Make an Hourglass Case




About: Awesome Gear I've designed myself.

While traveling this past summer I came across this bare hourglass. I bought it thinking it would make for a fun weekend wood project. It’s made from poplar, stained with Cabot Cherry stain, and uses Sugru for footpads.

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Step 1: Shape the Ends

I started out by cutting a couple squares from a plank of poplar. I marked the corners for the spindles and drilled them out with a forstner bit. I then chamfered one side of the squares while rounding over the other.

Step 2: Make the Patterrn Template

Next thing I had to do was make a hole for the glass to sit in. This can be a little tricky. I’ll spare you all the measuring but basically you have to cut a hole deep enough to hold the glass taking the bumpers into consideration.

Because the biggest forstner bit I have it 1½” I had to make a pattern template on my lathe. I mounted a square of MDF and used a parting tool to cut a circle out. This circle will guide my router to cut out perfect circles in the poplar.

I used duct tape to attach the template onto the poplar while I routed it. I didn’t take a picture of the router setup so I’ll explain. The bit goes into the router. A special plate goes onto the base of the router, which has a collet surrounding the bit. With this collet in place I can guide the router around the inside of the circle while it’s on the poplar. This allows me to cut out the needed size hole for the glass.

Step 3: Fit the Glass Bumpers

I wanted this case to “grip” the hourglass. My solution was to use gutted lamp cord. After taking out the copper wire, I cut it just a little oversized so it would fit snug. This worked out well; adjusting for the contour of the glass.

Step 4: Turn the Spindles

Originally I wasn’t going to do anything to the ¾” dowel but it looked odd to me. But now the problem was how to keep each dowel looking consitent.

I ended up making a curved sanding block out of scrap wood. I removed some material from the center of the dowel to help center the block during sanding. Once it was the right shape I moved on to the next one.

Step 5: Test Fit

I finished marking and drilling the spindle ends as well as the end caps. Once that was done I test fit the pieces. Everything, including the bumpers, fit well so I moved on to staining.

This step is important because you don’t want to have to make any adjustments after it’s stained. Trying to re-stain a small area on a project can by tricky.

Step 6: Stain

I used a foam brush to apply the stain. To help handle the pieces I used either a scrap piece of dowel or screws. See the pictures. After dry time (overnight) I sprayed it over with polyurethane.

Step 7: Sugru Foot Pads

I could have used several things to cover the screw holes. I could have even not used screws at all and just glued the case together. I decided to use Sugru because 1) it works great for this application and 2) it makes my hourglass 2.7 points more awesome.

The footpads were applied in two stages. First a small ball of Sugru was pressed into the countersunk holes. Next another small ball was shaped over the top.

Thanks for reading.

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    5 Discussions

    black hole

    7 years ago on Introduction

    Like the 'Hear no evil, see no evil, speak no evil' monkeys.
    Great project, 5/5*


    7 years ago on Introduction

    Everything you do turns out so beautifully! And you use of "stuff" you have on hand to get such great results is so cool. Score another one!
    I have to disagree on one point though. I think the Sugru makes your hourglass 2.8 points more awesome.

    1 reply