Pocket Watch




About: I started woodworking with my grandfather as a young boy. I continued woodworking through high school, and started woodturning after seeing a turned project in a friends shop. Some of my fondest memories are...

Maple and Bocote Pocket Watch. The watch is 2 1/4" by 3/4" This is a pretty easy project that can be done in about an hour. I used a chuck, but it can be done with a faceplate. Start with a piece of wood at least 1" by 2 1/2".

Parts Needed

Clock insert

A small piece of wire measuring 3/8" by 1 1/2"

Tools Needed


Easy Wood Rougher

Parting tool

Easy Wood Finisher

Spindle gouge


Depth Gauge


Wax Finish

1/4" Forstner bit

V groove carving chisel

Wood Glue

Needle nose pliers

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Step 1: Hot Glue

I put a waste block of wood, 3"x 3/4", in the chuck, and then using a generous amount of hot glue, about the size of a silver dollar, hot glue the piece of Maple, measuring 4" by 3 1/2", to the waste block. You then slide the tailstock up to the block and apply pressure for three minutes until the glue sets up. I had a few defects in the wood that I needed to remove but if you have a clean piece it doesn't need to be as big. You can use wood glue for this step if you'd prefer but it will take longer to dry.

Step 2: Rough Turning

After the glue drys turn the piece of maple down to about 2 1/2". This will leave enough room for sanding.

Step 3: Fitting the Watch

I used a parting tool to cut the recess for the back of the Watch. The center hole needs to be 1/4" deep and 1 1/4" in diameter. The outer recess is 1/8" deep and 1 7/8" in diameter. Make sure the Watch face you insert fits snuggly so the Watch doesn't fall out. I used a set of calipers to measure this accurately.

Step 4: Shaping the Outside

To give the rounded shape to the back of the case I measured 3/4" with a depth gage and started shaping the back using an Easy Wood Finisher to shape the sides, and back. After shaping begin sanding using a 150 grit sandpaper and work up to 600 grit sandpaper until smooth. I parted it off with a 1/8" parting tool.

Step 5: Remount

I remounted the piece in the Chuck using the 1 1/4" recess to complete the finishing work on the back side. You can do this with a Jam Chuck or by expanding the jaws of the Chuck. Finish shaping the back, and sand up to 600 grit sandpaper and then apply a finish. I finished this project with a wax finish that's very easy to apply. Howard beeswax and orange oil Drill a 1/4" hole in the side of the case using a 1/4" forstner bit. Drill 1/4" deep hole for the knob.

Step 6: Making the Knob

I made the knob/winding crown out of a piece of Bocote 2 1/2" by 3/4". Mount the Bocote in the Chuck, and bring it down to 1/2" with a spindle gouge. Shape the top of the knob/winding crown with the spindle gouge so it resembles a winding knob. Be sure to turn down the bottom of the knob to 1/4" so it fits in the 1/4" hole you drilled with the forstner bit. I used a small V groove carving chisel to add some detail to the sides of the knob. Sand through all the grits up to 600 grit sandpaper and cut off with a saw.

Step 7: Put It All Together

Drill a 1/8" hole in the stem or base of the knob/winding crown to place the "bow" or handle/top loop. The Loop or bow was made out of the 1/8" wire. I bent the wire with a pair of needlenose pliers and closed the open ends of the wire inside the stem hiding the open ends. Then glue the stem to the body. I used a clamp to apply a little pressure while the glue dried.

Step 8: Finish Up

The watch has a rubber gasket that holds it in place. Just apply a little pressure to install.

I hope you will enjoy this project!



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11 Discussions

Phil B

2 years ago

Your Instructable made me think about the inexpensive pocket watch I carried in the years after high school. The weather has also been hot this summer and my perspiration does unpleasant things to my leather watchband. I found this movement at Klockit (dot) com and made it for a friend after making a smaller version from a kit for myself. I turned the wooden case from some black walnut. I tried mounting the blank with hot glue, but something moved during turning and the inlet for the movement was not on center with the outer circumference of the case when I finished. The one in the attached photo was glued to a block on my lathe's faceplate with carpenter's glue and sawn away from the block on the faceplate. That meant a little extra handwork with sandpaper on the back of the watch case, but it worked out better than I expected. Thank you for the inspiration, but I think I will stay away from hot glue for lathe work.

Roman numeral pocket watch for John Schmidt.jpg
Phil B

3 years ago

Will you carry this in your pocket, or display it in your home? (I like it very much.)


3 years ago

Where do you get the watch face/body thing?

1 reply
Carl JacobsonMarkD1

Reply 3 years ago

Here's the link, http://astore.amazon.com/thewood0c-20/detail/B003BGAFFU