In this instructable, I'll show you how I made a pendant necklace from very thin wood veneers. My video of the project is already on my YouTube channel, Barb Makes Things, but I wanted to share a bit more about the process.
There are some reallygoodinstructables on the site about doing bent woodrings with wood veneers. I often go the other way and layer up flat pieces to make rings. I've done a number of them this way, and only recently decided to do a pendant necklace in a similar style.
Step 1: Materials
What I used for this project. You might be able to accomplish it with other tools and materials if you don't have these on hand.
- Wood veneer - I used a variety of types I got from Rockler
- Glue for layer block - I've used both Super 77 and Titebond, I'll discuss my thoughts on them in the next step
- Clamp/s for securing the layer block
- Aluminum foil to protect surfaces
- Dremel with sanding barrels
- Various grit fine sandpapers
- Drill and small drill bit
- Hand saw
- Cyanoacrylate, aka super glue
- Cord to wear pendant
Step 2: Glue Layer Block
First, I cut small pieces of different wood veneers and made myself a varied stack that I liked. The next step involves gluing them together into a single block that you can carve and shape.
Previously, when making a ring from layered veneers (I'm wearing it in the video and photos for this step), I glued the block differently. With the ring, I used Titebond, clamped, and waited between 30 minutes and 12 hours to add the next layer. This makes for a seriously secure connection, but it also takes forever, and this is a larger stack of layers, so I decided to give spray adhesive a try.
I followed the instructions on the Super 77 container as closely as I could handle, waiting 30 seconds between spraying and adding the next layer to the block (don't believe the timing in the video, I edited out pauses). This method meant that I got them all glued together in a matter of hours instead of days. It needed some extra time to fully dry, another day or two, and I had to be careful not to dislodge them even after that.
Super 77 has tradeoffs. It's faster, but you have to be more careful in the next step and take your time, and you definitely need to have a good, strong finishing coat.
Step 3: Shape the Pendant
Once the block had dried, I removed it from the clamp, drew a rough shape and began to cut away at it with a razor saw to get closer to the desired shape.
Most of the shaping work was done with a dremel rotary tool and several sanding bands. Due to the large amount of adhesive, the sanding bands became gunked up quickly, so I had to switch them out and clean them.
I changed tack midway through, deciding to cut it in half and go with vertical lines, rather than something resembling a topographic map as I'd originally planned. The nice thing about this was that I then had enough for two pendants.
I drilled a hole to hang it from, and finished this step with several finer grit sandpapers to get the finished shape nice and smooth.
Step 4: Apply Finish
There are a ton of options for this step. I wound up using a tung oil finish to bring out the colors, then let it dry.
The ring I mentioned previously has a cyanoacrylate coat, and it is strong. Seriously. I do woodworking wearing it, I wash my hands with it on, and it's lasted months. So, especially knowing how little I trusted the Super 77 in keeping the layers together in the long run, I made sure to do a couple good coats of superglue.
I like using a bottle with a brush rather than trying to squeeze the glue onto the wood exactly where you want it. It doesn't always get the smoothest surface on its own, so I sanded afterwards with increasingly fine grit sandpapers to get a nice even surface. You can do several coats this way and sand it to get the surface even. If you go high enough with your sandpapers and polish it enough, you can get yourself a nice shiny finish. I stopped short of that, because I kind of liked the matte look.
Note: Superglues like to say that they only take a few seconds to dry. Do not believe them, not for this application, anyway. You're putting a thick coat of glue on. It's best to give it at least a few hours to dry before even trying to touch it. If you touch it too soon, you'll get very very visible marks and have to sand down and do it again.
Step 5: Add the Cord
You can add a jump ring if you like, or just run a cord through the hole. I went with the latter.
Step 6: Fin
This project turned out looking really nice, and it all comes down to taking the time in the shaping and finishing steps to get things really smooth.
Take a look at my YouTube channel, Barb Makes Things, where I post a high speed video of a new project every Tuesday. I might do a more detailed instructable of how I did my layered veneer ring if anyone is interested.
Thanks for reading and watching!