Introduction: Make a Phone, Watch, and Glasses Stand With Integrated Charging
If you're anything like me, your nightstand gets pretty cluttered with stuff. I have a smart phone, a smart watch, and glasses, plus whatever my kids leave laying around to take up space on my nightstand. My kids leaving stuff on my nightstand seems like something I'll be struggling with until they move out, but organizing my phone, watch, and glasses is a problem I can solve with some fun in the shop.
I came up with a design to suit my needs and I am going to share it with you. The cool thing about this thing is that you can modify it to fit your needs, your skillset, or your decor. I'll show you what my original design was, what I ended up actually making, and provide some options to customize it for yourself.
You'll see in the supply list below that a lot of things are optional. Use them if you have them, but no need to go out and buy them. Unless you are looking for a reason to buy them, in which case, please don't let your significant other hold me as the responsible party :)
- Wood of your choice. If you want to keep it simple, get your hands on a 1x2 (1 foot long ought to do) and a 1x4 (maybe 2 feet long, or so). You can buy these already dimensioned from the home center (though each will probably be 8 feet long to start with) or you can mill them yourself. I used walnut and started from one single piece that was 3/4x4 inches and surfaced on all four sides.
- Miter saw (hand or powered)
- Table saw (optional for ripping to size)
- Dado Stack (optional where legally allowed)
- Tenoning Jig (optional for cutting the tenons)
- Plunge Router with a straight cut bit (also optional, for the recessed glasses tray)
- Drill Press with 3/8 and 1 1/8 inch Forstner bits
- This could be substituted with a hand drill and a steady hand or a 3/8 inch hollow chisel mortiser
- Chisels (required if you use the drill press to cut mortises, like I did)
- Hand plane (optional, but also really handy)
- Sandpaper with the grits of your choosing (I used 120, 180, and 220)
- Random orbital sander (optional)
- Finish of your choosing (I used shellac)
- Wireless phone charging stand (optional - I got lucky and won mine in a raffle)
Step 1: Come Up With Your Design
My original design called for a phone stand made up of the same material as the rest of the unit, as seen in the screen shot. However, I was lucky enough to win a wireless charging phone stand in a work party raffle a couple of days before I started work on this. It fit perfectly, so I decided to change my design to integrate that instead.
However, my original design would still work great and allow for your phone's charging cable to slide in there nicely. Just make sure the bottom of the stand is tall enough to keep that cable from doing any sharp bends, which will cause wear and tear.
I also planned to embed my smart watch's charging unit in the watch stand portion. If you won't have a charging unit to worry about, you can save yourself this step. The watch arm part can also be made wide enough to fit multiple watches. Or you can drop this part of the design altogether. You do you.
For my glasses, I wanted a tray that I would add some sort of padding to. If you don't wear glasses, this can be a tray for whatever you carry with you every day.
You'll also want to consider what joinery you will be using to put this together. I used mortise and tenon joints, and so I will be showing how to do that. However, you can use dowel joinery or even simple butt joints with screws. Don't let this part scare you. But definitely plan ahead so that you can adjust your dimensions as needed.
Step 2: Determine Your Dimensions for the Base
Before you make any cuts, take some time to position your elements and figure out what spacing you want your stand to have. I used a scrap 1x2 for sizing the watch arm and laid out my phone charger (use your phone, if you don't have a charger you will be using) and glasses along with it. Spacing can be a matter of taste, but I used around 1/4 inch padding between each thing.
Once you are happy with your spacing, mark your piece up as needed. This includes where you will be placing your phone stand pieces, your watch stand arm, and glasses/stuff tray. Rough marks will work to start with, but you'll want to come back with a straight edge to give yourself some good markings to work with.
My overall dimensions are as follows:
- Wireless phone stand is 4 1/8 inches wide
- I allowed 1/4 inch on either side of the watch arm
- My glasses tray is 6 1/4 inches long and has a 1/4 inch border on all sides
- This leaves a total length of 12 inches for my base, after a little rounding
Step 3: Route Out Your Tray
If you are going to route out a recessed tray for glasses or other things, It's a good idea to do it before you cut your base to length. In my case, I had a 4 foot board that I could clamp to my work table. However long yours is, use the extra length it has to clamp it down while (hopefully) keeping the clamps out of your way.
