I made this geometric wood bangle from a scrap of maple and gave it an oval shaped center (as opposed to a perfect circle) to give it a comfortable and snug fit.
This bracelet is super easy and quick to make, all you need are a few basic shop tools.
Here's what you'll need:
- Band saw or a scroll saw or a coping saw (or whatever kind of saw you have!)
- Round sanding drum for a drill press (or a dremmel)
- Table sander (or any kind of electric sander)
- Fine grit sandpaper
- Wood burner (optional)
- Wood oil
Step 1: Choose Your Wood
For this bracelet I used a 3/4" thick piece of maple. The nice thing about maple is that you can easily sand it down to a really smooth finish since it has such a tight grain.
If your using hand tools, like a coping saw, you may want to consider using wood that's not as hard so that it's easier to cut.
Step 2: Trace Your Template
When I first started making wood bangles I made them with a round hole, but they were always twisting and turning and moving around on my wrist which was really annoying.
I discovered the idea of using an oval hole by accident when I was making one of my bangles and it works great! The bangle fits much more "snuggly" on my wrist and is a lot more comfortable to wear.
I'm including a template for the bangle if you'd like to use it! It should print to scale as long as you make sure your printer is set to "actual size." You may want to cut out and try on the paper template just to make sure the opening is the right size for you. You can always make adjustments later though with the band saw or sanding barrels if it's too small.
Step 3: Cut It Out!
I used a band saw and cut along my pencil lines. Cut out the 'outside' part before you start cutting out the center, it will be much easier without all that excess wood in the way.
If you don't have a band saw you can try using a scroll saw or a coping saw.
Step 4: Cutting the Center
Cutting out the center can be a little tricky. The curves are a bit too sharp to cut with the saw blade in one fluid cut so instead you can break it up into a few cuts to make it easier.
Here's what I do:
1. Make a curved cut into the center of the bangle, then stop the saw and carefully back the blade out of the wood.
2. Make another cut so that you can remove the piece of wood. (Refer to the first pic) Stop the saw again and remove the wood.
*Repeat theses steps one or two more times until you have removed most of the bulk from the inside of the bracelet. *
3. Once the excess wood is removed you can get a better angle with the saw blade and its much easier to cut!
Step 5: Smoothing the Center
To smooth out the center I use a sanding bit attached to a drill press. I use about a 150 grit and move the bracelet up and down the sander until I get the right shape. Remember to flip the bracelet over and sand the other side to help keep things even.
You can also attach a sanding drum to you dremmel or foredom and smooth out the inside that way too.
Step 6: Defining the Shape
I used the band saw again to cut off chunks from the 'face' of the bracelet to give it that geometric feel.
A few tips..
*Remember that the blade on a band saw wants to push the wood down (with a lot of force!) so be sure to support your piece with another piece of wood if it's not flat against the table.
*Don't cut off huge chunks right away! Start by cutting off thin pieces and slowly shaving off more and more every time. This will prevent the saw from grabbing the wood from you.
*Always keep another piece of wood between your fingers and the saw blade(see the first pic). If the blade slips or cuts through the wood faster than you expect it will hit the wood instead of your fingers!
Step 7: Sanding, Sanding, Sanding..
A table sander is great for this type of project! It makes smoothing things out and getting the right shape and angle so much easier than if your holding onto a heavy, electric sander. Of course, if you don't have a table sander (I really recommend getting one!) you can use an electric hand sander instead.
I use a "rolling" motion to really smooth out the sides of the bracelet and it works well.
Step 8: Fine Sanding
Once I'm done with the table sander I switch to finer grits like 220 and 320. Using a sanding block or a chunk of wood with sandpaper wrapped around it works really well to help keep the angles sharp.
Step 9: Personalizing Your Bracelet
I used a wood burner to give a little extra flair to my bracelet. You can also paint a design if you'd like!
Step 10: Oiling Your Bracelet
I used a homemade mixture of beeswax and mineral oil to give the bangle a nice, natural finish. I usually leave the excess oil on it for a few minutes and let it soak in, and then wipe it off with a clean rag or paper towel.
You're finished! Enjoy your one of kind bangle!