Step 1: Day 1: Choosing the Wood, Drilling, Cutting, Gluing
Once I know what design I want, I choose the wood. I have a variety of wood in my collection, in all shapes and sizes. While some of the lumber I use is already cut to a specific suitable thickness, other wood comes in logs or blocks that have to be sliced (or ripped) with a bandsaw to achieve a workable thickness. For this particular piece, I chose to use Yellowheart.
This piece of wood was larger than I needed it to be, so I cut it into a workable piece slightly bigger than the final piece. The remaining wood was reserved for another project.
The thin blades of the scroll saw reciprocate up and down. I guided the wood onto a very thin blade and maneuvered it around to cut out the design. The blade I use is very thin (0.008 inches thick) and can break easily if the wood is pushed too hard or too fast against it. For each of the holes, the blade has to be dismounted, looped through the hole and remounted onto the scroll saw. The cutting here takes time, as the walls between the cut segments are thin and can break if one is not careful.
Once the holes are cut out, the turtle shell starts to take place. Next, it’s time to glue on a backing and let it dry overnight.
Step 2: Day 2: Cutting and Inlay
Once the backing is dry, I return to the scroll saw once more to cut the outside shape of the turtle.
Next, I choose the inlay. Anything can be used as inlay, but I like to work with crushed stone, metal, glow-in-the-dark material, and crushed shell. For this pendant, I used crushed shell of different colours. I temporary blocked all the holes, leaving one exposed, and then carefully filled it with the inlay material. This process was repeated for the remaining holes, working one at a time. I then filled everything with a low-viscosity epoxy. Once the inlay is in, it’s time to let the inlay cure overnight.
Step 3: Day 3: Sanding and Shaping
Once the inlay is solid, it’s time for the next stage: sanding, sanding, sanding and more sanding. For this, I used a variety of files, sanding pads and power sanding tools. Starting with 80 or 150 grit (depending on the density of the wood) and working up to up to 1500 grit makes the pendant smoother and smoother as it takes the final shape.
In the middle of sanding at about 400 to 600 grit, I drilled the hole for the eye in which I placed the finding to which to attach the necklace chain or cord.
Once the hole had been cut, I continued hand-sanding and shaping until the pendant was ready for the next step. Once satisfied with the sanding, I applied the first layer of natural oil onto the pendant. The oil slowly penetrates the wood and adds luster. I wiped off the excess after about an hour and left the rest to sit overnight.
Step 4: Day 4,5,6: Oil
Each day, I applied a coat of natural oils onto the surface and wiped the excess after letting it rest for at least an hour. This process is necessary to allow the oil to build up for a long and lasting shine. I need to wait about a day between layers, so this process adds time to the work. I do not coat my pendants with lacquers or any hard curing top-surface treatment because such treatments can wear off after the piece has been worn and handled. I like to keep the wood natural. I have noticed that the more I rub or handle the pendants coated with multiple layers of oil, the shinier they become over time.
Step 5: Day 7: Buffing, Adding Hardware and Final Photoshoot
After about four (oh yes!) layers of natural oil, the pendant was buffed using a high-speed linen buffing wheel.
I added the hardware and took a few photos of the finished piece before adding it to our website
So there you have it. This is how a piece of wood is turned into a beautiful pendant in one week. I hope I have answered any questions you might have about how each piece is created.
If you have additional questions or comments, we’d love to hear from you! Please leave a comment below.
Thank you for reading,
Mr. Wanderlust (Pawel)