Since you drew out your tray in the last step, you can dive head first in and start removing material with your plunge router. However, I'm not that brave. I set up stop blocks on either end and used my router's guide to route out the perimeter of the tray. Once I had that, I felt more comfortable freehanding the rest.
The important thing here is to work within your comfort zone. Routers are dangerous, if handled improperly. It's better to be safe by taking the time to set up guides and stop blocks than it is to just go for it freehand and risk ruining your piece right away. Or, worse yet, removing material from your body!
For your depth, consider how thick your material is. For 3/4 inch material, I set my router to plunge just under 1/2 inch. It's also not a bad idea to come back with a sharp chisel and smooth out the tray after you're done with the router. If your padding of choice won't let the bottom of the tray show through, this may be unnecessary. As I will show later on, I used shelf liner that has a sort of mesh pattern. so I cleaned my tray up.
If you don't have a plunge router, you can carve out the tray with hand tools, such as chisels, or you can just add some padding to the tray area at the end of the project.
Step 4: Cut the Base to Length
Now that the tray is finished up, you can go ahead and cut the base to length. The length of your base will depend on what dimensions you came up with earlier in the process. For my stand, with the phone charger, the watch arm, and the glasses tray, I cut my base to about 12 inches.
Step 5: Mill the Watch Arm Pieces
If you bought pre-dimensioned lumber, you can just cut it to length. Since I cut all of my pieces from the same board, I needed to mill my watch arm pieces.
Again, the watch arm is made up of 1x2 material (actual dimensions being 3/4 inch x 1 1/2 inches). You'll need two pieces for this. One for the leg going up, about 5 inches long, and one for the arm going out, about 2 inches long (or long enough for your watch or watches). One thing to note here is to keep your joinery technique in mind. Since I used mortise and tenon joints, I needed to add an additional 3/8 inch to the length of each piece.
Step 6: Determine and Cut Watch Arm Angles
My smart watch charger is magnetic and can hold the weight of my watch at whatever angle I choose. After messing around with it a bit, I found that 30 degrees off of 90 was a nice angle for displaying the watch. You'll want to determine if that angle works for you.
Whatever angle you choose, position the short arm piece onto the long arm piece and draw out the angles. It isn't absolutely necessary that you make cuts at both of those angles, but I like the look of it better with the excess cut off.
Take that angle to the miter saw and adjust the blade accordingly. Again, I used 30 degrees. Then go ahead and make the first cut so the blade just kisses your line.
To give it a more complete look, I also made a cut at a right angle to that first cut, to remove all the excess. I did this by setting up a sacrificial stop block to help position the arm. I then positioned the base of the arm agains the fence of the saw and the side against the stop block. This allowed me to make a cut exactly 90 degrees off the previous cut. The photos show the result of the two cuts, if you can't picture what I'm talking about.
Step 7: Mark Out the Watch Stand Mortises
If you are going the mortise and tenon route, like I did, there are two mortises that need to be cut. One on the base and one on the long arm of the watch stand.
For the leg, measure over 3/8 inch from the face of the 30 degree cut. This will give you the center line that the mortise will be cut along. Then find the center along that line and add two marks 1/4 inch in either direction from that center. These marks are the outer perimeter of your mortise.
Follow those same steps to find the position of the mortise on the base, using the tray as the reference to measure over 3/8 inch.
Note: If you're going to be hand-cutting your mortises with a chisel, you'll want to draw out the entire perimeter for reference.
Step 8: Cut the Watch Stand Mortises
I used a 3/8 inch Forstner bit on my drill press to clear the majority of the material for my mortises, then a chisel to finish them up. If you have a hollow chisel mortiser, rock on! Put that bad boy to use and save yourself a step! If you only have a hand drill, steady up those hands and start drilling. If you only have chisels... Look at you going all old school!
The marks from the last step give you everything you need to cut your mortises. I left mine rounded on the ends and instead rounded off the tenons in a later step.
You'll want to cut your mortises about 3/8 inch deep.
