Stabilized walnut inlay for a watch case

(Peter Rennie) #1

With a design for a wristwatch incorporating wooden pieces in the case, I arrived at this solution after much trial and error. One machined piece is a delicate ring of stabilized walnut which slips around the main steel case, and the other is a thinner one which goes inside the case as a bezel around the dial. For those interested in milling wood down to fine limits (so many snapped pieces…) I’ve included the toolpath settings. I wasn’t sure at first whether the stabilized wood would behave more like a hardwood or a plastic, given the resin. In the end I worked from acrylic pre-sets and tinkered with the values until the Nomad produced reliable results.



Here are the two wooden pieces before and after sanding and finishing with CA glue:


Forgive the arty instagram shot but you can see the very fragile section of the pieces where they thin out to fit over the steel lugs - very prone to snapping and pretty much the bane of my existence :fearful: I had initially imagined using a flip jig to machine these pieces from both sides, but ultimately just machined from above and completed the reverse by hand with Dremel and files.

And here’s the finished watch. An exterior walnut inlay around the case and a smaller interior piece around the dial…

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(Julien Heyman) #2

I’m amazed. Fantastic job!

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(Peter Rennie) #3

Thanks Julien! And now to ramp up to batch production…

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(Guy Donham) #4

How are you stabilizing the wood. Do you use a pressure pot or a vacuum chamber or just applying CA? I do wood turning as well as CNC and have seen plans for a Harbor Freight paint pressure pot turned into a vacuum chamber for using Alumnite and other resins to combine wood and resin for turning.

Your watch looks good. You will be stylin.

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(Peter Rennie) #5

I’m unfamiliar with Harbor Freight except by reputation as they don’t have a presence here in the UK as far as I know, though I was certainly tempted to get hold of a pressure vessel and pump when looking into the stabilization process myself. It does look pretty fun. In the end I found a bloke who does a nice little trade in vaping mods as well as stabilized blanks, selling mainly to knifemakers I believe.

Thinking of putting together your own setup?

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