This section is from the book "The Boy Mechanic Vol. 2 1000 Things for Boys to Do", by Popular Mechanics Co.. Also available from Amazon: The Boy Mechanic, Vol2: 1000 Things for Boys to Do.
The card consists of three pieces, or three-ply, veneer. The grain of the outside veneer runs lengthwise, while that of the inside piece runs crosswise. This makes the card straight and keeps it from breaking. For the inner section, walnut, which may be had as thin as 1/64 in., or any thin straight-grained veneer may be used. Two pieces of veneer, about 3% in. wide and 6 in. long; one piece, 6 in. wide and 3 3/4 in. long, - the length being with the grain of the wood - and two blocks of wood, known as cauls, of the same size or a little larger, and about 7/8 in. thick, are required.
The veneer is laid flat on a board and cut with a sharp knife or fine saw along the edge of a ruler. The three pieces are glued together in the following manner. Use ordinary hot glue, not too thin, but thin enough to run freely from the brush. The glue is applied evenly on both sides of the inner piece only, and this is then stood on edge until the glue chills. Then the cauls are heated. This is best done on a stove, or on stove lids over a gas fire. While the blocks are being heated, put one veneer on either side of the middle piece, and a piece of thin paper on each side to keep the glue from the cauls. A hand screw or vise should be opened to almost the distance required. One of the cauls is now laid flat, the veneers upon it and the other caul on top. This should be done quickly. Then clamp the whole firmly together. While the full pressure is only needed for about two hours, the pieces should be allowed to dry between the cauls for, say, a day or two, so that they will keep straight. The size of the finished card is 3% in. by 5 1/2 in. It is cut and planed to size while lying flat on a board, the plane being pushed along on its side on the bench top. To dress or clean, clamp one side to the bench. While a scraper blade may be used to advantage, it is not essential, as a block of wood and sandpaper will do. The thinner it is dressed the better. The sharp edges should be removed with sandpaper. The writing on a wood card is not done in the ordinary manner, as the ink would run. The surface must be prepared, which also gives a finish to the wood. Melt some wax or paraffin in a suitable vessel and cover the surface of the wood, using a brush or rag. The lines for the address on one side are then drawn, and the writing is done with a hard lead pencil. When through writing on one side, cover it with some strong aniline stain. (Aniline, dissolved in hot water, commonly known as water stain and used especially to stain mahogany, is the right kind.) Do not remove the wax that was raised by the pencil point. Brush the stain over until the whole side is covered. When dry, repeat on the other side. In about an hour the wax may be scraped off with a dull scraper or some other dull instrument. After every particle of wax has been removed, the card is given a good rubbing with a clean, soft rag. It is well to protect the hands as well as the table during the process. - Contributed by Chas. Schapmeier, Baltimore, Md.