So I wanted to make my girlfriend a piece of jewelry for her birthday. My mom was a jeweler when I was growing up so I was familiar with some of the processes, however I didn’t have the skills or knowledge to make a piece myself. I also wanted to start small and with something I was familiar with, so I chose wood as my medium for the piece. And for the design, I chose a simple, class and cheesy heart.
Materials and Tools
There are plenty of ways to do this. I am not a carver, I am really a woodworker used to making larger projects, so I’m sure my method isn’t the most ideal. Below are the materials and tools that I used to create the necklace.
Supplies, Materials and Tools
· Block of cherry roughly 2”x2”x1/2”
· Plated screw eye hook
· Danish oil rub on finish
· Sandpaper 60, 100, 120, 220, 320, 400 grit
· Belt sander
· pick / punch
· flat metal file
Step 1: Design and Working Block
Design and Working Block
First I found a heart shape and sized it on the computer, then printed it out and traced it onto the block of cherry. My block was HUGE. I actually used a block that was around 3’x3” and 1” thick. It could have been far less but it was what I had and I wanted plenty of working room to get comfy with my tools. After tracing the shape on, I cut it out using the bandsaw.
Step 2: Rough Sanding
After getting the heart, I wanted to remove lots of material and get a curved shape going. I took the guard off the end of a belt sander and worked in curves around the edges of the piece. Careful, once its gone its gone, I had to redo this step once or twice from removing too much material to work. After I felt the piece was small enough to work by hand, I switched to 60 grit sand paper and wrapped it around a stick. I then just worked my way around the heart, sanding off material by eye until the shape and size I wanted was roughly there.
Step 3: Fine Sanding
After I had apiece roughly shaped and sized, I would gradually increase my sandpaper grit the closer I got to the actual size of the piece. This decreased the amount of material I removed in each pass and increased my accuracy. I was able to shape the heart I wanted completely by hand sanding. I made numerous different size sticks varying in width and wrapped my sand paper around them. The different width sticks allowed me to sand in different curves and grooves. This was especially important at the top of the heart between the curves.
The last sanding done to the piece should be wet sanding. This is sanding the piece with a very high grit sand paper that is specifically made for wet sanding. After lightly wetting the piece, sand it straight motions along the surface. This doesn’t really remove material or reshape the piece; it will work out any high spots and prepare it for the finish.
Step 4: Adding the Eye Hook
Adding the Eye Hook
I used a metal file to make a flat spot at the top of the heart, then a sharp pick to poke a pilot hole. Once I had a pilot hole, I slowly twisted the eyehook into the piece by hand. Now that the hook was in, I could use it to suspend the heart when rubbing on the finish.
Step 5: Finishing the Piece
Finishing the Piece
I hung the piece from the eyehook and rubbed on golden Danish oil to make the cherry pop. I applied roughly 4 coats of rub on oil. After rubbing on the Danish oil, I applied a clear rub on lacquer and I lightly wet sanded the piece between coats and I applied 2 coats. When wet sanding, be careful to work out your high spots but not sand off the finish entirely.
Step 6: Conclusion
Overall, the piece came out pretty nice. I finished it off with a simple cable link chain. Despite the finish, this piece will gradually get darker overtime from being worn excessively outside and being touched from the oils on your skin. It should add worn appearance overtime.
Like I had said, probably not the most efficient way but it is direct and to the point and it worked well for me, I hope it assists you. Check out my other heart necklace I made after this one by clicking the link below! That one is carved from wax and casted. Thanks for viewing!