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DIY slotter trays


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23 replies to this topic

#1 Fox in the Stars

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Posted 19 December 2007 - 05:38

Jinnayah and I had been thinking about making cigar box pen chests and not getting around to ordering slotter trays from gopens.com. I was having wild schemes about temporarily joining pieces of wood and boring channels with a Forstner bit centered on the groove (which I might still do someday), when she said she was thinking maybe she could just make something out of cardstock.

This got my mind working, and I was inspired and had to try it! I actually made this tutorial on my first run, so this is kind of slapdash and has some flaws, but if you take the basic concepts I think you could do some great stuff with it.

First step, measure the bottom of your cigar box. (If you're having trouble getting a measuring device down in there, a good way to do it is put a slip of paper inside with one end against one wall and smooth it along an adjacent wall, then run your fingernail in the groove between the opposite wall and floor to crease the paper at just the right length.)



My box was pretty small, 5 3/4" wide by 5 11/16" deep. That 1/16" was enough that one of my pens would only fit sideways...

But anyway, once you've got your measurements, cut one piece of cardstock to those dimensions: this is your bottom layer. Then cut another piece for your top layer out of cardstock, or just paper might work well here. Its width should equal to the dimension you want your pens to lay parallel to. Since my pens were going sideways, I used the width of 5 3/4". The length of this second piece: as long as your piece of paper, and you'll probably still need another one (more later).



Now comes the fuzzy math. On the bottom layer, on the edge perpendicular to the pens (in my case the 5 11/16" edge), you'll need to mark a little extra, then 1/4", 1/2", 1/4" . . . You need alternating quarter-inches and half-inches, starting and ending with quarter-inches, and with a smidgen left over at each end. I only had a generous 1/16", but it was enough.



Make matching markings on the opposite edge and connect them into lines with a ruler.



Now on the top layer, also on the edge perpendicular to the pens (the long-as-you-can-get-it edge), you'll also need to start with some extra space, but this will be trimmed later, so I went generous and made it an inch. Then make a mark every 1/2". Again, make matching marks on the opposite edge.



These marks define your fold lines, so instead of connecting them with a ruler and pencil, you can use a ruler and a scoring tool. Remember to protect your work surface and watch your fingers! And be gentle. I burst some seams on mine because I overdid the scoring. (If you're using lighter stock, you might be ahead to either draw pencil lines, or skip this step altogether and just fold from mark to mark.)



Now, starting from the waste edge and with the marked side (which will be the wrong side) facing you, fold the fold lines into a mountain fold, then a valley fold, then another mountain fold. Repeat this pattern: mountain valley mountain, mountain valley mountain. (Mountain and Valley are origami lingo, but pretty intuitive: a mountain fold juts toward you and a valley fold dips away.) What you should get is a series of peaks with flat beds in between, like this:



Guess where the pens go. ^_~

Fold your way across the top layer like that. Then, before you continue, count how many half-inch sections are drawn on the bottom layer, then count how many "beds" are folded in the top layer. Unless you had a really long sheet for the top or an even dinkier box than mine, you're probably short on beds.



To fix this, cut just after the last bed, as indicated, then make yourself another top layer piece. Take the number of beds you're short by, add one, multiply by three, then add one again. I was only short one bed, so...

1
+1 = 2
x 3 = 6
+1 = 7

This is the number of marks you'll have to make on the second top piece---don't forget the inch of extra before the first mark. Make the matching marks opposite and mark lines or score; you can cut the line across the last pair of marks. Fold in the same way as the first top piece, marks toward you starting from the extra M V M, M V M. You should end up with an orphaned bed at the end---just like on the first piece. Overlap those two with a light coating of glue and stick them together.



(BTW, I'm not trying to be complicated with the math, rather avoid wasted effort, so if it's easier, just mark and fold the whole dang thing, overlap it and stick it together however you want.)

Now comes the hard part, assembly. Basically, the beds on the top are going to match the half-inch sections of the bottom, and the peaks will stand up from the quarter-inch sections. And it needs that little bit at the ends to seal it up there. This is where the waste at the edge of the top part is handy---a piece of tape overhangs the small extra part of the bottom and has plenty of room to hold them together while a light coat of glue dries.



Continue down the length of both pieces, gluing the beds to the half-inch sections---ie, stick together the red-hatched areas in the pic below. Just a tack at each end is enough (I smeared the drops seen below into thin coats at each end---one of them tried to get away while I was taking the picture...)



Here it is partially done:



Actually I recommend against paperclips because it crimps the stock, worse yet while it's wet with glue and more prone to being reshaped and sticking that way. Clothespins would be better.

