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.
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winchman made it!11 hours 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.

oddwon23 hours ago
Made with babinga and no holes for the post.
mysweetlife636 months ago

Love this!

akinich7 months 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)  akinich7 months 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!

Wolfbane2218 months ago
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)  Wolfbane2217 months 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!!!
sevenden11 months 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.
dermord1 year ago
nice job!!, but isnt exactly like the ilusionist movie (the one from the movie can contain a picture inside)
bricobart (author)  dermord1 year 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 dawg1 year 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 dawg1 year 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?
bricobart (author)  TwistedJack1 year ago
That's it! Screw & side A are glued solidly together, side B (the side which only has a hole) turns.
I only have hand tools and a regular drill, no drill press. I tried first with purpleheart. It was pretty infuriating. It's just way too hard a wood to shape and drill accurately without a press. So finally, I decided to use the basswood I have. This is unfinished, but I'm pretty satisfied so far. It actually lines up! I'm thinking about using a dowel as well.
Very nice instructable!!
the basswood heart
Ouch !! When I sand wood at least I put some latex gloves. I grip better and if you sand your hand there's 75% chances to not even touch the skin. I hope that heals soon. Ouch again.
Is it possible to simply cut the shape from a piece of wood, then saw it in half?
bricobart (author)  triangularsaw1 year ago
It is, but you're gonna be in trouble while drilling the axis holes in the two halves. It's o so difficult to have the same angle in the two halves...
DTC132 years ago
You are missing where the top/front half rotates to reveal the photo.
or_ford982 years ago
My dodgy heart... i need more precision lol
illusionists heart.png
bricobart (author)  or_ford982 years ago
Looks like my first one ;-) Your next one will be better, sure!
DTC132 years ago
Great look but your missing the last step
bricobart (author)  DTC132 years ago
And what step is this supposed to be?
opticalfx2 years ago
Great job! I'm a little lost as to how far down you round off the head of the screw in step 5. and if you enlarge the holes to the thread dia. or the shank dia. of the screw.
If I can pull off this one off I want to make a larger one (like cart562's) for my daughter.
And again Nice Job.
bricobart (author)  opticalfx2 years ago
Thanx a lot. Hope it works out well!!!
bricobart (author) 2 years ago
Thanx to all of you who voted for this Ible in the woodworking contest. It didn't make it to the top, but you know what? If I look to my wife I know I won already! ;-)
cart5622 years ago
This was another thing that I actually got around to making in Woodshop class and it's mostly my fault but it took me 3 tries. I didn't see the need at all to start from a cube and I love working with what i have, so I used flooring. The first try, I didn't angle the cuts enough and i drilled the holes off so that failed. The second time, I cut it across the grain and this kind of mahogany just likes to split, so it did. The 3rd time, however, was right after i broke the 2nd piece and there just happened to be enough scrap left over from my wooden bowl!(another thing on the site) So that went off without a hitch. Two other people in my class liked this idea so much that they decided to make the same thing; both of them made the angle really steep which made for a long, and quite stylish heart. I'm going to make a few more just for fun.
bricobart (author)  cart5622 years ago
It IS not an easy project, I know! Me too it took me 3 tries before I was really getting satisfied. That's why I used big cubes this time to get it done.
Nice work, that heart of yours, by the way.
Just one tip: make it a bit smaller next time. Or look out for a HUGE girl! ;-)
Naa, I have a big heart (:
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