Cheap and reasonably easy way to add some warmth to your lighter!
Wood veneer is great and light yet resistant structures can be made with it. Since I wanted a 'classic' twist to my Bic, the wood veneer turned out to be the obvious choice. I like the look minimal, hence I limited the finish to a simple lacquer, but feel free to push it further along your imagination! The instructable is explained for a Bic lighter but can be adapted to most lighter shapes.
Step 1: Tools & Materials
You will need:
- approx. 4'' x 9'' of wood veneer
- utility knife
- wood glue
- precision saw OR rotary tool (e.g. Dremel)
- your favorite wood finishing
- fine sandpaper
- rubber bands
Step 2: Cutting the Veneer
For the case and its bottom I used two layers of wood veneer, otherwise it would fall apart. You can add extra layers if you want it heavier or just thicker for a better grip.
The dimensions don't matter, since you'll trim most of it, so simply use your lighter as a reference. However, the orientation of the veneer is really important!
- for the case: make sure the grain of both layers goes in the same direction as the lighter. This will make the bending possible.
- for the bottom: each layer has to be in an opposite grain direction. The bottom will be flat, so this will help it keep its rigidity.
Step 3: Bending the Veneer
Naturally, wood is flexible. But this won't be enough here. In order to help the veneer bend, infuse it in hot water for a couple of minutes prior to shaping. I used very hot tap water and it worked fine, but since wood veneer thickness, hardness or the water temperature may vary, you can use boiling water to be sure.
Once well wet, take the first veneer layer and gently roll it on the lighter. If you go carefully enough it will fit the lighter's shape. Make sure the fit is very tight and maintain it with rubber bands. Wait for it to dry completely. It has to be totally dry, since the water expands wood, but you can use an hair drier to make things faster.
When the first veneer is dry, cut the width excess.
Repeat with the second layer: wet, bend and dry, placing it over the previous layer.
Step 4: Gluing the Layers Together
First, I wrapped my lighter in a thin layer of paper, in order to leave some extra room. If the lighter fits loosely at least you will be able to pad it. If it's the case is too tight, too bad, you'll have make changes or start over.
Place the opening of each layer on the opposite sides of the lighter and glue them with a thin layer of regular wood glue. Hold everything very tightly with rubber bands.
Step 5: Trimming and Sanding
Use a precise hand saw or a rotary tool like a Dremel to cut the excess of the case and the bottom. I used a band of paper as a ring to mark a straight line. If you're agile enough, you can use the utility knife but be careful, the veneer is brittle. It takes a couple of trials to get the perfect match, so start wider and cut in small passes if you want a clean result.
Don't forget to drill a hole in the bottom piece, it will make life much easier when you'll change your lighter.
If you want a nice feel in your palm, sanding will make a difference. Attack sharp edges and smoothen surfaces at will!
Step 6: Finishing
Glue the bottom to the case and sand it if needed. I chose to cover the metal protector of the lighter, thus hiding the air intake holes. This design passed my personal tests, but it's up to you to decide if this device remains safe for your standards.
Apply wood finishes you like. I decided to keep the natural color so I applied three layers of Varathane clear and gloss lacquer, giving a nice shine. I'll be glad to see your variations!