With it all glued and clipped, I put pens in and a book on top to try to keep it from arching as it dried:



Once dry, remove the clips, flip it over and trim off the waste from the top layer, using the edge of the bottom layer as the guide.



Then just set it in the box: you're done!



Here's mine filled with pens (ones waiting to be sent off for restoration, or for my own tinkerings with the cheaper ones). You can see I've got plenty of room in the top to make another tray and stack them.




Like I said, this one was my first effort and had some flaws. When I do it again, I probably will use lighter stock for the top layer; I was fighting the thick card this time and I don't think the extra strength is necessary there. A solid bottom layer would be good though, so the tray could be picked up and not spill, so for that I might even go heavier, like cardboard. I also realised that instead of that little 1/16" tab on the ends, I could leave no extra at the ends of the bottom layer, say 1/4" at the ends of the top layer, and turn the ends of the top layer *under* to seal the ends. Also, I used Aleene's Quick-Drying Tacky Glue because it was handy, but it wasn't the best choice as it tended to soak, soften, and warp the paper. This might be a better job for a glue stick...

But I think the concept is sound, it's pretty quick and easy, and hopefully it can be of use to some of you---I hope you can take my flawed example and run with it. With all the paper and card out there for scrapbooking and other arts and crafts, we could make some really beautiful pen trays! ^_~
Laura Fox ~
civil libertarian socialist, puppyshipper, seeker of the legendary Waterman Flex-Nib
www.shininghalf.com

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#2 Fox in the Stars

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Posted 22 December 2007 - 16:10

Update: I've made several more of these now and I can confirm that using lighter stock for the top layer, using clothespins for clamps and a glue stick for adhesive, and turning the ends under all do work better. I also found a much better scoring tool: a stylus like this (I have that set and used the smallest point in it). Because it dents the paper rather than cutting it, it makes a very effective score but with much less danger of breaking the paper.

Edited by Fox in the Stars, 22 December 2007 - 16:11.

Laura Fox ~
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#3 brh

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Posted 08 January 2008 - 22:08

Very clever, and very well done instructions.

Silly question - in the pic where you're placing the book on top, what is the silver pen, and what is the pen that appears to be made of wood or dense paper or something of the sort?

-brian

#4 Jinnayah

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Posted 08 January 2008 - 23:08

QUOTE(brh @ Jan 8 2008, 04:08 PM) View Post
Silly question - in the pic where you're placing the book on top, what is the silver pen, and what is the pen that appears to be made of wood or dense paper or something of the sort?

Fox doesn't hit this forum much, but I can answer for her. The silvery one is a Jinhao ivory swirl, and the wood one is a Lamy school pen.

#5 brh

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Posted 09 January 2008 - 05:34

QUOTE(Jinnayah @ Jan 8 2008, 11:08 PM) View Post
QUOTE(brh @ Jan 8 2008, 04:08 PM) View Post
Silly question - in the pic where you're placing the book on top, what is the silver pen, and what is the pen that appears to be made of wood or dense paper or something of the sort?

Fox doesn't hit this forum much, but I can answer for her. The silvery one is a Jinhao ivory swirl, and the wood one is a Lamy school pen.

Thanks! I have seen the Lamy school pens in the past and liked them (well, I like everything Lamy, to be honest...) Is that the 'ABC' pen (I believe it's called) or a different school pen?

#6 Fox in the Stars

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Posted 09 January 2008 - 07:30

(Jinnayah tipped me off after her last post)

Yup, that's a blue Lamy ABC.
Laura Fox ~
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#7 Ray

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Posted 09 January 2008 - 09:19

Great instructions. To prevent the potential glue issues (dry time, arching, etc) I might use double-sided tape instead.

You could also use craft glue to cover the top piece in felt - after scoring but before attaching the top to the bottom piece.

Ray

#8 oneill

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Posted 01 February 2008 - 06:33

Thank you for going to so much trouble, you really are clever, I shall give your idea a try. regards. Bryan

Edited by Phthalo, 01 February 2008 - 09:51.


#9 Shangas

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Posted 01 February 2008 - 08:44

Fox, in the...1..2...3...FOURTH...photo from the bottom - That silver pen - what is that? The clip and cap-band look familiar to me.
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#10 Jinnayah

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Posted 02 February 2008 - 01:44

QUOTE(Shangas @ Feb 1 2008, 02:44 AM) View Post
Fox, in the...1..2...3...FOURTH...photo from the bottom - That silver pen - what is that? The clip and cap-band look familiar to me.


