Dispatches from the Front (Pre-Release Report) - sometimes it's just a clipboard

And sometimes it’s more.

My wife works at the local parochial elementary school and they recently hired a new handyman to do all the little stuff that needs someone handy to take care of…hang bulletin boards, build shelves, remove old equipment, etc.

The guy is a really nice fellow, a little older and has pretty much found his niche in life. He’s really concerned that he gets things expected nailed down before he starts a project and tends to spend a fair amount of time going over the details. Sometimes more than once because he doesn’t always write things down. That can be an issue with staff time having to explain things multiple times.

So my wife decided to get Dave a clipboard where new jobs can be added when he’s not there and he can write down the answers to the questions he has about things. She asked if I could laser some sort of customization on it so everyone knows it’s his list and it doesn’t get repurposed by a teacher or someone else needing a clipboard.

Picked up a couple at Target - they’re pretty cheap. Made out of a hardboard of some sort that I figure I can laser. My wife gives me the school’s mascot (a knight) and asks if I can engrave that & Dave’s name on the clipboard.

I do easy peasy.

Turned out okay, but not great. Don’t get any real definition in the shading of the knight.

So I figure I’ll just cut out a clipboard from some PG. Looked at PG Maple plywood but it’s not as rigid in the medium (1/8" nominal) size and the thick seemed too thick.

Medium PG Draftboard on the other hand is pretty much a dead on replacement for whatever hardboard is used in commercial clipboards. Figure I’ll just design a quick rectangle with the curved corners and even have the laser “drill” out the holes for the clamp. I thought I’d just drill out the rivets on the commercial board and reuse that.

But I was getting something else from Amazon and decided to search for clipboard clamp and sure enough - a 10 pack with Prime shipping ordered and on it’s way in minutes :smiling_face:

PG Draftboard makes for a much nicer engrave. I could have messed with the jpeg to recolor it for more definition as it’s only a few well defined shades of light blues but the first try dropped onto the board turned out pretty well.

I did 3 coats of a shellac/denatured alcohol mix for a finish to keep dirt and any nuisance water from messing it up and mounted the clamp. I used Chicago screws vs the rivets that we’re included mostly because I suck at setting rivets. I added a bit of CA glue to the female side of the screw before tightening everything down.

Dave was tickled pink. He was thrilled someone would get him anything much less have it engraved just for him. He carries it around like it’s his baby.

Sometimes the simple things mean a lot more than we think.

(And now I have requests for a bunch of honey-do clipboards from the teachers for their husbands who keep"forgetting" what needs to be done around the house :smiling_face: )


Love it! (Much more than a clipboard!) :grinning:


I’m a hobbyist not a pro like some of you guys. They’re just requests. My wife is happy with the GF as she figures I’ll be able to keep busy when I retire someday and in the meantime it’s an antidote to the stress of my real job. :slight_smile:


That is so nice! It feels great to make stuff for folks that they get excited about–I’d rather get that than money!


Me too. Like unexpected birthday cards. :wink:


I can only say that because I don’t need to make money from my Glowforge. I’m very fortunate, I know.


Yep, me too. Retired with too much of me on my hands. The 'forge has given me a target to point myself at. I feel so lucky, and indulgent to have the freedom from a working life now. Man it went fast in retrospect.


Great story and great gift. My maintenance man/custodian is the best. Makes a huge difference for keeping everyone happy. Custom clipboards are a great idea. Nice personalization.


Second “basic” unit for food is my dream! Don’t touch it! Or, at least, make sure there’s room for me in that dream.


I love it! Such a difference in the image from the original clipboard and the DB. I’ll bet Dave was thrilled - so nice to have a surprise customized item!


Truer words have never been spoken. My GF will be making lots of gifts over time for people ‘just because…’


Dave’s a pretty simple guy - it never crossed his mind that someone would get him something just for him. That’s why it’s his new baby :slight_smile:


Yeah, my wife wouldn’t believe that I said something that could, with a stretch of the imagination, be interpreted as romantic.


I’m sure you’re kidding, but sounds a bit misogynistic.

My husband played music and drew cartoons for much of his life. It was me who collected tools, learned how to fix some things and make other things. I love tools.


Great job…but now the dads might might have a contract out on you…

No apologies necessary. I figured no bad thoughts intended. Thank you


That’s great, and a great little story!

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Warms my heart! Sounds like you made Dave’s day - a heartfelt gift can go a long way.