Picture of Wooden faced wristwatch
I have a thing for watches, and nicely figured wood, sadly I've only been able to find a couple of wood based watches. It sounded like a lovely weekend project to fab up a new face for a regular watch, so I went for it.

Flickr set of the whole process

You'll need:
a) Some wood stock with a figure that you like. I went with Cocobolo from InternetLumber, their samples are dirt cheap and the perfect size for this project.

b) A donor watch to mercilessly shred to pieces. A bigger face certainly helps to show off your work later, so keep this in mind when shopping. I would also tip any watch you are considering to use at an angle and make sure there is a little room between the hands an the face (the less space now, the more sanding later to make everything fit back together). I settled on a Zane from Fossil.

c) A few common and specialized tools. Outlined within, don't worry, you can fake most of the uncommon tools.

Step 1: A bit of prep work

First a little shopping list:

Things you'll need to buy/dig out of your junk drawer
  • Base watch (see intro for my source)
  • Wood stock - 2"x2" (see intro for my source)
  • Sandpaper (100, 200, 400, 800 grits)
  • Masking tape
  • Spray high gloss lacquer
  • Fine toothed saw
  • Double sided tape
  • Cardstock for face template
  • Clean work surface with a bright light so you can track down tiny piece when then spring from your hands and clatter to your bench

Specialty tools you can fake
  • .75mm center punch I chocked a hardened nail up in my drillpress - read: ghetto lathe - and filed it to size
  • Watch hand setting tool Taking the guts out of a mechanical pencil and sanding the lead guide off the tip will open a hole the perfect size
  • Movement pad A soda bottle cap with a hole drilled in it served well enough for me, but something with a little more grip would be ideal

Specialty tools you are better off buying
Disclaimer - There are easily sourced 'proper' tools for everything listed above, but in the spirit of DIY I picked the roll your own route. Just keep in mind that your cobbled together toolkit has a higher than average chance of causing a little damage to your work in progress. I narrowly missed putting deep gouges into the finish of my more than once of twice when a tool slipped

Rough Prep
I couldn't find a saw with fine teeth or most of the sandpaper I would need, so I ran out to Home Depot. The sandpaper was no problem, but they didn't have a saw at a price I was willing to pay, then I remembered that they had a station set up for people to cut their own molding. A few minutes and improvised jigs later I had my stock cut to rough size.
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JosephF111 month ago

I used this project to give me an idea what would be necessary to do my own- I ended up sanding down the original dial and glueing veneer to it. The second one is almost done too

rich_j_l1 year ago
That looks the dogs boll**s as we say here in the uk!!
3366carlos2 years ago
you must have lots of patience
Great project! made me think of this..http://we-wood.us/
paqrat2 years ago
Beautiful job but I think leaving the second hand off gives it an unfinished look.
paqrat2 years ago
Did this watchband not have a catch with a spring bar? Surely it would have been easier to take the spring bar out?
dougturnsy4 years ago
veneer = a 1/4 of the time used.
First thing the went through my mind!
That was what I was thinking!
muiftikhar4 years ago
thats great
Schokokeks5 years ago
I took an olive wooden teaspoon to make the veneer. Doing this project was fun! Thank you for this instructable!

This is very nice. A different look , but very elegant. What wood did you use?
Thank you. I used the wood of an olive tree.
PreCast4 years ago
Oh men beutiful watch.....
ludesigned4 years ago
beautiful, great job
I wonder... Could one combine this instructable with http://www.instructables.com/id/Make-An-Infinity-Mirror/ and make an infinity mirror watch? Obviously, I would need to buy a bigger watch.
Yeah you could but the hard part would be being able to get the light casing small enough. You would also have to cover the back of the clock mechanism or else it would show in the mirror.
i used to "work" at this furniture art program thing (it was a city sponsored program, long story) and we had wet sand paper that went up to 20000 grit, no joke. The finest of it feels like soft leather. Using it i was able to get a mirror shine(no exaggeration) on a piece i was working on. This stuff would be perfectly suited to this, as the wood is safe from abrasion behind the glass. Also, i don't think the kit is very expensive, and can also be used to polish out scratches on ipod screens or whatever. I heard the original use of it was for aircraft windshields.
wangdong7984 years ago
That's cool.I'll have a try.
sukinmaru4 years ago
My brother has that exact same watch!
pchalita4 years ago
Great Instructable!!! can´t wait to do it myself... +1000
skelly74474 years ago
how much, no seriously. like not as a joke
hivoltage5 years ago
 Finally got around to doing this project!  I used Padauk for the face.
That's gorgeous! You guys have convinced me that it's time to do a woodgrain!
wobbler4 years ago
Maybe you could apply the double sided tape first to the back of the wood to hold it together more as you sanded? The light wood has an interesting grain. Nice job!
imjasonc4 years ago
looks classy
 instead of sending it down all the way like that, why don't you just buy veneer instead? veneer is cuts of wood 1/64" thick or less, made for this purpose
KnexFreek5 years ago
CrLz5 years ago
Beautiful wrist watch.
i tried to go to the internetlumber website, but only got a listing of lumber providers, can you give exact web address, i want to get wood samples.
InternetLumber.com has/had many complaints as scammers against them and have since gone out of business. You will need to source a different lumber supplier.
nitrox0276 years ago
if you have a would burner you should burn 12, 3, 6, and 9 nicly into the wood
MikeDoucet6 years ago
I am a wood worker myself and this is nice, great watch great job on the wood. Im gonna do something like this as well... EPIC
liljrab6 years ago
Anyway that you could sell me one of these babies?
bpantell6 years ago
This is freakin awesome. I'm so going to try this!
atrus7136 years ago
woulnt it be way easier to just buy the veneer?
I was thinking the same thing. . . could probably get a free sample of some nice veneers somewhere online.
veneer is easier, but real good cocobolo blows veneer away, it has this depth to it, (can also check out rosewood, same family)
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