The crappy cardboard display I've had for eight years wasn't cutting it. I threw this together in about two hours. The stain is darker than I'd like, but it really makes the quarters stand out. Sorry about the photo, I had to force the contrast to show the borders.
Of course there is the matter of using two hours and $20 worth of material to display $12.50 worth of currency, but I also have a $20 display for $1 worth of currency.
If anyone is interested, I can put one of these together in plywood of pine as requested. Just send me a message.
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Step 1: Background
Years ago I opted to machine a map of the US to replace my cardboard display. I was very new to CNC machining and made two copies, one for me and one for my niece.
Times changed, life progressed and I recently had the opportunity to acquire a solid pine IKEA coffee table. I added spots to include the territory quarters and the "America the Beautiful" quarters for a total of 112. This one was machined for my nearly 4 year-old girls
Step 2: Gather Materials and Tools
As I said, these were machined on a CNC but there are plenty of other ways to do it. Without access to a CNC machine, you will need a drill press or at least a drill guide and a forstner bit of the correct size. Coin specific forstner bits were commonplace a few years ago, and can still be found online.
As for material, in this case it is far easier to use solid wood. They sell laminated pipe boards are Home Depot, Lowes, and even IKEA.
CNC and downspiral bit (Best)
Projector and woodburning kit (Good)
Dream and sharpie (OK)
Step 3: Machining and Finishing
I machined the newest one with two passes, a 1/4" downspiral for the coin holders and 1/8" for the state outlines. This was again a cosmetic choice because of the panel size I was working with. You could easily do it with a 1/4" bit for everything.
For finishing with projects like this with deeper grooves, I have found flooding it with more stain that required and wiping it off in a vertical position leaves dark lines that contrast well with the surface. I machined the grooves .001" over the size of the coins expecting the stain and polyurethane to ensure a tight fit for the coins. If I was doing this on a wall, I would make the pockets a little deeper as well.
I used a gloss polyurethane over the top, and will be fitting a thin sheet of plexiglass as this will live in the playroom.