Picture of The Illusionist's heart
You're in love.
You like woodworking.
You hate to buy industrial-made junk-jewelry.
You want to give something personal and special.
You don't want to cut your heart out to give it away either.

This Instructable is for you!

I'll show you how to make a wooden 'cartouche' - just a piece of wood - that can be transformed into a beautiful heart.

Give the cartouche to your love. If after two hours she's still asking you what it's good for: take it back, and change her into a smarter version.

Where I got the inspiration from? Did you see 'The Illusionist'? That famous movie with an outstanding Edward Norton? Remember the wooden heart? Didn't it inspire you to build one your own?

All you need:
- a beam of hardwood (square shaped - three inches thick)
- the usual woodworking tools
- a lot of patience
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Step 1: Cut the beam

Picture of Cut the beam
Sand ONE side of the beam to get a smooth surface. No need to sand the other sides.
Cut two cubes out of the beam.
Use a circular saw. Don't forget gloves, goggles & ear plugs.

Step 2: Glue the cubes together

Picture of Glue the cubes together
Mark the midpoints of the cubes ON THE SMOOTH SURFACE.
Drill a hole in each cube - I used a drill bit with a diameter of 3mm (0.1 inch) and drilled 1 inch deep.
Put the drill bit in one of the holes, the bit will serve you as axis.
Put wood-glue ON THE MARGINS of the smooth surface of one cube.
Put the other cube on the axis.
Glue the two cubes together and press them with a clamp.
Let it dry.

Step 3: Dismantle the proto-heart part 1

In the folowing two steps you'll remove all the wood you don't need.
Undo the clamp.
Put the mini-tower on one of it's growth rings sides.
Mark the midpoints of the cubes.
Link the midpoints with a line. Exactly under this line lies your axis.
Draw two other lines on a parallel distance of the middle-line.
Cut the tower on the two parallel lines.
If the blade of the circular saw doesn't go deep enough - like mine's ' - finish the job with a regular saw. Or use a band saw.
Sand the two sawed surfaces with a sander.
Pay attention to have a board with equal thickness everywhere (mine's was one inch).

Step 4: Dismantle the proto-heart part 2

Mark the midline of the board. The axis should be exactly under this line.
The two halves remain together because there's still some glue between them, remember?
Mark two points on an equal distance of the suture-zone.
Take a bar of aluminium, or whatever, of about one inch thick and place it diagonally between the two points. Mark the outer-zones.
Take a piece of tube, a coin or whatever round piece with the same diameter of the bar.
Use it to trace the rounded sides of the cartouche aka the heart.

Saw the excess wood.
Saw the rounded-sides first.
Then you saw the others. TAKE CARE FOR THE DRILL BIT that's still inside!
There's no more glue left.
You can seperate the halves.
Turn them.

TADAAA, a proto-heart!!!
Well done, all you need is finishing.

Step 5: The mechanical part

In this step you'll fix the two halves together.

Take a screw - I used a stainless.
Fix it on your drill or dremel.
Round the edge of the screw on a file.

Re-drill the holes of the two halves, corresponding to the diameter of the screw.
Enlarge the holes (diameter of the screw-head) ON THE OUTER SIDE OF ONE AND ON THE INNER SIDE OF THE OTHER.
Don't drill to deep, take your time.
Keep in mind that the head of the screw should'nt be deeper than 5mm of the suture line.
The bigger hole on the inner side of the other half shouldn't be deeper than 2 mm. The reason for this hole is that in the final stages you'll put some sealant in it WITHOUT SEALING FOREVER THE TWO HALVES.

Put the screw in place.
Screw it very solid to prevent any movement of the two halves.

Step 6: Raw-sanding

In this step you'll sand the 'cartouche' into it's final shape.
Round the curves of the heart first.
Than sand it to the thickness you want - mine is almost 1 cm (0.3 inch).
This step is boring repetitive: sanding, releasing the pressure of the screw, verifying if the two halves correspond exactly, re-pressuring the screw, resanding etc.

When the thickness is ok, you'll sand the edges.
Keep on sanding, verifying, re-sanding etc.
Start with heavy grain and go finer and finer.
Be patient, take your time.

Step 7: Assembly

Picture of Assembly
You're ready to put the screw definitively on it's place.
Put some sealant or glue in the enlarged hole in the inner side of one of the halves.
Put some oil in the enlarged hole in the outer side of the other half.
The glue will hold the screw in place on one side, the oil will lubrifiate it on the other.
Put the screw in place. Not too heavy, not too soft.
Let it dry.

Step 8: Plastic surgery

Picture of Plastic surgery
Put some wood-pulp in the remaining holes. Take care to use the right tint. Test it first (I didn't, big mistake!!!).
Let it dry.
Sand the excess with fine paper.
Sand it all with the finest grain.
Ready for the last step!

Step 9: Oiling

Picture of Oiling
I used natural oil - as always.
You know the smell? It's the smell of victory!!!

Step 10: Enjoy...

Picture of Enjoy...
One of the most nerve-breaking projects I ever did. This needs precision, time and patience.

I'm really satisfied with it, nice feeling ;-)

My wife loved it, she had it right immediately ;-)

Enjoy, and good luck if you'll try this yourself!

Note: you can turn this into a pendant. I didn't because I didn't want to drill this prototype...
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Bigedl made it!23 days ago
Lots of fun this one. Im happy with how it turned out. Thanks for the ideas. I used 2 pieces of 2x2 pine with red mahogony stain.
Logan Hanssen made it!2 months ago
Darn gap. I should have clamped it properly. Phenomenal instrucible.
dragonix0912 made it!3 months ago
My unfinished one. :) made it wih a bunch of popsicle sticks. *Still making the mechanics part*
themortalphoenix made it!4 months ago

Lacquered Teak. Amazing finish and texture.

