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Hello, I'm thinking of making a number of pen trays for the too many pens I have. My plan is to either build a box with several drawers of pen trays or to fit an existing frameless bookcase with shallow drawers. I'm thinking that since I plan to create the pen trays as a drawer insert that it would have to be some sort of stable sheet material that wouldn't expand or contract: something like MDF. My plan is to rout a flute into material with a core box bit, cut it out into a long strip, cut it to fixed length pieces and glue them side by side onto a hardboard substrate.

post-120324-0-43726600-1433540749.jpg

By making this a kind of modular design, I'm basically trying to avoid having to rout uniform parallel flutes into a single panel. Then I would apply flocking to the surface to finish it off. I'm wondering if there's any flaw in my design that I should be concerned with?

 

Alternatively, I have to ask myself whether it would just be better to buy one. It's a common question for woodworkers. There's one here that I can get locally at Lee Valley: http://www.leevalley.com/en/wood/page.aspx?p=54852&cat=1,250,43243,43245,54852. Has anyone had experience with this?

Edited by jaysongo
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darrin1200

Hi jaysong.

 

I have played with his idea myself. If all you want is a case to store your pens, you will be able to find one relatively less expensive than making one. I would be careful of the lee valley one. I have a similar one, but it does not have enough space to hold anything but the slimest pens when using both sides.

 

An mdf core is not a bat idea, but it can be very hard on router bits when doing a lot of grooves. Also when you glue the modular pieces down to a thin core, depending on the glue you use, the hole thing may curl slightly. This is caused by the glue, wood glue, slightly shrinking as it dries. This is one of the reasons that panels are normally veneered on both sides, to balance the stresses.

 

Another option is to get preformed inserts. This is the method i ultimately chose. I'll see if I can find a link to some for you.

 

All that said, the satisfaction of making your own case, goes a long way to offsetting the labour and PIA costs.

 

Good luck with your project.

Darrin McArthur

Timber Elegance ~ Handcrafted Writing Instruments

My Etsy Store

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Thanks Darrin. I know exactly what you're talking about with regard pen cases where you can't use both sides with large pens. I have a few Chinese made zipper cases that have the same issue. That's part of the reason why I wanted to make my own.

I never thought of this as a kind of veneering but it makes sense. My backup plan would be to rout parallel grooves into a panel of Baltic birch plywood, which is also stable and doesn't have voids. But that's a considerable expense for something like this unless I have scraps.

 

If there's an option to get preformed inserts that would be wonderful. I've done some searching online but finding something that has Canadian-friendly shipping is always tough. If you have link to one that would be great and I'd very much appreciate it.

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I think it's easier to just buy the insert than make something.

 

Maybe gopens is canadian friendly re: shipping :)

http://www.gopens.com/Vintage_Pen_Parts/vintage_pens_12X16Trays.php

 

Thanks for the response. I've looked into that site, but from reading the instructions on the page I would have to first submit an order to learn the shipping cost, which is added on to the total afterwards. I would be much more comfortable in doing so if I heard from someone who purchased this item and had it sent to a Canadian address, to know that the shipping isn't excessive.

 

Also I agree that buying it would be easier than making it, but I like to make things. And even when you want to buy something, as in this case with a ready-made tray, often it's not feasible to do so.

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I have made tray inserts in a number of ways this is the closest to what you have described I used a corner moulding joining two pieces together to form the channel.

I glued the mouldings to a piece of card before wrapping it in leather

 

8591384651_584e0bc63b_z.jpgIMG_0270 by my0771, on Flickr

 

Here is the finished case to give you an idea

 

8709909119_7e9f23d58a_z.jpgIMG_0495 by my0771, on Flickr

 

My preferred method is to use dowel to form the rises

 

Hope this helps

For more details on my current projects please visit my blog.

 

https://my63leather.wixsite.com/my63

 

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Thanks for posting the pictures. I think I may have been stuck in woodworking mode since that's what I'm familiar with, but I guess the only reason to go that route is to show off the wood, which wouldn't be applicable if I used an engineered sheet material. So, yes, it does help me very much to see a way of doing this that isn't along the lines of how I am accustomed to making things.

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Interesting idea, my63 but doesn't this make the whole box rather heavy?

