The Black Light Bangle




About: Come spend some time in the shop. I'm a hobbyist woodworker and professional computer geek in Northern California. I guess my projects will vary widely, and I have no clue what I plan to make next...

Black locust naturally fluoresces under a black light! There are no camera tricks used, or any special treatment done to the wood itself. It's just the property of this wood.

I've had this block of black locust in the shop for a while and have been wanting to try it out on a project.I picked jewelry, as it seemed like the best choice for an object that might end up at a party. A business accessory in the daylight and party bangle in the black light!

Step 1: Disclaimer

Working with power tools is dangerous. Working with power tools in a low-light setting is borderline idiotic.

If you do this, you assume all the risk. That being said, you can do all these steps safely WITH THE LIGHTS ON. I've already made the sacrifice for your entertainment, please don't follow suit.

Step 2: Preparing the Blank

I marked up a piece of black locust in chalk about 4" x 4". I've made many bracelets and know that gives me plenty of working material.

It is then a matter of taking that to the band saw and making the cut. You can see that "the glow" is much brighter on freshly cut wood. It's possible that the finished bracelet might fade over time, but I'm not sure how long it would take.

Step 3: Boring Out the Inside

I have googly eyes on many of my tools. The drill press looks so worried here...

I use a 2 5/8" forstner bit to establish the inside diameter of all my bracelets. It's a good "one size fits most" number. Take your time and go slow. This is a large bit and it's time consuming.

With the glow of the black light, my hands look blue... I feel like Handy Smurf!

Step 4: Knocking Off the Corners

I cut the corners off at the band saw before mounting the piece at the lathe. It makes the turning process much easier and lessens the risk of a large chuck splitting off.

Step 5: Turning Process

The turning process is pretty straight forward. I've turned many bracelets, and after a while it becomes second nature.

1 Rough Turning:

This is mounted on my lathe and secured with a block of wood on both sides. Of course none of that is visible under the black light. You turn it down with the roughing gouge until you have a smooth cylinder with no more flat spots.

2: Shaping:

You can turn this to any shape you like. I tend to a more 'clean lines" look. For me, this shape is what has sold the best in my area, so it's what I make. I also "part off" some of the thickness for a more wearable width of bracelet. (again a personal preference)

3 Clean up the sides:

Using a jamb chuck to hold the bracelet in place, you can then clean up the side in the same fashion as the top of the bracelet. Funny thing about the black light here: The more shavings you make the brighter the work area becomes. As I worked, I fought my inner self, and left the lathe as messy and covered in shaving as I could!

4. Sanding:

Sanding a project has never been this much fun! Go through the grits. I normally start at 120 and stop at around 400 or so.

Step 6: Completed

I added a couple coats of clear spray lacquer in hopes of preserving the glow for as long as possible. I presume that the glow will fade as the wood ages, but a quick sanding should fix that..

Thanks for looking, and please be safe in the shop!



    • 1 Hour Challenge

      1 Hour Challenge
    • Growing Beyond Earth Maker Contest

      Growing Beyond Earth Maker Contest
    • Pets Challenge

      Pets Challenge

    8 Discussions

    I am defiantly going to have to take a black light into the workshop to see if anything floresses. Thanks for continuing to be a huge inspiration.


    3 years ago

    What a neat wood! Thanks for sharing this project, I'm going to look into buying some black locust wood to carve out some gifts!

    1 reply

    Reply 3 years ago on Introduction

    Thanks! It's mostly sold in the US as fencing material. I'm going to be scoping out the farm suppliers around here soon....