Anyone who owns an Apple Watch will know how important charging the device is. The daily charging does not typically bother me as I use the watch as an alarm clock and simply let it charge overnight. I particularly like the Nightstand mode that turns on when charging the watch while it is laid on its side. I've wanted a charging dock for some time that would allow the watch to charge on its side next to my bed. This is the story of how I made that dock.
Step 1: Find a Log
While camping, I took a quick trek down into the woods to find a suitable dead log for this project. I wanted this log to be similar in diameter to my wrist with some interesting knots that could be helpful in supporting the watch - as you'll see later on.
Step 2: Cutting the Log
Once the log was found, I cut across it perpendicular to its length. The straighter this cut, the better, as it ensures that the dock will sit vertical when finished. After making this 90° cut, I moved a few inches down the log and cut it at an angle.
Step 3: Cleaning Up the Log
Once the log was cut, I removed the bark and dark "skin" from it using a knife. This took some time, but I felt that using the knife instead of sandpaper kept the wood looking more natural and gave it more of a hand-worked look.
Step 4: Drill the Charging Puck Hole
I selected the ideal location in the cut log for the Apple Watch charging puck. If the puck is placed right above some small knots, these knots can be used to help support the weight of the watch. Although the magnetic puck is strong enough to support the watch vertically, I found that it doesn't hurt to have a bit of additional support. After selecting the location for the charging puck, I drilled a 1" diameter hole to a depth of 5/16" using a forstner bit. Ideally I would have used a 1 1/8" bit, but I didn't have one on hand. If you do use a 1 1/8" bit, step 5 can be avoided.
Step 5: Enlarge the Puck Hole
Since I used an undersize bit for the puck hole, I needed to enlarge it to fit the puck. I used a sanding drum and my rotary tool for this.
Step 6: Drill a Slot for the USB Cord
Two 5/16" holes were drilled at an angle from the bottom of the puck hole through the center of the base (the flat end of the log). These holes should be drilled directly next to one another so that they can be connected to form a slot. I wiggled the drill bit back and forth to connect the holes and form this slot for the USB end of the charging cord to fit through.
Step 7: Cut Small Grove for Puck Cord
A small grove needs to be cut between the USB slot and the front of the dock for the puck cord to fit into when the puck is fitted into its hole. I used both a 5/16" drill bit and my rotary tool to cut this grove. I wanted the grove to be as close to the face of the dock as possible and I also wanted it to be quite deep so that it didn't bend the cord exiting from the puck.
Step 8: Drill the Magnet Hole
Since the puck is slightly magnetic on its backside, I decided to place a small magnet behind it to help hold the puck in place. I drilled a 5/8" hole to a depth of 1/4" in the center of the larger puck hole.
Step 9: Drill Hole for Dowel
Since I only have one charging puck, I did not want to permanently mount it in the dock (for those occasions when I travel and need to take it with me). To ease in the removal of the puck, a dowel will be inserted through the log behind the puck. Pushing on the exposed end of the dowel will push on the puck and pop it out of the dock. I drilled a 25/64" hole directly through the log for this dowel.
Step 10: Cut Dowel & Add Screw
A 3/8" dowel was cut to 1 7/8" in length with the one end being drilled to fit a flat head screw. This screw helps hold the magnet behind the charging puck. When the dowel is fit into the prepared hole, the end of the dowel without the screw should protrude from the back of the log.
Step 11: Add Magnets to Bottom of Base
Since I use my steel toolbox as my nightstand, I wanted to add magnets to the bottom of the log to allow the entire dock to be securely attach to the toolbox, while still being easily removable. I drilled two 5/8" holes to a depth of 1/4" in the bottom of the base and superglued two magnets into them.
Step 12: Fit Puck Into Log
The magnet is fitted into the hole prepared for it behind the puck. It will clip into place on the screw at the end of the dowel. I had to be sure to put the correct side of the magnet toward the puck as it will only clip to the puck on the one side. Next, the USB cable is threaded through the log and the puck is pressed into position above the magnet.
Step 13: Widen Crack for Cord
The cord escapes from bottom of the log via a small crack connecting the hole in the bottom of the base and the back side of the log. I had to enlarge this crack slightly by carving it with a knife.
Step 14: Carve Ledge for Watch
I carved a narrow ledge below the puck to help hold the watch when it is charging. The two small knots located here also help to support the watch.
Step 15: Drill Pen Hole
As a final touch, I drilled a 1/2" diameter hole in the angled top of the dock to a depth of 2 5/8". This hole serves as a pencil or pen holder.
Step 16: Apply Oil
I applied Danish Oil to the dock for a finish. You could also use any varnish or stain, but I wanted to try oil as it promised to create a beautiful finish much more quickly and easily. I wasn't disappointed.
Step 17: We're Done
I was super pleased with how this project turned out. It was simple, quick, and works just as expected. It securely attaches to my toolbox with the magnets on the base and provides a convenient holder for my pencil when I'm not using it. Oh, and it charges the Apple Watch in a perfect sideways position.