Pocket and Desk Business Card Case - Tips & Tricks

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Project by ChuckM posted 10-31-2011 01:05 AM 11227 views 64 times favorited 9 comments Add to Favorites Watch

In recent years, many of my projects have been family-driven; that’s, they have been built in response to suggestions from my family. The latest business card holders which I finished this weekend (10 hours of work) are another example; my daughter wanted a holder for her business cards. A quick research led me to the September 2004 issue of WOOD magazine. The pin-hinged case is about 3/8” x 2 3/4” x 4 1/4”, which you can put in a pocket/purse or put on a desk swing opened.

This post is not so much about making the card holder (you can find all the details in the WOOD article) but rather a sharing of what I learned from doing the project:

a) Make a bunch of them for reasons of efficiency since the set-up time is not proportional to how many you make. (I cut more than enough parts for 10 holders and have made seven in this run.) If you make a mistake (I did), you can have spare parts ready to fix the problem.

b Laminate three pieces to make the hinged sides, instead of the time-consuming carrier-board method advocated in the article (see pic).

c) Use medium thick CA glue, not thin CA glue or yellow glue which doesn’t give you enough time to align the parts or the assembly will be messy and long respectively. Unlike yellow glue, pieces won’t slide when you use CA glue and clamp them. (Have lots and lots of XS and small spring clamps ready before you start—dry fitting one of the cases as a practice run is recommended). WEAR GLOVES and work in ventilated area.

d) Use a Forstner bit instead of a scrollsaw (as suggested in the article) to cut out the finger pull.

e) Make sure you drill the two hinge holes at the same distance from the ends (see the mistake in the third photo, I’ll fix it after I come back from a forthcoming trip. How? If i can’t take the pin out and redrill the hole, I’ll replace the hinge side; I have the spare part!).

f) Check the 1/16” drill bit you’d use is not smaller than the 1/16” brass pins. Mine was an hair smaller than the brass rod and all the holes had to be redrilled with another drill bit.

g) Finally, shim the gap between the tray and front filler before cutting the round-overs to avoid chipping. (To repair the chip, I had to replace the filler, file down the sharp corner and rout it again. Another reason why cutting out extra parts is a good habit. See the last two pix)

Mistakes are our best teacher (if we learn from them). When I make the next batch of card cases, I know I’ll come back to this post to refresh my memory….

-- The time I enjoy wasting is not time wasted

9 comments so far

View billculpepper's profile


66 posts in 4461 days

#1 posted 10-31-2011 01:23 AM

Thanks so much for your post! I cut to length some lacewood, purpleheart, and walnut just yesterday to make these so your post is very timely. I was gifted the “wood magazine on CD” collection for my Bday and found this post in the sept. 2004 edition. I like the lamination vs. carrier board tip.

-- Bill Culpepper, Indiana

View Bricofleur's profile


1484 posts in 4690 days

#2 posted 10-31-2011 02:31 AM

What a nice project and well spent time in the shop. Your card holders are awesome. I like the fact one can build a project while experimenting/improving new techniques, all that using so little wood. And better fulfill his daughter’s needs!



-- Learn from yesterday, work today and enjoy success tomorrow. --

View gfadvm's profile


14940 posts in 4187 days

#3 posted 10-31-2011 03:08 AM

I used the three piece sides on mine as well as I thought it much easier. I also used the forschner bit like you did. (Great minds think alike!) But I never considered using CA glue. I used Titebond 2 and clothes pins for clamps. Those black metal paper clamps also work well and are stouter than clothes pins. Yours turned out nice. I used copper wire for the hinge pins which fit my 1/16 drill bit holes.

-- " I'll try to be nicer, if you'll try to be smarter" gfadvm

View TrBlu's profile


386 posts in 4122 days

#4 posted 10-31-2011 01:33 PM

Thank you for sharing this.

Can you provide a reference for the Wood article? I have been searching for it for some time with no luck.

-- The more I work with wood the more I recognize only God can make something as beautiful as a tree. I hope my humble attempts at this craft do justice by His masterpiece. -- Tim

View harshest's profile


63 posts in 3901 days

#5 posted 10-31-2011 02:49 PM


It is issue 157 (Sept 2004) page 98

here is the like to the wood store –

View ChuckM's profile


674 posts in 5163 days

#6 posted 11-01-2011 02:08 AM

Thanks for all the comments.

Gfadvm: Clever on the use of copper wire.

-- The time I enjoy wasting is not time wasted

View gfadvm's profile


14940 posts in 4187 days

#7 posted 11-01-2011 03:11 AM

“Necessity is the mother of invention”. I had copper wire. Brass rod required a trip to town!

-- " I'll try to be nicer, if you'll try to be smarter" gfadvm

View BreakingBoardom's profile


615 posts in 4578 days

#8 posted 11-01-2011 04:54 PM

Nice holders. I built one first as a prototype and then made modifications on my next batch. I also made the sides in a 3-piece lamination, but so my accent strip would only carry through the center. Also, I did not like the look of the finger pull so I made little reliefs on the sides that your fingers catch on as you grab it to open it. And finally, I also enlarged the size slightly to accommodate wallet size pictures as well as business cards. You can see mine here:
Click for details

Anyway, yours look great and it’s amazing how much we can learn on such small projects.

-- Matt -

View ChuckM's profile


674 posts in 5163 days

#9 posted 10-23-2012 07:24 PM

Hi Murtini,

How true that in this hi-tech era, papers from print newspapers, magazines and whatnot are disappearing. One day, it could be possible that people would point their phones to yours and their business cards are right there in your phone to see!

The wooden business card case, however, at least for now, will leave an impression when you take out YOUR business cards from it.

-- The time I enjoy wasting is not time wasted

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