 

(which is, if it sits on your desk not a big problem...)

 

 

D.ick

~

KEEP SAFE, WEAR A MASK, KEEP A DISTANCE.

Freedom exists by virtue of self limitation.

~

 

 

 

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It was some time ago but as I remember the leather added more weight than the wood although when I have looked into the project folder I did sand most of the bottom of the wood down but I think that was to allow more space for pens the whole thing was not that heavy as I posted it to the USA

 

8598967486_ca20477084_z.jpgIMG_0289 by my0771, on Flickr

 

Here is a link to the thread where the whole box was made

 

https://www.fountainpennetwork.com/forum/topic/224142-writing-slope-dilema/page-18

 

10957604305_ce91850940_z.jpgIMG_5652 by my0771, on Flickr

 

This is the dowel method I mentioned earlier I hope the OP finds this useful

For more details on my current projects please visit my blog.

 

https://my63leather.wixsite.com/my63

 

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One thing to consider: pen slots with flat or rounded bottoms can allow the pens put in them to move back and forth a bit. A V-shaped pen slot doesn't have this problem. I wish more pen chests had the V-shaped slots, but I expect they're more difficult to make.

MrThoth

Scribe, Master of Mystic Lore, Young Curmudgeon

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darrin1200

I have ordered the go.pens trays and the trays from pendora. My preference is the pendora trays. I find they have a larger slot and they come some very nice colours.

 

http://pendora-pens.myshopify.com/collections/pen-tray-liner-inserts

 

I order alot from the states and I dont think they were excessive. Neither was gopens. A lot of times when people are shipping to canada, the final amount isn't known until the package is prepped and weighed. Some companies add the price on after and either add the amount to your card or send you a confirmation email. While others immediately apply a larger shipping cost, enoug to cover anywhere in Canada, then reimburse the unused portion.

 

I just looked up my order from last year, and the shipping was $29 for 10 large trays. The trays are 21" long, so I didn't find it excessive.

Darrin McArthur

Timber Elegance ~ Handcrafted Writing Instruments

My Etsy Store

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One thing to consider: pen slots with flat or rounded bottoms can allow the pens put in them to move back and forth a bit. A V-shaped pen slot doesn't have this problem. I wish more pen chests had the V-shaped slots, but I expect they're more difficult to make.

 

It's a good point; are you thinking about abrasion? Do you think slots covered with material that has a soft nap would resolve the issue? I'd like to use the dowel method (or tucks) with cotton velveteen.

James

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One thing to consider: pen slots with flat or rounded bottoms can allow the pens put in them to move back and forth a bit. A V-shaped pen slot doesn't have this problem. I wish more pen chests had the V-shaped slots, but I expect they're more difficult to make.

 

Actually, these are easier. Take a piece of fairly thick paper, glue some velvety material on it, and then harmonica-fold the combination. You then can glue the paper-side into the box.

 

 

D.ick

~

KEEP SAFE, WEAR A MASK, KEEP A DISTANCE.

Freedom exists by virtue of self limitation.

~

 

 

 

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I think it's easier to just buy the insert than make something.

 

 

 

I agree.

 

But I do know a really talented woodworker who makes his own dowels, simply because he likes the process of working with wood. For him, the attention and care during the process are what leads naturally to creating a beautiful product. For him it is certainly NOT the simple the desire to have a beautiful product -- he sees himself as participating in the creation of it. I think that's poetry applied to woodworking.

 

As for me, I'd spend the 10 bucks :)

 

 

 

Edited for grammar correction.

Edited by delano
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  • 3 weeks later...

Hello, I just wanted to update and say that I ended up ordering a number of trays from gopens. I decided that building a cabinet from scratch is satisfaction enough that I don't need to worry about making the trays from scratch as well, especially for the number of pens I intend to house.

As for the cabinet itself, it'll just be a simple black melamine cabinet with shelving space, drawers for ink bottles, and maybe a pull-out table. I may or may not add solid wood false fronts, depending on what materials I have left over. it's not so much for looks as it is a piece of utility furniture. Plus melamine has the benefit of being free of tannic acid emission, which will keep any books I shelve from yellowing over time. Thanks for all the replies.

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