Introduction: Smartphone Wood Veneer Case
I'm here again with another wood phone case project, this time for a Oneplus One (Yep, for the android fans out here, it's this phone that you can't buy because you're not hipster enough. Deal with it.) I just got in the mail a couple days ago as a replacement for my much too old Samsung who rebooted when I called my girlfriend, which was annoying. Anyway, I bought it with a flip leather case and didn't really liked the looks of it so I decided to change it to a material I like much more : wood! The company that made this phone supposedly sells wood cases but they were not available at the time and have since been cancelled.
This was my first ever work with veneer and I'm very happy with how it turned out minus a couple little accidents.
The whole project took me around two hours of work and I am not a seasoned woodworker.
Alright, let's get to it!
Step 1: Tools and Materials
For this project to succeed, in addition to basic braining skills such as thinking, we will need :
Wood veneer of your favorite kind (size depending on the size of your phone, you need a slightly larger piece) I used "Tinéo" (don't know the english name) because it had a very nice color split
A case with a back you can peel off such as this one for my phone.
Exacto knife, or any sharp knife with a relatively small tip
Precise metal ruler (as always, so useful for every tiny thing you have to do!)
Sandpaper (120, 220, 400)
Dremel tool (optional)
Things that I never knew whether to put under tools or materials :
I bought a sample of 50 different wood species veneers for 30 bucks off French ebay and will have enough veneer for my next 50 projects I think.
The veneer pictured here is the one I used for practicing because I didn't like its looks, I ended up using a much prettier one once I know how to cut everything.
Total cost of the project is around the price of the case (15 bucks), plus the price of your phone if you don't remove it from the case when superglueing :)
Let's proceed to the making!
Step 2: Skin Your Prey
This is undoubtedly the boring step of the process :
I started by peeling off the leather and that was easy but I wanted to use all the depth I could find to put my veneer in place. Peeling was easy.So I started trying to remove the glue. If, unlike me, you are not OCD, do not remove the glue. Seriously don't, it's 45 minutes of your life that are not coming back anytime soon.
Once it's clean and homogeneous, we can move on!
Step 3: Shaping
Time to start shaping your wood to the contours of the place you are going to put it in : I simply outlined the shape on a piece of paper and then taped it to the veneer and then taped everything to a thicker piece of wood so as to cut out the shapes without breaking the veneer.
You should leave one or two extra millimeters on each side so as to be able to cope with a minor deviation from your original design.
Then I sanded the corners and the edges to make them respectively rounder and thinner : I found out that, for sanding veneer, it is a good idea to put it on a block of wood and only let a couple millimeters stick out so as not to apply too much leverage on the wood and not break it.
Step 4: Let's Take a Break
We should contemplate the Dude abiding for a minute
Rest your weary hands. Suck on that blood from when you planted this sharp exacto knife in your sadly-not-made-out-of-kevlar finger.
Listen to this, you've earned it.
Breathe. Shall we go back to work?
Step 5: Super-glueing and Sanding
And this is the fun slash technical part :
I applied superglue in a thin even layer on the back of the case and put the veneer on, make sure that you are flush with all the lines but be careful : the glues sets reaaaaally fast. Next time (that is, if I were you) I would use a less fast-setting glue because I messed up a very tiny bit but it annoyed me and I wish I would have had more time to adjust.
Once the glue has set, it's the part I like most about any project : sanding and finshing (Well after designing. And drawing I guess. I still enjoy it! :) )
I started with a very quick 120 to remove extra glue on the sides and wood chunks, then 220 and then 400, then moisturized the wood with a damp cloth to make the VTIBNAS (Very Tiny Invisible But Nonetheless Annoying Splinters) poke out and used some more 400 until you reach babybutt smooth.
Step 6: Finishing!
I finished it with linseed oil : I applied a generous first coat, let it sit for 10 minutes, wiped the excess with a clean cotton cloth, then let it dry for an hour in a hot spot next to a radiator. Second coat was very light and dried in 15 minutes. I then smoothed it by rubbing it with a clean cotton cloth until I couldn't feel the paintbrush strokes under my fingers anymore.
Is it smooth ? If yes, and if you are making this too, then, like me, you are done-zo!
Congrats and share it if you made it!
If you liked this Instructable, you can check out my other ones and also vote for me in the Wood context. All I would need to be the happiest man on Earth would be for Mr. Offerman to read this project until the end and let me know that he did with a comment. Probably not going to happen though! :)
Thanks for reading and see you soon!