Wolfpack-N-Business Card Holder
This is the second project of my TDE 110 class, and the product is Wolfpack Business Card Holder. The sketch is not provided, and the project is randomly assigned. When the project is just initiated, the professor helped both my group partner and me to start working on this project. The material of the product will be Southern Yellow Pine and American Black Walnut. A full-American-Black-Walnut product is possible, and the only challenge is that the color might be a problem. If we can use a yellow walnut to replace yellow pine, the output might look awesome as well.
According to the article from AIFP in 2019, the Southern Yellow Pine is heavier, stronger, and harder than many other wooden materials. American Black Walnut contains almost every characteristic for a good wood: The color and pattern are suitable for business, and the feel when touching it is awesome. The hardness is higher than Southern Yellow Pine too. Its stability and corrosion resistance are also extraordinary among the family of woods (Studios, V. W., n.d.).
The overall process is relatively easier than the previous project. The main reason is, in most cases, I do not need to operate directly in the woods by hand. For example, laser cutter-etcher is performed by the laser machine, and what I need to worry about is the position. Other than that, the work is done by the machine, which makes me very happy because it means more accuracy and easier work for me. Gluing up together is relatively easy, and I have done gluing in the previous project, so luckily, practice makes perfect.
Another reason I believe this project is easier is the material of some of the components. The American Black Walnut is way stronger. After cutting it by band saw, there is almost no sharp fragment left in the woods, and it won’t prick my hand too. However, Southern Yellow Pine is not as good as Walnut. After cutting the spline slot, the small wooden sharps around the cut are dangerous and I have to use sandpaper to remove them.
After cutting the spline slot, the walnut spline can be put into the slot. Before doing so, a sanding process is needed. The outcome of gluing will be better with the sanding process. To have a convenient and easier method to gluing the walnut with the pine, I decided to put the glue on the walnut first, then I pushed the spline into the end of the slot (in the picture, push leftwards) so that the glue will automatically wipe the inner side of the woods, and I do not need to worry about the accuracy of putting glues. After gluing them together, using blue tapes to fasten them and make sure they won’t move.
The cutting process is already mentioned previously, and just at that time I fell in love with black walnut because not only its sound is beautiful (when you free-fall one piece of walnut into another piece), the “no fragment” characteristic almost made me cry. After cutting it with a band saw, I spent some time figuring out how to make the back of the cardholder flat. I tried the sander machine. At first, I thought I incorrectly deposit it, after a while I suddenly realized that I need to push it towards the sand band with a greater force because of the high hardness of the walnut. Because of my accurate operation and caution, I stopped the sand machine at an appropriate time so that the cardholder’s back is perfectly smooth.
Gluing up the two sides of the cardholder is almost the last step, however, I spent most of my time on it because the helper tool to hold the product cannot perfectly fit. I would say that the width of my cardholder is about 1 millimeter longer than the holder, so I have to remove the extra 1mm width, otherwise, I would feel bad about it. After I removed the extra 1mm width, I noticed that my card holder’s back and seat are not perpendicular. It’s around 87 or 88 degrees, which drove me crazy. After a deep consideration, I decided to ignore the differences and continue working on gluing up. After gluing up, two rubber bands are necessary to make sure the sides are fixed.
The last step is putting light coats by using acrylic lacquer aerosol spray. Before spraying, a sanding process is needed, and after applying two layers of coats, the steel wool is needed to remove any unpleasant part of the coat, then applying the last layer of the coat.
I really like this project and the final product. It is elegant, beautiful, and useful. During the process, I realize that I really like black walnut and if possible, I want to use black walnut to do all the following projects. I don’t have anything dislike about this project. I’m a little procrastinated on this project, and I know I have much time, so my progress is very slow. For example, I intentionally scheduled to do the glue part before the class ends around 15-20 minutes so that I can leave the cardholder in the lab area, and it can have plenty of time to stick together, but not only 20-30 minutes.
What I learned from this project is that I should not pursue 100% accuracy on wooden products. It is not possible to be 100% accurate, and in the real world, a fault-tolerant mechanism exists. Maybe this is the reason why we use Southern Yellow Pine to do most of the project. Imagine if we use black walnut, it would be much more difficult to solve the accuracy problem, and it’s would be very time-consuming since the black walnut’s hardness is higher than yellow pine.
If I have the opportunity to redo the project, I will sand every piece of the wood first (besides the face that needs to do laser cutter-etcher), then draw the auxiliary line for lasering, adjust the transmitter’s position, then sand the face to remove the auxiliary line. In the end, put the sanded pieces of the seat into the machine and start doing laser work. It looks inconvenient since it has so many steps, but I really do not want to sand on the surface of the cutter-etcher. It is very difficult to clean up.
Southern yellow PINE Facts, Grades, uses & Industry insights. AIFP. (2019, November 4). Retrieved September 29, 2021, from https://www.lumber.com/blog/southern-yellow-pine-facts-grades-uses-industry-insights.
Studios, V. W. (n.d.). Walnut wood. Walnut Wood: Color, Grain & Characteristics – Vermont Woods Studios. Retrieved September 29, 2021, from https://vermontwoodsstudios.com/content/walnut-wood.