Hello fellow bearded lumberjacks!
Last christmas when I wanted to get my bearded family some tools to tame and train their facial hair I discovered there were no suitable boxes to put all the (extremely manly of course) balms, waxes, combs, scissors and oils. So I made some myself.
Step 1: Materials
- Wood burner - mine was cheapest one on the market. If you just start your adventure with wood burning I recommend not getting the most expensive at the beginning.
- Wooden box - you can, if you're skilled wood worker, make one yourself. I took an easy way, bought my box online. They come in all shapes and sizes. I recommend picking one made of soft wood. Mine was pinewood. Pick from: pine, basswood, birch, ash, maple
- Leather straps, about 1,5m- either recycle your old belt, or try to find a leatherworker nearby, they usually have straps of leather they are willing to part with. Leather should be about 2,5mm to 3mm thick.
- Leather hole puncher
- 10 brass screws with fitting nuts and - this part depends on your own design, upholstery tacks (12 pieces) would make a good alternative. I've chosen brass, because it added nice warm touch to the design.
- Two button studs - matching your screws. I used ones that are screwed-in, not punched.
- Drill - optional
- Wrench, and screwdriver
- Wood impregnation coat, or oil for preserving wood.
Step 2: Design the Image
- The most important thing about this project is good design for image you will burn into wood !!
Take your time, go through the web for inspiration. I was millimetres far from burning Duck commander quote: "Shaving your beard is like having your first period, it's the day you've officially become a woman".
I have a creeping feeling my dear males will shave one day and I didn't want my precious gift to stare at them and slap their penis every time they have a glance at it :D So I drew a monocle gentleman for my brother, and rugged lumberjack for my boyfriend. Added some fancy lettering.
- If you feel tired, leave it for a day, or two, and come back later. You don't want to end up with something that is not good enough just because you wanted to get it over with, believe me.
- This alone took me about one day, i didn't want to hurry. You shouldn't hurry. Hurrying is your enemy. Don't hurry. Hurry, you must not.
- If you don't feel confident about designing your own stuff, find something you like on the internet, print it, and copy it on to the wood. In the next step, I'll explain you how.
Step 3: Trace the Image Onto the Wood
I felt pretty confident about drawing, so i just redrew my design onto the wood using pencil. You however can choose easier way, that won't require erasing the pencil time after time if you mess up.
Soft Pencil Tracing is easiest and most forgiving way of transferring your image.
- Flip the paper with your design to the back.
- With a soft lead pencil, number two or higher, cover the entire area with a layer of pencil lead.
- Reverse the pattern over so that you can see the design and position it into place on the wood.
- Secure it in place.
- With a pen trace over all of the design lines.
You can easily correct or adjust the design once it has been transferred to the wood by erasing the lines and redrawing them. You can erase the pencil trace many times, but not infinite amount of times.
Step 4: Burning Is Dangerous Business
First of all, remember
WOOD BURNER IS A FLAMING TOOL OF DEATH
Its dangerous thing that can burn your fingers, your clothing and your entire life it you let it.
Be extremely cautious.
It gets really hot, and i have many burns on my hands to prove it. You can try to protect yourself, by wearing protection gloves. I chose not to, and i don't think anyone could mistake my hands for aristocracy hands right now for which I'm utterly sorry about, for they look like i was putting them inside a ironworks furnace time after time.
Just look out, this thing hurts, and takes a long time to heal.
Step 5: Burn Your Image Onto Wood
Once you traced your image:
- Plug in your wood burner
- Spend some time on a piece of wood that is not your box, to train, and see:
- How this wood burning tool works.
- How long can you keep it in one place before it leaves satisfactory mark,
- How fast can you move it without leaving any mark at all.
- Which of the tips in your set suits you most, and what each of them actually can do.
- Learn about how burning works on the softer parts of your wood, and how i works on the grain.
- Find a comfortable position and a comfortable grip on your burner.
Burning takes some time, and you need to be comfortable.
AND ALWAYS REMEMBER, YOUR FACE IS ABOUT 30 CM FROM A VERY VERY HOT OBJECT.
I discovered as the wood burner gets warmer, the plastic gets slippery - hence the filthy tape.
The tip i used was the small rounded cone tip.
Step 6: Give the Wood Some Waterproofing
Since the destination of this box is mainly bathroom, its good to make sure it won't go all wonky due to humidity after a year or so.