Step 9: Cut the Tenons
I like to cut the tenons after cutting the mortises, because I can adjust the sizes of the tenons much easier than making micro adjustments to the size of a mortise. I used the mortise as a reference and made marks with my utility knife. If you have a marking knife, this is exactly what it lives for. A pencil leaves too wide of a mark and too much room for error here.
Once you have your tenons marked, you can cut them. I used a tenoning jig on my table saw. You could also lay them down on your table saw and nibble away with multiple passes (or a dado stack) to get the same effect. The goal is to cut clean tenons so they fit snuggly, but not tightly, in the mortises. Just try not to cut them too long, like I did. Then I had to add an extra step of shortening them up a bit.
Once the tenons are cut, clean them up with a chisel and round off the corners.
Step 10: Set Up the Phone Stand
If you're using a wireless phone stand like I did, it's nice to make it feel a little more integrated. So I put on my dado stack and cleared out material to let the phone stand sit nice and flush with the base.
If you are making your own legs for the phone stand, now is the time to cut them out and mount them. My original plan was to mortise and tenon those in place as well. I had planned for the angle to match the angle of the watch arm. Make sure to measure your phone to size it appropriately. You may need to get creative with this step to get the legs cut and mounted in place.
Step 11: Integrate the Watch Power Adapter
If you have a smart watch like me, it's time to cut recesses for the magnetic adapter and the power cord. My adapter would have fit perfectly in a 1 1/8 inch hole, but I only have a 1 inch Forstner bit that was close to that size. So I opted to drill the 1 inch hole, then use a chisel to remove the rest of the material.
Position and trace your adapter to get a feel for where the hole needs to be. Find the center by drawing diagonal lines from each corner, then drill out a hole as deep as your adapter is thick. If your drill bit is perfectly sized, you're good to go already. Otherwise, trace your adapter outline and chisel the remainder of the material away. This ended up being a lot less of a hassle than I expected, which was a nice surprise.
After getting the hole chiseled out, you'll need to make room for the cable. Position it and trace it out, then use the chisel to cut a dado for it to fit nicely into.
You can do this down the backside of the leg as well, like I did. That gives your cable a groove to fit into and you can add a clip or a screw in a small, flat piece of scrap (like I did) to hold the cable in place when you're finishing up.
Step 12: Size and Cut the Tray Liner Material
I used a simple black drawer liner to line my tray. Getting it sized was just a matter of laying it out in the tray and cutting it with my utility blade. If you are using some sort of adhesive lining, don't apply it during this step. This is just to get it sized and ready to go.
Step 13: Sand
We're getting toward the end and it's time to start prepping for finish. It will be a lot easier to sand this thing before you assemble it. So sand it through your grits. I sanded with 120, 180, then 220 grit. Just be careful not to round over the edges where the joinery will connect. That will take away some of the crispness of your joinery.
You may notice in the photo that I used the leftover shelf liner for my sanding pad. Win/win!
Step 14: Assemble
Time to put this bad boy together! If you are doing butt joints with screws, align your pieces and screw them together. Don't forget to predrill. It's too late in the game to let a little mistake send a crack through your piece!
If you're doing mortise and tenon or dowel joinery, you get to glue. I used Titebond II, but use whatever wood glue you prefer. Just make sure to get good squeeze out when you clamp and wipe it clean with a wet paper towel or rag. The clamps will help ensure your joints are nice and snug.
Step 15: Apply Finish
I used shellac to finish my stand. It really brought out the color in the walnut I used. Whatever finish you choose to use, don't be in a rush to apply it. Take your time and do a good job. You're almost there!
Step 16: Enjoy Your Handiwork!
This is the best part of this project. You get to enjoy your handiwork for years to come! This is one of only a few things I've made that I use every day.
Thank you for sticking with me to the end of this one! I hope I've provided you enough inspiration to try making a stand of your own. Again, make whatever adjustments you need to suit your needs. You can really personalize this thing! Most importantly, have fun with it!
Participated in the
2 years ago
This is really neat and unique! Would look great on my nightstand.
Reply 2 years ago
Thank you! I agree, it would look good on your nightstand :)