A Personalized Wooden Pendant

I made a personalized wooden pendant for one of my cousins after a little get-together before Christmas at my Uncle’s place. What happened is that during a bit of a lull in in evening I found myself alone in the living room with one of my cousin’s (newlywed) husband. He took the opportunity to ask me if I could make something out wood with my cousin’s name on it either for Christmas or her birthday a few weeks later. I was pretty sure that I could come up with something but as there was not much time left before Christmas we agreed to aim for her birthday.

We did not really get much a chance to discuss exactly what kind of wood item it should be or how to to put her name it which kind of left things wide open. Truthfully I don’t think that he knew himself exactly what he wanted beyond something with a bit of personal touch.

Part of my inspiration for the idea I finally came up with came from the Christmas gift that I made for my wife this year. I had making a few pieces of jewellery for a few years now, mostly as gifts for my nieces, and this year I decided that it was long overdue that I made a few pieces for my wife. One of the pieces was a cocobolo wood pendant similar to this one that I made a couple years ago but with a different cord and latch.

My idea was to make a pendant with my cousins name scroll sawed into it. I suggested this to my cousin’s husband and he seemed to like it.

For this piece I decided that it should be made from wood that while attractive would not distract from the design that I was going to put into it. I found some cherry that fit the bill and proceeded with my design. My first attempt failed just at the point when I thought I was done because when I tried to remove it from the lathe I found that the name I had cut into it had weakened it to the point where it broke apart as I tried to take it of. I managed to glue it back together but it clearly was not going to do.

I gave it a little more thought and decided that the basic design was sound but what I needed to to do was fill the part where I cut out the name with something so that the strength would be maintained. I’ve had in mind for to experiment with combining some dyed resins with some of my woodworking so this was a good opportunity to work that in. I picked up dyes for casting resin and decided to use epoxy for the resin since I needed such a small amount. It worked pretty well but it was a challenge to fill everything without getting bubbles and I didn’t exactly get the colour I was going for because the dye was too concentrated in the resin. Still it was a good result and both my cousin’s husband and my cousin seem to be pretty happy with it.

Now my cousin’s husband had been offering to pay me for this and I did not feel right about charging him for it. He is an amateur film maker though so what we agreed on was to trade a copy of his recently completed movie, Mission City,  for the pendant. We greatly enjoyed watching the movie and overall it was a great transaction.