Intro: Easy Brass Inlay Wooden Pendant Gift
I had an idea for a very simple wooden pendant made from some scraps I had around the workshop. Using a few off cuts of walnut and ash, and some brass rod I had left over from a previous project, I came up with the idea of press-fitting several different diameter brass rods in close proximity to give a contemporary design. The result was really quite effective, which is why I thought I'd share an instructable here, so you may make your own.
The pendant can be used for a necklace or key-ring or anything else you can think of. It only took me a few hours to complete this project so can easily be done in an afternoon. Only some basic tools are required and it is also possible to make several at once.
What you will need:
- Wood - I used some Walnut and Ash off-cuts.
- Brass Rod - I used three lengths of different diameters.
- Wood Glue - Good quality wood glue. I used Gorilla Glue brand.
- Eye-hook - I use a tiny eye-hook to attach the key-ring or necklace fixing to the pendant (it's hard to see in the photo but it's attached to the end of the Key-ring fixing.)
- Key-ring or necklace fixings - I used a Key-ring for this one.
- Saw - I used a hacksaw to cut the brass but a band-saw to cut the wood. It is possible to use only a hacksaw if needed.
- Hammer - I used a ball peen hammer but any steel hammer would work
- Clamps - A pair of quick clamps are fine
- Drill - If you have a steady hand, a hand drill will work but a drill press is recommended
- Drill bits - One for each of the brass rods. The diameters should match (or be a tiny but larger than) the brass rod diameters. You'll also need a tiny drill bit to attach the eye-hook
- Sand Paper - Lots! I used a range from 60 grit up to 800 grit.
Step 1: Prep the Wood
I used a band saw to cut my walnut into a thin plank measuring 10 mm thick, 22 mm wide, and 90 mm long. I then cut the ash into two strips, 10 mm x 10 mm x 90 mm. The wood was glued together in the arrangement shown in the photograph and clamped while the glue dried. This formed the stock, from which several pendants can be made.
Once the glue was dry, I drilled several holes into the walnut before slicing the stock material into separate pendants.
Step 2: Prep the Brass
The brass rods were first given a bit of clean before being cut to length. To clean them I put the brass rod into a drill and used some sand paper and emery cloth to give them a quick polish. After this, I measured the required length by lining the rod up against the pendant and marked it. Next I used a hacksaw to cut the brass rods. The best way to cut brass is to clamp it down really well and go at a medium pace with long strokes, trying to keep the saw as straight as possible.
It's not a problem if the length of the brass rods are not perfect. Any overhang can be filed or sanded away and any under hang can be made flush by removing the wood. Just remember that your pendant will end up a little thinner if you do this.
Step 3: Carefully Bash Bash Bash Bash!!
Now we will insert the brass rods into the pendant. The best tool for this job would be an arbour press, but since I don't have one, I used a hammer.
The fit should be tight enough that the rods will not fall out, but not so tight that you risk splitting the wood while bashing them in. If the fit is worryingly tight, you can file down the rods to thin them slightly, or file the holes to slightly widen them.
Place the work on a hard surface, line the rods up, one at a time, and carefully tap them in about a quarter of the way. Once you're happy they are straight and will not crack the wood, you can use a little more force to get them through. Eventually, they will become so stiff that some hearty bashing may be the only solution, so be careful and check the work often.
Once through, its time to sand!
Step 4: Sand Sand Sand Sand!!
Now we have a basic version of our pendant, it's time to make it look pretty. I used a range of sand papers starting at 60 grit to get the brass flush to the wood. I then worked my way up to 800 grit through several steps of 100, 150, 220 etc...
After 800 grit, the pendant was very smooth. I gave it a final touch with some bees wax polish and a quick buff on a buffing wheel, but this is totally optional as it looked great before doing this.
Lastly, I drilled a tiny hole on the top and screwed in the tiny eye-hook with the key-ring fitting attached.