Introduction: Wooden Cufflinks
These are relatively easy to make, and pretty inexpensive, too (for one set, that is; but you'll have enough left over materials for several more pairs). You just have to be careful with the small fiddly bits and the superglue. My cost for the materials, for just the 1 pair, came out to around $5; time-wise, including drying time, you're looking at about 3 hours or less.
Step 1: Materials
Face wood (I used paduak): 1/4" thick, minimum 1x2"
Post wood (I used birch): 3/8" dowel, minimum 5" long
Elastic cord (you want this as thin as you can find it without it being elastic thread)
Desired finish (I went with tung oil, then butchers block wax)
Step 2: Choppin' Wood
- Cut the face pieces to approx. 5/8x1"
- Bevel the edges
- Using a 3/8" forstner bit (or a regular bit, but be extra careful) to drill an inset for the post on the back of each face; be very careful not to drill through all the way
- Use high-grit sandpaper to sand all surfaces smooth
- Cut your posts to length (2 at 5/8", 2 at 3/4")
- Carefully drill a 1/16" hole down the center of each 5/8" post vertically; it won't matter if it's not dead-center on both ends, but you definitely don't want it coming out the side
- Use a small file to carve a "seat" into the top of the vertical post (the top being whichever end has the most centered hole); see picture 5
- Carefully drill a 1/16" hole through each 3/4" post horizontally; this one does need to be as close to dead center as you can make it
- Round the ends of the 3/4" posts; you'll probably end up with a smidge less than 3/4" length when you're done
- Use high-grit sandpaper to sand the exteriors smooth
- Run a piece of the elastic through both posts to make sure there's no snagging
Step 3: Finishing
I finished these with a 2-steps process. 1st I liberally applied tung oil. Once that dried (about an hour, to be safe--putting these on clothing, after all, don't want oil stains), I then applied butchers block wax (a mix of mineral oils and wax). Obviously you can finish yours however you want, just make sure that the posts aren't gummy when you're done.
Step 4: Some Assembly Required
- Put a bead of superglue in the top post hole
- Put a bead of superglue in the post receptor divot on each face
- Run a piece of elastic through the post (make sure to have enough extra hanging out for tying) and insert the post into the divot
- Wait for that to dry
- Run the loose end of the elastic through the swivel post
- Tie it; I did mine with a wrap-around, but a simple top-knot would probably be better, as the horizontal post will sit on the vertical post a bit better that way
- Apply a tiny bit of superglue to the knot to keep it from coming undone
- Let the glue dry
- Cut off the excess elastic
- There is no step 10