Introduction: Pocket Watch

Picture of Pocket Watch

Maple and Bocote Pocket Watch. The watch is 2 1/4" by 3/4" This is a pretty easy project that can be done in about an hour. I used a chuck, but it can be done with a faceplate. Start with a piece of wood at least 1" by 2 1/2".

Parts Needed

Clock insert

A small piece of wire measuring 3/8" by 1 1/2"

Tools Needed


Easy Wood Rougher

Parting tool

Easy Wood Finisher

Spindle gouge


Depth Gauge


Wax Finish

1/4" Forstner bit

V groove carving chisel

Wood Glue

Needle nose pliers

Step 1: Hot Glue

Picture of Hot Glue

I put a waste block of wood, 3"x 3/4", in the chuck, and then using a generous amount of hot glue, about the size of a silver dollar, hot glue the piece of Maple, measuring 4" by 3 1/2", to the waste block. You then slide the tailstock up to the block and apply pressure for three minutes until the glue sets up. I had a few defects in the wood that I needed to remove but if you have a clean piece it doesn't need to be as big. You can use wood glue for this step if you'd prefer but it will take longer to dry.

Step 2: Rough Turning

Picture of Rough Turning

After the glue drys turn the piece of maple down to about 2 1/2". This will leave enough room for sanding.

Step 3: Fitting the Watch

Picture of Fitting the Watch

I used a parting tool to cut the recess for the back of the Watch. The center hole needs to be 1/4" deep and 1 1/4" in diameter. The outer recess is 1/8" deep and 1 7/8" in diameter. Make sure the Watch face you insert fits snuggly so the Watch doesn't fall out. I used a set of calipers to measure this accurately.

Step 4: Shaping the Outside

Picture of Shaping the Outside

To give the rounded shape to the back of the case I measured 3/4" with a depth gage and started shaping the back using an Easy Wood Finisher to shape the sides, and back. After shaping begin sanding using a 150 grit sandpaper and work up to 600 grit sandpaper until smooth. I parted it off with a 1/8" parting tool.

Step 5: Remount

Picture of Remount

I remounted the piece in the Chuck using the 1 1/4" recess to complete the finishing work on the back side. You can do this with a Jam Chuck or by expanding the jaws of the Chuck. Finish shaping the back, and sand up to 600 grit sandpaper and then apply a finish. I finished this project with a wax finish that's very easy to apply. Howard beeswax and orange oil Drill a 1/4" hole in the side of the case using a 1/4" forstner bit. Drill 1/4" deep hole for the knob.

Step 6: Making the Knob

Picture of Making the Knob

I made the knob/winding crown out of a piece of Bocote 2 1/2" by 3/4". Mount the Bocote in the Chuck, and bring it down to 1/2" with a spindle gouge. Shape the top of the knob/winding crown with the spindle gouge so it resembles a winding knob. Be sure to turn down the bottom of the knob to 1/4" so it fits in the 1/4" hole you drilled with the forstner bit. I used a small V groove carving chisel to add some detail to the sides of the knob. Sand through all the grits up to 600 grit sandpaper and cut off with a saw.

Step 7: Put It All Together

Picture of Put It All Together

Drill a 1/8" hole in the stem or base of the knob/winding crown to place the "bow" or handle/top loop. The Loop or bow was made out of the 1/8" wire. I bent the wire with a pair of needlenose pliers and closed the open ends of the wire inside the stem hiding the open ends. Then glue the stem to the body. I used a clamp to apply a little pressure while the glue dried.

Step 8: Finish Up

Picture of Finish Up

The watch has a rubber gasket that holds it in place. Just apply a little pressure to install.

I hope you will enjoy this project!


bubba99919 made it! (author)2017-07-29

i am having a hard time finding the wire. in your video you said craft store but i have gone to michaels and hobby lobby also lowes and home depot with no luck. i have found some copper rod 3/32 that i will try but i think it is to big.

bubba99919 (author)2017-07-29

love your stuff on youtube wish sometimes you would go into more detail.

Anyway you can get that clock insert on ebay for half the price and others clock faces at this web site for alot less

keep up the good work with all your great projects

Phil B (author)2016-08-24

Your Instructable made me think about the inexpensive pocket watch I carried in the years after high school. The weather has also been hot this summer and my perspiration does unpleasant things to my leather watchband. I found this movement at Klockit (dot) com and made it for a friend after making a smaller version from a kit for myself. I turned the wooden case from some black walnut. I tried mounting the blank with hot glue, but something moved during turning and the inlet for the movement was not on center with the outer circumference of the case when I finished. The one in the attached photo was glued to a block on my lathe's faceplate with carpenter's glue and sawn away from the block on the faceplate. That meant a little extra handwork with sandpaper on the back of the watch case, but it worked out better than I expected. Thank you for the inspiration, but I think I will stay away from hot glue for lathe work.

Natalina (author)2016-07-29


Carl Jacobson (author)Natalina2016-07-30

Thank you!

Phil B (author)2016-07-22

Will you carry this in your pocket, or display it in your home? (I like it very much.)

WoodCrafts 67 (author)2016-07-19

Very Nice work Carl. It looks Amazing..

Thank you man!

MarkD1 (author)2016-07-17

Where do you get the watch face/body thing?

Carl Jacobson (author)MarkD12016-07-17

Here's the link,

PlaidPete (author)2016-07-17

Flipping sick man!

Carl Jacobson (author)PlaidPete2016-07-17

Thank you!

About This Instructable




Bio: I started woodworking with my grandfather as a young boy. I continued woodworking through high school, and started woodturning after seeing a turned project in ... More »
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