how I made a watch case

I’ve finished making a watch case using indian rosewood, ash and suede, with brass lock and hinges. Here are the raw materials.raw materialsI started by veneering the rosewood and ash onto the base layer of mdf lipped with solid rosewood. I then routed grooves, which will house the base and lid panels. Then I accurately cut the ends of each side panel to a 45 degree components I used a steel band frame clamp to hold the sides in place during the glue-up. The box is glued up as one sealed piece. I cut the lid off on the bandsaw when the glue was dry.steel band frame clamp When the glue was set, I used a dovetail saw to cut 3 slots into each corner of the box. Each slot is about 0.6mm thick, which is the thickness of the veneer.key slots This is so that I could glue keys to strengthen each mitre joint. When I trim them down they will become almost invisible.veneer keys Next I made some 5mm thick inserts from the ash. I used my Woodrat routing jig to cut some 1mm deep slots to create the individual compartments. I find the woodrat jig is particularly good at cutting an accurate groove across the grain.woodrat I marked each slot with a pencil and lined up the cutter by eye.cutting a groove After dry fitting all the ash inserts to make sure everything fitted properly (which after the 3rd attempt they did!) I cut and glued the suede onto each vertical face. I stuck the suede to sticky card to make it easier to fit.suede liningHere’s the box with the hinges and lock fitted. Each compartment will contain a pillow for the watch to be wrapped around.
completed watch case open I applied an acrylic finish to the outside, with a wax polish.completed watch case

Omega watch case photos


french polishing

I’ve been applying some french polish to the watch case.

I’ve also buffed-up the hinges. Everything is looking nice and silky.

I’m fixing a hole…

I’ve managed to veneer all the surfaces of the watch case. There were many holes and small nicks in the veneer, some of which I was able to repair with matching veneer pieces. The hole in this photo is a natural hole in the wood, so I chose to fill it with different shades of wax filler.

I simply rubbed the wax filler crayon over the hole until it was completely full.

Then I smoothed it off with a cabinet scraper and sand paper.

Here’s the outside of the case with all the holes repaired. Not long to go now until the whole box is finished!

more Omega watch case updates…

I decided to use cramps to hold the base of the box whilst the glue was setting, rather than using the vacuum bag press. This was only really because my bench was covered with bits and pieces, and I didn’t want to spend time clearing it all away and setting up the vacuum pump. Anyway, I came up with this slightly eccentric contraption.

With the base attached I decided to add a small border to the inside curved edge. The pearl glue that I used to attach the ripple ash veneer to the inside is very dark, and left an ugly glue line. I routed around the inside curve to leave a 3mm rebate running around the inside edge. After a bit of experimenting with different thicknesses of walnut border, I sandwiched 7 pieces of walnut veneer and bent them around the curves.

Next was to cut out a recess for the hinges to fit flush in the lid. I agonised with Mark (whose case it will be) over many different methods of hinging. The difficult thing was that he wanted the box to open along the curved edge, and the hinges will only work if the edge is straight. Here’s a photo of the simple solution.

With the hinges accurately attached, the lid moves nicely up and down and has a pleasing weight to it.

Finally for this post, here’s a detail of the hinges. I alway use steel screws whilst I’m working on a piece, as brass ones can easily shear off as they they go in and out. I’ll replace them with brass ones when it attach the lid for the last time. You can also see the walnut border trimmed flush to the surfaces.