Introduction: Wood Bead/cabochon Carved With Simple Tools

The goal of my first instructables tutorial is simple. Carve a bead or a cabochon from wood with simple tools. This project took me two hours to saw out, "carve",and sand it in preparation for the finish.


Wood, I used reclaimed pallet wood

Wipe on poly

Paste wax


Jewelers saw fitted with a fine scroll saw blade (28 teeth per inch) A coping saw or scroll saw will work.

If you are making a bead you will need a drill and drill bit.

Half round file.

Sandpaper 150 - 180 - 220 - 320 grit

Step 1: Draw Your Design

Draw your design on the piece of wood. You can draw directly on the wood or transfer your design using carbon paper.

Step 2: Saw Out Your Design and Drill the Hole

Saw out your design. If you are making a bead drill the hole. I used a 1/16" drill bit; use the size that meets your needs. Those of you with a keen eye will notice my bead is shorter than the design pictured, the reason for that is I drilled the hole at a wonky angle. I sawed off the offending section and drilled a new hole.

Step 3: Begin Carving

Begin creating the contours with the half round file. With one hand hold the bead/cabochon.against a rigid surface, with your other hand push the file along the grain. Adjust the angle of the file and roll it as needed. Filing the piece when it is supported is widely known as "filing air" , it is a wasted effort.

Step 4: Sanding

When your are happy with the shape of your bead/cabochon you can start sanding. I started with 150 grit and finished with 320 grit. For the flat back I simply placed the sandpaper on a flat surface and sanded with the grain. Holding the bead/cabochon in one hand and hold the sandpaper in the other I move the sandpaper over the contours with my fleshy thumb.

Step 5: Finishing

Remove the sawdust and carefully check that all areas are well sanded. touch up any spots that may need it and again remove the sawdust. I protect the wood with two coats of wipe-on poly and a coat of paste wax. All woodworkers have their preferred method for finishing, use that works for you.

Jewelry Challenge

Participated in the
Jewelry Challenge