Step 1: Materials and Tools
Purpleheart wood board (I did 2-up on a piece that was 5" x 3.5" x 1/4")
Clear Polyurethane spray
Sand paper or sanding sponges
Woodcarving tools (knives, rotary tools, router, CNC, etc. - Whatever is available to you)
Step 2: Design
I created the design in Adobe Illustrator and then imported the vectors into vCarve Pro, where I set up the tool paths to be carved with a CNC machine.
Alternatively, the design could be printed out and transferred using carbon paper, or other transfer methods, and carved out by hand with carving blades, rotary tools, etc.
Here is my vector design if you would like to try it out. Please only use it for non-commercial purposes, thanks!
Step 3: Cutting the Wood
A fun tip: If you feel that your purpleheart isn't purple enough, leave it exposed to the sun for a few days and the purple will deepen.
Also, another fun fact: Exposure to dust generated by cutting and sanding purpleheart has been reported to cause irritation and nausea, so it might not be a bad idea to wear a mask or respirator while working with it.
Step 4: Polymer Clay Inlays
I bought 3 different colors of polymer clay at a local craft store. There are several different brands to choose from and I think they are probably all comparable. The colors I picked out were gold, silver and pearl (Sculpey brand). For this project I ended up using the pearl color, because I thought it would be the best contrasting color with the dark purpleheart wood.
Press the clay into the design, making sure to fill all voids. Apply a generous amount, but try not to lay the clay on too thick because after the clay is cured it will be rock-solid and will take a lot of work to sand all the way down to the wood.
Put the clay-covered wood into the oven at the temperature and time indicated on the clay packaging. For Sculpey I believe it was 30 min. at 275 Degrees. When done, allow to cool and harden completely. I stuck mine in refrigerator for around 15 minutes and it was very solid when I took it out.
Step 5: Sanding and Sealing
Next, I applied several coats of clear polyurethane spray and allowed time to dry.
Step 6: Bail Mounting
Step 7: Final Thoughts
Thank you for reading, I hope you enjoyed this Instructable!