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Kickstarter or DIY? Updated

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Blog entry by JayT posted 08-23-2015 02:07 AM 1209 reads 0 times favorited 10 comments Add to Favorites Watch

Was reading one of my favorite tool blogs last week and was intrigued by a post and the challenge it contained.

Stuart from Toolguyd posted an article that talked about a Kickstarter campaign for some simple desktop cord keepers called “Stacks” and how it might be a good DIY project. In the article, he also threw out a challenge: Weekend Challenge: Your challenge, should you choose to accept it, is to design or make a desktop cable and cord stop or tamer of your own.

Challenge accepted.

Went through some of the scrap pieces in my shop and tried different species to see what would and would not work well.

Walnut turned out to be a bit light. It works if the cords are somewhat behaving, but doesn’t have enough mass to really do a good job.

Next, I tried some apitong (scrap cutoffs from a trailer manufacturer). It worked much better than the walnut, as it is quite a bit denser and heavier.

Thinking about this quote from the article: “We believe that your office/home decor influences your lifestyle. Its elegance inspires refinement, its functionality inspires productivity, and its innovation inspires creativity. We want STACKS to be your agent of inspiration.”

Sorry, I don’t find a block of monochromatic metal to be very inspiring. Might be to others, but is just boring to me. (Damascus steel would be very cool, however) So I found some other pieces of wood that had more character than the walnut or apitong.

Osage orange worked very well. Hard and dense, plus a bit unusual in appearance.

Walnut with sapwood had some good character, but has the weight issue.

With needing to get work done on another project, I didn’t have time to try splitting a blank to add something metal for mass. The best result, as far as I was concerned, was a piece of spalted maple. This particular piece was very dense and weighed as much as the Osage or apitong and the character imparted by the spalting was over the top.

Time wise, it only took about an hour to make 30 blocks out of a variety of woods, plus a bit more time for finishing. Did everything with the table saw, a chisel (to clean up the groove) and some sandpaper.

My conclusion was that wood works just fine at 1×1 if it is dense enough. If wanting to do something like walnut, mass would need added, either by inserting some metal or just making the cubes bigger. 1-1/2” would probably work.

This was a fun little diversion and I’m already thinking of ways to do the shape differently or doing laminated blanks out of two or three different species. The possibilities are endless and there is no reason to pay someone $20 for a single one, when a couple dozen can be made in an hour. I’m just glad to have the skills and opportunity to make my own stuff instead of relying on someone else and paying out the nose for it.

Update 8/23

Decided to try one idea real quick this afternoon. Had just a little bit of walnut from around a knot that showed some beautiful grain, so made some blocks with stainless steel “legs” for additional weight. The legs also allow cords to run under them in two directions.

Came out pretty well, and remind me of miniature furniture. Maybe I could market them as cord control ottomans? :-)

Also decided to weigh the various iterations to see where they were at for mass

Walnut – 12.7 grams
Apitong – 14.3g
Osage – 18.2g
Spalted Maple – 16.0g
Ottomans – 29.0g

-- "Good judgement is the result of experience. A lot of experience is the result of poor judgement."



10 comments so far

View Don W's profile

Don W

17971 posts in 2035 days


#1 posted 08-23-2015 11:30 AM

Drill a few holes up from the bottom and pour in some lead.

-- Master hand plane hoarder. - http://timetestedtools.net

View terryR's profile

terryR

6323 posts in 1776 days


#2 posted 08-23-2015 02:09 PM

Fun stuff, Jay.
I was prepared to offer Don’s suggestion as well.
A larger chunk of wood might be quicker?

-- tr ...see one, do one, teach one...

View rhybeka's profile

rhybeka

2682 posts in 2589 days


#3 posted 08-23-2015 02:11 PM

I’m with Don and Terry :) Sweet idea JayT!

-- Beka/Becky - aspiring jill of all trades, still learning to not read the directions.

View terryR's profile

terryR

6323 posts in 1776 days


#4 posted 08-23-2015 02:17 PM

Heck, maybe a piece of brass laminated to the top, and your logo added!

-- tr ...see one, do one, teach one...

View JayT's profile

JayT

4786 posts in 1678 days


#5 posted 08-23-2015 03:50 PM

Oh, I’ve got ideas, just need time to try a few. The initial run copied the original idea just to prove that for time and appearance, wood is just as good as or better than the metal ones offered up on Kickstarter. Just found out that softball league for this afternoon was cancelled due to wet fields, so I’m planning on getting out in the shop and trying a couple ideas.

-- "Good judgement is the result of experience. A lot of experience is the result of poor judgement."

View JayT's profile

JayT

4786 posts in 1678 days


#6 posted 08-23-2015 09:47 PM

Updated with a new design for more interest and weight.

-- "Good judgement is the result of experience. A lot of experience is the result of poor judgement."

View CFrye's profile

CFrye

8759 posts in 1307 days


#7 posted 08-23-2015 10:33 PM

Interesting, Jay. I like the look of the ottomans! Worth the extra steps

-- God bless, Candy

View MT_Stringer's profile

MT_Stringer

2854 posts in 2698 days


#8 posted 08-23-2015 10:58 PM

Did you consider rare earth magnets? ebay has ‘em in all sizes.

-- Handcrafted by Mike Henderson - Channelview, Texas

View JayT's profile

JayT

4786 posts in 1678 days


#9 posted 08-24-2015 12:12 AM



Did you consider rare earth magnets? ebay has em in all sizes.

- MT_Stringer

Why? The point is to hold cords from flopping around and sliding off the desk, so I’m not sure how magnets would help, unless you had a metal topped desk. The only thing they would do is hold the individual blocks together, but if you just need one, then there’s not advantage. Plus I don’t know if a powerful magnet that close to a data cable would cause issues.

-- "Good judgement is the result of experience. A lot of experience is the result of poor judgement."

View MT_Stringer's profile

MT_Stringer

2854 posts in 2698 days


#10 posted 08-24-2015 12:20 AM

Did you consider rare earth magnets? ebay has em in all sizes.

- MT_Stringer

Why? The point is to hold cords from flopping around and sliding off the desk, so I m not sure how magnets would help, unless you had a metal topped desk. The only thing they would do is hold the individual blocks together, but if you just need one, then there s not advantage. Plus I don t know if a powerful magnet that close to a data cable would cause issues.

- JayT

OK. Just forget it. You aren’t giving the idea enough thought. :-)

My desk top has a lot more than 2 cables. Some sort of base with a thin piece of sheet metal attached to it would anchor your cable organizers if each one had a small magnet(s) sunk into the bottom side of it. Just my thinking.

-- Handcrafted by Mike Henderson - Channelview, Texas

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