Playing Card Holder

Wednesday 11 July 2018

Card games are a great source of pleasure to many people, but some players find the hands they have to hold them in can be troublesome! For several years I suffered with carpal tunnel syndrome, so if you know a card player who needs a little help with their hands, this one is for them!This is a fairly straightforward turning job, similar to turning a bowl but with a deep groove and round edge as the principal feature. You can make a pair from a 254 x 51mm blank. Any suitable turning wood will do, but the American walnut I used is excellent as it looks like a small piece of furniture when polished.

The underside

Mount a 254 x 51mm blank on a faceplate. Level off the face to a good flat finish (this will be the underside). Turn a 25mm deep hole in the centre to fit your chuck in expansion mode (in my case, 55mm) and get the inner edge nice and smooth (see photo 1). Sand and polish the base and the centre hole at this stage. Work from 120 to 600-grit, and apply a good furniture polish by cloth with the lathe spinning.

Working the outer edge

Remount the piece onto the chuck using the centre hole you have just made (see photo 2). Turn the outer edge until it is round and balanced, then cut a shallow cove as the principal feature of the outside. You can do this with a bowl gouge, or a scraper.

Round over the outer edge into the start of the card groove, creating a 10mm bead around the edge (see photo 3). A 10mm bead former is the best tool for this.

Getting in the groove

Cut the 6mm wide card groove to a depth of about 32mm using a parting tool (see photo 4). Angle the groove at about 85 degrees so the cards will lean slightly outwards. Get the sides and bottom smooth and even as they will show on the cut edge later. Work it smooth with abrasives.

Cut another 10mm bead on the inner rim of the groove (see photo 5). This edge should be about 6mm lower than the outer rim.

Into the middle

Hollow out the rest of the middle section from the inner rim to the centre, forming a flat area about 22mm thick (see photo 6). This will expose the centre hole you cut from the underside. Leave a curve where the flat surface meets the inner rim.

Complete the turning by putting a 12mm cove in the edge of the centre hole, taking care not to hit the chuck jaws (see photo 7)). This will make the inner edge more attractive. Sand and polish the whole thing the same as the underside.

Off-lathe finishing

Before you start the off-lathe work, make sure you are satisfied with your turning. Start by marking a centreline across the base, running along the grain. Make marks on the rim 25mm either side of the centreline. Draw the cutting lines across the centre from each of these marks to the opposite one, so you have a shallow saltire cross with two large and two small segments (see photo 8).

With the piece upside down on the bandsaw, cut out the small segments, thereby separating the two large segments (see photo 9). If you don't have a bandsaw, use a fine tenon saw.

All that is needed now is to plane the sides to get a good finish with as little sanding as possible. Hold the piece in a vice using something soft as a cushion to prevent damage to the rim. Polish the sides to a good finish to match the turned surfaces.