(Fox doesn't mind if I answer for her.) That's a Jinhao ivory swirl.

#11 wege

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Posted 02 February 2008 - 19:53

If I may make a more permanent, acid free suggestion?
Perhaps look at what is available in model shops in the form of the plastic card there. You would need to use a different glue as well.

A left field suggestion - check out the balsa wood, and do a small amount of sanding/carving, and then you can cover it in a material of your choice.

Btw, I have nothing for my pens, just the boxes themselves, so I could not show you anything I have done.

Have fun.

Edited by wege, 02 February 2008 - 19:53.


#12 Bob Cratchet

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Posted 01 July 2008 - 14:13

QUOTE(Fox in the Stars @ Dec 19 2007, 06:38 AM) View Post
Jinnayah and I had been thinking about making cigar box pen chests and not getting around to ordering slotter trays from gopens.com. I was having wild schemes about temporarily joining pieces of wood and boring channels with a Forstner bit centered on the groove (which I might still do someday), when she said she was thinking maybe she could just make something out of cardstock.

This got my mind working, and I was inspired and had to try it! I actually made this tutorial on my first run, so this is kind of slapdash and has some flaws, but if you take the basic concepts I think you could do some great stuff with it.

First step, measure the bottom of your cigar box. (If you're having trouble getting a measuring device down in there, a good way to do it is put a slip of paper inside with one end against one wall and smooth it along an adjacent wall, then run your fingernail in the groove between the opposite wall and floor to crease the paper at just the right length.)



My box was pretty small, 5 3/4" wide by 5 11/16" deep. That 1/16" was enough that one of my pens would only fit sideways...

But anyway, once you've got your measurements, cut one piece of cardstock to those dimensions: this is your bottom layer. Then cut another piece for your top layer out of cardstock, or just paper might work well here. Its width should equal to the dimension you want your pens to lay parallel to. Since my pens were going sideways, I used the width of 5 3/4". The length of this second piece: as long as your piece of paper, and you'll probably still need another one (more later).



Now comes the fuzzy math. On the bottom layer, on the edge perpendicular to the pens (in my case the 5 11/16" edge), you'll need to mark a little extra, then 1/4", 1/2", 1/4" . . . You need alternating quarter-inches and half-inches, starting and ending with quarter-inches, and with a smidgen left over at each end. I only had a generous 1/16", but it was enough.



Make matching markings on the opposite edge and connect them into lines with a ruler.



Now on the top layer, also on the edge perpendicular to the pens (the long-as-you-can-get-it edge), you'll also need to start with some extra space, but this will be trimmed later, so I went generous and made it an inch. Then make a mark every 1/2". Again, make matching marks on the opposite edge.



These marks define your fold lines, so instead of connecting them with a ruler and pencil, you can use a ruler and a scoring tool. Remember to protect your work surface and watch your fingers! And be gentle. I burst some seams on mine because I overdid the scoring. (If you're using lighter stock, you might be ahead to either draw pencil lines, or skip this step altogether and just fold from mark to mark.)



Now, starting from the waste edge and with the marked side (which will be the wrong side) facing you, fold the fold lines into a mountain fold, then a valley fold, then another mountain fold. Repeat this pattern: mountain valley mountain, mountain valley mountain. (Mountain and Valley are origami lingo, but pretty intuitive: a mountain fold juts toward you and a valley fold dips away.) What you should get is a series of peaks with flat beds in between, like this:



Guess where the pens go. ^_~

Fold your way across the top layer like that. Then, before you continue, count how many half-inch sections are drawn on the bottom layer, then count how many "beds" are folded in the top layer. Unless you had a really long sheet for the top or an even dinkier box than mine, you're probably short on beds.



To fix this, cut just after the last bed, as indicated, then make yourself another top layer piece. Take the number of beds you're short by, add one, multiply by three, then add one again. I was only short one bed, so...

1
+1 = 2
x 3 = 6
+1 = 7

This is the number of marks you'll have to make on the second top piece---don't forget the inch of extra before the first mark. Make the matching marks opposite and mark lines or score; you can cut the line across the last pair of marks. Fold in the same way as the first top piece, marks toward you starting from the extra M V M, M V M. You should end up with an orphaned bed at the end---just like on the first piece. Overlap those two with a light coating of glue and stick them together.



(BTW, I'm not trying to be complicated with the math, rather avoid wasted effort, so if it's easier, just mark and fold the whole dang thing, overlap it and stick it together however you want.)

