Ever wanted to create your own business card holder? I think it’s only fitting to display your cards in a handmade display in front of your work at craft fairs, a gallery booth, or on the desk at your 9-5. Here’s my approach.
It’s always nice to change up your turning projects every now and then. The first step in making a business card holder is to pull out (literally) the table saw and cut some 6/4 – 8/4 stock 2″ wide. Don’t forget to use a push stick while running stock this thin through the saw. No one wants fewer fingers than they started out with.
Now I cut a slot into what will be the top of the business card holder. I set the blade to an angle of ~70º and cut just a bit deeper than halfway into the stock.
Before you move the fence, check how the cards look. Also, you’ll probably want to make the slot wider than the kerf of just one pass. If you decide to do so, and don’t change the depth of the blade, the bottom of the slot will not be smooth. So, scootch the fence over a bit and lower the blade a little. Run the stock through and see how you need to adjust the blade height. Be sure to sneak up on the depth of the slot, or you may end up having to start this step over.
Now just cut the stock into 2″ long segments which will give you pieces that are 2 x 2. There are many tools that can be utilized for this step, so take your pick. I personally used the bandsaw since I do not have a cross cut sled built for my table saw yet.
Now it’s time to get started on the lathe! Begin by gently gripping the piece in the chuck with the top (slotted side) towards the headstock. If you apply too much pressure on the work piece, you’ll surely split it. Crank up the speed and turn off the corners.
Within reason, the faster you spin the lathe, the easier it will be to round out those corners. Only get as close to the jaws as you feel comfortable. The jaws of a chuck can really hurt your hands, so be careful.
Once the outside is turned round, you’ll want to undercut the bottom so that the business card holder will sit flat. In the next step, the piece will be reversed in the chuck and you’ll have two options of how to hold it. If you grip the piece on the outside, you’ll have chucking marks to deal with.
If you grip the piece on the inside, you’ll need to be sure that the recess you turn in the bottom is shaped to match the profile of your chuck jaws. This recess only needs to be about 1/8″ deep. If it’s too deep, there won’t be sufficient material under the card slot to hold the piece together.
Before removing the piece from the chuck, sand the bottom and side as desired.
At this point, I’ve reversed the piece in the chuck and will profile the top. Again, be conservative with the amount of clamping force you apply to the piece.
Whatever shape you feel is appropriate for the top of your business card holder is fair game. I decided on a simple arch for mine. Use multiple light cuts to create your desired profile. Being too aggressive at this point can undo all of your progress.
All that’s left to do is clean up the fuzz in the card slot with a razor blade and apply a bit of finish. Just about any finish is appropriate for this project, so take your pick!
Thank you for reading & as always, just drop a line with whatever questions you may have. If you made a business card holder, I’d love you see what you came up with!