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M36 TIN bulletin chalk board

Toy Inventor’s Notebook: “Old School” Inventing

On a recent family trip, I was asked to help out on a quick DIY project. My sister-in-law Carole was making a combination blackboard/bulletin board from some wooden picture frame material and a piece of ¼” smooth plywood for the back panel.

She painted one half of the panel with chalkboard paint. Just brush it to get an “old school” chalkboard surface — works great! She wanted some help with the next step; I attached pieces of cork sheet with contact cement for the bulletin board side.

The last detail was trickier: How to protect the exposed tender edge of the cork? If I were at home in my shop, I’d use a router to make a wooden trim strip with an L-channel shape, but away on vacation I had to improvise. Hmm … old school … classroom … rulers? Aha! I trimmed an old wooden yardstick to fit inside the frame and around the cork edge. Easy, fast, and free from the hardware store. The ruler markings and faded red lettering on the yardstick even adds a fun ”old school” look. Project’s done and school’s out — back to my summer vacation!

With added basket tray for chalk and erasers.

With added basket tray for chalk and erasers.

Close-up of yardstick detail.

Close-up of yardstick detail.

Bulletin board/chalkboard in use on Carole’s potting shed door.

Bulletin board/chalkboard in use on Carole’s potting shed door.

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Bob Knetzger

Bob Knetzger

Bob Knetzger ([email protected]) is an inventor/designer with 30 years of experience making fun stuff.


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