IF THERE STILL IS SOMETHING YOU WANT TO ALTERNATE IN YOUR BURNED IMAGE, DO IT BEFORE THE WATERPROOFING. You can't predict how your impregnation coat will react to heat, it might start burning, and ruin all your effort.
I used colourless wood impregnation coat. I put two coats to be on the safe side, but one should be also just fine.
- Note how you soak the wood in chemicals after you burned it, not the other way, which apart from possibly ruining everything also prevents you from inhaling any toxic fumes.
On the other box i used chestnut coloured oil for wood, which wasn't a good choice, the burned image became less visible, all in all, oil turned out to be darker than expected
- Be careful while picking the oil colour, it tends to turn out darker - pick light colours.
Let the wood rest for a day, so all the impregnation and old gets absorbed.
Step 7: Leather Straps
Leather straps i got my hands on were uneven and too dry. I sanded the leather side, and the sides first with P40 and then evened it up P60 sand paper.
- If your leather is not elastic enough to stick to edge of your box, you should get some oil and rub it in it. You can use a lot.
- after that let it absorb the oil for a day or so.
- next day take some paper towels and clean the remaining oil.
- measure the box, and cut two pieces of leather that will overlap in front of the box. It have to overlap for you to insert the button studs, its always better to cut some longer straps. If you cut them too short they're useless.
You can use some oil you used for preserving the wood to add a tint to your leather straps, but take extra effort to clean the leftovers with the paper towel, if you won't do it good enough it will stain. I used the same oil for straps i used on the gentleman wooden box.
Step 8: Attaching the Straps to the Box - TACKS
Since you want the leather to have a close fit to the wood, you'll have to stretch it a bit as you attach it.
- Look at your box, and decide where you want the tacks or screws to be.
- Mark it on both box and leather straps.
- Make sure the straps are parallel while you make marks.
- In the front where the strap overlaps, beneath the opening, punch a hole through which you'll put your button stud. Pick one of the smallest punches, you want your stud to stay in place. This part of leather will be touching the box, and the other piece of the leather will be overlapping it from the above.
If you chose upholstery tacks, it's bit easier
- Now using your tacks and hammer, wham the first tack close to where you want your button stud to be. this will keep whole strap in place and allow you to stretch it as you tack it around the box.
- Flip the box upside down, and add tacks. i suggest having two on the bottom part of each strap, two on the back, two on top and two in front. Tacks offer less secure grip than screws, so its better to have some extra.
- Pull the strap as you go, you're aiming for a close fit. If you're aiming for fit that is super sexy-close, you can cut 1mm deep wedges in leather straps, where the leather touches the edge of the box. Be careful not to cut too deep.
- Once you reach the front side, overlap the stud with the upper side of the strap and cut about 5mm, to 1 cm underneath the lowest part to the stud. you're cutting the extra amount of strap that i suggested you to have.
Step 9: Attaching the Straps to the Box - SCREWS
- mark where the screws look good for you, I decided to have four on top, four at the bottom, and two in front.
- drill holes that have same diameter as your screws bodiespunch corresponding holes in leather straps.
- You should make the distance between the holes on the straps minimally smaller, so the leather will be stretched as you attach it to the wood.
- your burner most likely have replaceable brass tip, my screws fitted the burner, so i screwed them in, and burned about 1mm recess over the holes punched in the straps, on the face side of the leather, so when i put the screws in place they won't pop up too much. if you can't do this trick, use one of the provided replaceable tips
- screw the screws in their place.
- have a good glance at how your box looks now, once you attached the leather straps, and how it opens. I decided the leather is not fitting close enough and added some brass upholstery tacks in front and near the hinge.
Estimate where the stud will penetrate the upper strap, and punch a hole in it, the diameter should be something in between diameter of studs "neck", the narrower part underneath the bulgy top part, and the bulgy part.
Be very careful choosing size of the punch, if you close too big, it won't hold, and your box won't stay closed. Its good to pick something that seems just bit too small, and add a tiny incision in the leather above the hole. It will allow you to push the stud through the hole, but will prevent the stud slipping out of the hole.
Step 10: Et Voila!
Your gloriuos box is ready. Put some very manly balsams and combs inside, and go chop down some trees, or maybe wrestle a bear.