Introduction: Broken Piggy Bank DIY

About: BIO: My day job is an engineer and training supervisor. I love to make stuff and write tutorials to show others how to make something. Please visit my blog to see more tutorials, article…

This was a fun project to make, and I received the inspiration from watching the Andy Griffith Show. It was an episode where Opie had to break open his ceramic piggy bank to pay someone back. So, in my mind I thought: purple heart wood, rare earth magnets, and let's cut a break in it.

This is a good weekend project and doesn't require many tools. A bandsaw, along with a small belt sander and oscillating sander came in real handy. You can get the rare earth magnets at Home Depot, along with clear Danish Oil, or a finish of your choice. If you like the purple heart, you'll probably need to go to a woodworking store to get that. But you can get a selection of red oak or pine or poplar from Home Depot.

Check out my overview video to see how the piggy bank works.

This will make a nice gift for the kids or grandkids. And how about that new college grad who needs a reminder to save his/her money.


Wood, sandpaper, neodymium magnets, Danish Oil

Step 1: Wood Selection

Select a wood of choice. I used purple heart and red oak, but you can even use pine or poplar. And you can paint your finished piggy bank any color.

You can use the template I'm providing here to cut out the piggy bank. The dimensions are roughly 8" by 7" and it's 2.25 thick.

Step 2: Cut the Boards

Cut out your boards so that the template will fit properly over the boards. The boards should be approximately 8" by 7".

Step 3: Cut Out the Piggy Bank

First join the 3 boards together with double-sided tape. I put the 2 purple heart boards on the outside and the red oak on the inside.

Next, apply the template. I really like to use adhesive spray to apply the template on the wood.

Take the boards to the bandsaw and cut out the piggy bank. Go slow, and stay to the outside line on the template. Understand the capability of your bandsaw. Wear your safety glasses.

Then use a chisel to carefully pry the boards apart. Be careful not to gouge the wood.

Step 4: Prepare the Coin Compartment

The red oak board will contain the coin compartment.

I used the drill press to drill a series of holes around the perimeter of the coin compartment. I then took my jigsaw and cut out the coin compartment.

Next, I used the oscillating sander to make the inside edge of the coin compartment smooth.

It doesn't matter how big this hole is. I free handed my hole onto the wood with a pencil.

Step 5: Glue the 3 Boards Together

With the coin compartment cutout, you can now glue the 3 boards back together.

I used several quick clamps to hold the boards together. I allowed the boards to dry overnight.

Step 6: Sand the Piggy Bank Edges

I used the oscillating sander and belt sander to sand the outside edges so everything was smooth and flush. This will take some time, so be patient.

Start with coarser grits like 80 grit to speed up the process. Then sand up to say, 220 grit.

Wear your dust mask and be careful working the boards on the sander.

Step 7: Cut Out the Jagged Line

I first drill 1/2 inch holes where the lines change directions. These holes will serve two purposes. First, I can more easily manipulate and redirect my bandsaw blade. Second, it allows me to later glue in the contrasting red oak dowels.

With the holes drilled, I can then used the bandsaw to cut out the jagged line.

Step 8: Cut Out Dowels and Glue Them In

Measure the dowels and glue them in place. These dowels were cut approximately 3/4 inch long, the thickness of my purple heart boards. You may have to do some minor sanding to make sure the dowels fit properly. Allow the glue to dry. You'll need 8 pieces of dowel. We'll sand these flush later.

Step 9: Glue in the Rare Earth Magnets

You'll need 12 neodymium magnets. I got mine from Home Depot.

Use a 1/2 inch Forstner bit and drill down just deep enough so that the magnet will be flush with the wood.

Do one side of the piggy bank at a time. I used CA glue and allowed one side to dry. Then make sure the magnets on the opposite side are glued in place as opposite polarity. For the 2 halves to fit properly, it's very important to make sure you have opposite polarity on the magnets.

Step 10: Cut Out the Coin Slot

Use a drill or handsaw to cut out the coin slot. Make sure it's big enough to accept you largest coin. Do some sanding to tidy up the hole and make it look good.

Step 11: Finish the Piggy Bank

Sand the piggy bank with 120 grit up to 220. I used clear Danish Oil to finish it. Applied 2 coats, 30 minutes dry time between coats.

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