Now comes the hard part, assembly. Basically, the beds on the top are going to match the half-inch sections of the bottom, and the peaks will stand up from the quarter-inch sections. And it needs that little bit at the ends to seal it up there. This is where the waste at the edge of the top part is handy---a piece of tape overhangs the small extra part of the bottom and has plenty of room to hold them together while a light coat of glue dries.



Continue down the length of both pieces, gluing the beds to the half-inch sections---ie, stick together the red-hatched areas in the pic below. Just a tack at each end is enough (I smeared the drops seen below into thin coats at each end---one of them tried to get away while I was taking the picture...)



Here it is partially done:



Actually I recommend against paperclips because it crimps the stock, worse yet while it's wet with glue and more prone to being reshaped and sticking that way. Clothespins would be better.

With it all glued and clipped, I put pens in and a book on top to try to keep it from arching as it dried:



Once dry, remove the clips, flip it over and trim off the waste from the top layer, using the edge of the bottom layer as the guide.



Then just set it in the box: you're done!



Here's mine filled with pens (ones waiting to be sent off for restoration, or for my own tinkerings with the cheaper ones). You can see I've got plenty of room in the top to make another tray and stack them.




Like I said, this one was my first effort and had some flaws. When I do it again, I probably will use lighter stock for the top layer; I was fighting the thick card this time and I don't think the extra strength is necessary there. A solid bottom layer would be good though, so the tray could be picked up and not spill, so for that I might even go heavier, like cardboard. I also realised that instead of that little 1/16" tab on the ends, I could leave no extra at the ends of the bottom layer, say 1/4" at the ends of the top layer, and turn the ends of the top layer *under* to seal the ends. Also, I used Aleene's Quick-Drying Tacky Glue because it was handy, but it wasn't the best choice as it tended to soak, soften, and warp the paper. This might be a better job for a glue stick...

But I think the concept is sound, it's pretty quick and easy, and hopefully it can be of use to some of you---I hope you can take my flawed example and run with it. With all the paper and card out there for scrapbooking and other arts and crafts, we could make some really beautiful pen trays! ^_~



Great choice of cigar Box "Ashton" the label used to be owned by Bill "Ashton" Taylor maker of Ashton Pipes in England, and a good pal of mine
Living in an age gone bye

#13 Daosus

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Posted 01 July 2008 - 18:40

Very nice. Don't know what you mean by "crummy," since I could figure out exactly what you're doing just by looking at the pictures. I really like the extra bits you drew on, especially on the part where you glue stuff. Otherwise, it would have been very confusing.

#14 rahulg

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Posted 28 January 2009 - 13:05

Thanks, now I have my weekend project al lined up! Now to find a good enough box...

#15 DaleR

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Posted 28 January 2009 - 14:06

Nice work, and very clever...I just scored a couple of cardboard boxes, and I think I'll try try this.

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#16 tomsawyer

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Posted 17 August 2009 - 19:37

You could use a spray glue for the paper if you're giving it this project another go. You can find it at art supply stores or perhaps a hardware store.

#17 dizzypen

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Posted 19 August 2009 - 15:32

I did something fairly similar but quite a bit more crude. This is an insert for my top desk drawer to keep my pens from rolling around. I simply folded up several pieces of kraft paper and taped/glued the pieced of paper together. I then just placed the pens between the peaks. It serves it's purpose quite well.

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#18 txinsk

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Posted 20 August 2009 - 04:03

I have a question. When you made the top sheet with the peaks did you cut the paper with or against the grain?

Rick
Need money for pens, must make good notebooks. :)

#19 Wolverine1

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Posted 20 August 2009 - 11:50

You can also glue some velvet or flannel fabric to the paper slots, to ensure that there are issues with teh acid that might be present in the card-stock. Plus,the softer fabric will ensure that there is a lesser chance that pens,( especially vintage celluloid pens) will not get scratched or discolored.

#20 fronsac

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Posted 27 July 2011 - 04:17

hi, this is my first post, as i have been browsing through the myriads of interesting topics in your forum. im starting a FP collection as i have received a couple of pens from my dearly departed father among them a Parker 51 which i've amateurishly dated circa 1951-53, a Pilot Elite and a Parker Stainless Steel Vector. Im considering keeping these pens as a memento and start my own collection maybe starting with the Lamy Safari mainly because of the nibs and it's availability in the Philippines. as such, i have come across this thread which would help me build a case for my Pens. im just wondering if there is a possibility of re-uploading the photos to this DIY. it would be really helpful and much appreciated.

Keep up the Good work and thanks for spreading the FP love. :thumbup:

Mario

Edited by fronsac, 27 July 2011 - 07:31.







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