop Saw
Also, mark the place where you want to cut first, adjust the biggest depth the chop saw would go and clamp tightly. Then Go ahead cut it!
Step 9: Cutting the Steel for the Bottom on a Band Saw in Metal Shop
Mark the angle of your dovetail slot on your steel. and Use a similar angled band saw in metal shop to cut the steel. Here is the result on the African Mahogany.
Then you are done!