2024.01.03: The Card Cabinet

2024-05-31 02:24 by Ian

I've long wanted a dedicated cabinet for my MTG cards. But since my boys now play, there is enough of a collection to justify it. It should have spaces for decks, dice, play mats, card binders, and boxes of loose cards.

I always do my non-trivial designs in Blender before I start cutting. After several hours of experimenting with aesthetics and practical concerns, I came up with this:

Not shown in the render are the cabinet doors. The four cells at the top and bottom will be wood, and the large center doors will be tempered glass. It will be built from kiln-dried dimensional Ceder for reasons of weight and aesthetics.
Total cost should be about $450 (and way too much time).

Deck matrix

The fundamental purpose of the cabinet is this matrix of tight-tolerance cells that are designed to fit UltraPro 80-card deck boxes. It was all painstakingly cut from planed ceder trim board to a tolerance of +/-1mm.

After application of the felt lining, a deck fits perfectly. Just snug enough to hold it in place against gravity.

Application of the felt lining and trimming to eliminate seams was the single hardest part of this entire build. It took at least 3-weeks of spare time to finish this subunit. But it was finished in March.


Power planers are god-tier tools. You can use them to turn cattywampus trash-tier lumber into something an engineer might consider "straight". That becomes important when you are trying to build something with such an aspect ratio (it is 7' tall and less than 6" deep). Not only does the stability of the cabinet depend on starting with straight sticks, but the aesthetics will be badly marred against the perfect edges of the glass and the wall it will be set against.

Here are all the major structural parts laid out with no bonding. Everything has been planed, sanded, and cut to final lengths. That it all lines up so well while free-standing on the floor is a good milestone in realizing the render.

Stained, bolted together, and glass doors

The cabinet is not yet finished, but has been pressed into service. It has been stained/sealed, the backing board felted/attached, and the tempered glass doors etched/installed. The only thing left to be finished are the four binder cabinets.