Basic idea was from here!
Thanks a tonn

adam.reupert made it!5 months ago

Made it(:
It's a little edged but I like it...

ankitz6 months ago

is it possible to make it more foldable such a way dat we can put photo of two love birds in each fold of heart?

bricobart (author)  ankitz6 months ago

Someone realised this in another instructable. Yes it can!

etolar6 months ago
Would you have to start with the 4x4? Or could you use a board of appropriate thickness?
bricobart (author)  etolar6 months ago

I discovered that the bigger the initial blocks, the preciser I could work. My very first was a complete disaster since I started with two small planks. Give it a try, and good luck!

DanielGlasgow8 months ago
Made my own, I liked the idea and used several ideas from your post! However I didn't drill all the way through for the screw

It's beautiful! Can you elaborate on how you did the screw part? I have been having difficulties with the last few I made.

For my own I screwed half way through each piece, and then I cut a screw in half and screwed each side in, it can unscrew but using a screw with lots of threads.
bricobart (author)  DanielGlasgow8 months ago

Congratulations Daniel, you made a wonderful piece of art! What wood did you use? The colour is just splendid!

I used Purple Heart and mahogany! :) after this picture I used a natural oil too! I like the idea thanks
winchman made it!9 months ago

What a fantastic project. I made mine out of Purple heart and deviated from the original in that I screwed the two blocks together right from the start. Eliminated the gluing and it allowed me to drill all of the holes accurately to accept the pivot screw and then the plug that I put into the hole. It also allowed me to check the fit while shaping. Very chuffed.

bricobart (author)  winchman8 months ago

Congrats my friend, you did a hell of a great job! Excellent wood choice btw, this turns out really nice! How were the reactions? ;)

Thank you! Reactions were very good and it had a wonderful impact on the lady in question. I had it couriered to her just yesterday and she could not believe I made it myself. Thanks for the project.
bricobart (author)  winchman8 months ago

Because you threw it to her head?

Just kidding!!! Glad it inspired you and I hope it won't disturb your life too dramatically...

oddwon9 months ago
Made with babinga and no holes for the post.

Love this!

akinich1 year ago
This is spectacular, I guess I'm going to be taking at least 5 tries to get it right. I would like to know if it's possible to do this without wasting so much wood?
bricobart (author)  akinich1 year ago

With this method, not really. For what it's worth, you can easily get a piece of scrapwood for free in your local sawmill and what you're calling 'waste' can be reused in other projects. Good luck!

Thanks for the instructable! I made one for my girlfriend with 25 year aged pecan, I just had to make blocks out of it at first. The first time I used a crappy 4x4 and it broke apart on the samder as I was finishing. Anyway, great job!
bricobart (author)  Wolfbane2211 year ago

Great! Do you have a picture?

Daftehh2 years ago
Hey thanks man!
That is beautiful. Nice eyehole up top, I was planning on doing the same thing.
bricobart (author)  Daftehh2 years ago
Nice work! Congratulations!!!
sevenden1 year ago
I'm making one at the shop pronto! thanks
mads2810862 years ago
Hi bartolo
It´s a great instructable and I want to go out and get started now! but.. one question. The screw. When you turn the finished pendent, wont the screw separate the two pieces?
bricobart (author)  mads2810861 year ago
Nope, because the tip of the screw is glued in one half (step 7). Good luck!
I mean.. I can see from the pictures that it isn´t so.. But my mind is baffled!
Mojizao1 year ago
hey bricobart, really nice job!!

I am going to make this for my girl, in fact I already started, I just glued the 2 pieces of wood together (of course with the axis inside it)

Now like many people I also don't quite understand the 5th step, the mechanical part:
I understand the fact that you put a bigger hole (5mm) on the outer side of one and also a few milimeters bigger on the inner side on the other, but at the end of part 5 you say: screw it very solid. But on the photo I don't see a groove anymore at the head of the drilled screw. And I thought this part is supposed to be rotating and the other side (the inner part) is supposed to be glued tight? So both of the sides will be solid? Or do you screw it a little loose after you have put the glue in at the inner side? It is just a little confusing.

The rest is clear to me and the result looks great. Thanks for sharing! :)

Best wishes from Holland!
bricobart (author)  Mojizao1 year ago
Hi collegue!

I suppose being a bit late with my answer, many sorrys!!! In case you didn't find the key of the problem already, here's a bit more explanation.

Step 5 goes together with step 7. In step 5 you'll preparing the holes & setting the screw temporarly, in step 7 you'll consolidate it. Aim of 'screw it very solid' is to avoid that the two halves will move while sanding them (step 6).
In step 7 you'll de-screw the screw, put some glue in the enlarged inner hole of one half & put some oil in the other half. The end (pointed side) of the screw will be anchored in the first half while the head (large side) of the screw will move freely in the other half.

Hope this helps! Good luck, and post a picture of the result!
really cool! but i still can't understand on the screw part.
dermord2 years ago
nice job!!, but isnt exactly like the ilusionist movie (the one from the movie can contain a picture inside)
bricobart (author)  dermord2 years ago
Thanx and yes, it isn't the same at all. This is a simplified version of it - 'The Illusionist's Heart For Dummies' ;-)
still its really difficult xDD hehehe
tech dawg2 years ago
I don't understand how to do the screw part I'm building this and I understand everything up to the part with the screw how does the price turn?
bricobart (author)  tech dawg2 years ago
The bolt side is fixed all together, the screwhead side turns.
so the thread side is locked in place but the head is filled down enough to fit in the hole but not come out the other side?
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