Intro: Crafter's Necklace
My wife knits.
She knits a lot.
One of the problems she has is keeping track of the various smaller needles she uses intermittently during a project (cable needles, sewing-up needles), and not losing them between the cushions of the sofa, or around the car when she knits on a long drive.
She found a solution in a knitting magazine, but, following the links given, she could only find it for sale in bulk to the trade. So she handed me the advert and said "Make me one of those!"
So I did...
Oh, and if a pendant isn't your style, I made another piece of jewellery to do a similar job, posted here
Step 1: The Brief
The necklace had to be about one and a half to two inches wide, magnetic, but with a "nice wooden finish".
I already had a "stock" of rare-earth magnets that are 5mm cubes, and a bag of 1mm thick veneer offcuts, so I decided to make it up with layers of veneer concealing the magnets.
Step 2: Needful Things
I decided to use four magnets, spread around inside a circular pendant.
- Veneer (unglued).
- Four rare-earth magnets (5mm cubes)
- Non-water-based glue
- Leather thong (bought from our local knitting shop, but it's also online)
- Clamps (or a heavy weight to leave on top of glued parts)
- A thing to cut the veneer - I used my laser cutter, but you can also use a strong knife with a fresh blade.
- Varnish and brushes.
A note on the links: those are all Amazon links, but if you have local hardware & DIY stores I urge you to use them, even if you have to wait for them to order materials in or pay a little extra - spending your money in your local shops keeps your money in your local economy, preserving jobs and benefiting everybody in your community.
Step 3: The Design...
The magnets are 5mm thick, the veneer is less than 1mm thick, so it takes 12 layers to both make the pendant and hide the magnets.
The design of the layers is simple: a circle, with a small, round hole at the top for the cord, and four 5mm-square holes for the magnets in the middle five layers.
I was planning tos round off the edges of the pendant, so I varied the diameters of the circles to reduce the amount of effort I'd need to sand material off.
I also rotated every other piece by 90 degrees - thin veneer is fragile, but crossing the grains effectively turns the fragile veneer into much stronger plywood.
I also added a vector-engraved knitting-themed design to the front, for obvious reasons.
Step 4: Cutting
Cutting thin veneers is different to cutting thicker materials - small parts can be blown out of place by the jet of air that stops the laser charring the cut, so make sure you cut things in the right order.
In general, do your engraving first, then cut out waste from inside the larger parts, then finally cut the largest parts.
Holding the veneer in place is different as well - the veneer curls easily, but it's thinness means it can be held in place with small magnets or weights.
(Yes, those are the same magnets holding the veneer down as ended up inside the pendant. I have many.)
Step 5: Layering Up...
The easiest way to get the circles lined up properly is to build them up around the magnets (rather than layering them up and then adding the magnets).
You'll need to add glue between each layer, paying special attention to making sure the whole circle of the edge is glued. I recommend using a glue that is not water-based, as the thin veneer is very vulnerable to changing size when water penetrates, which would make it hard to line up the holes over the magnets (an issue I've had before with other jewellery projects).
Clamp the layers up firmly, and leave them to dry.
Step 6: Sanding
At this point, the edge of the pendant has a stepped appearance.
If you like that, then skip this step.
Otherwise, you will need to spend time sanding the steps down into a curve. You can use a rotary tool if you are brave and have steady hands. A bench-top belt sander would be ideal, but I opted to coarse sandpaper, keeping the pendant moving all the time to turn it into a curve, then finer sandpaper to make a finer finish.
Step 7: Finishing
Since the pendant is, well, a pendant, it's going to spend its time resting against my wife's clothes, so I chose not to finish the project with oil, and used varnish instead (the hole for the thong proved perfect for hanging the pendant to dry!).
I added a leather thong, and it was done!