I’m finally making use of all that extra pine I have again! For this week’s project I decided to make a wood iPhone case. I’ve always wanted one, so why not give it a shot?
For this project I used two materials: pine and brass.
The pine is for the body of the case, the brass for embellishment on the back.
I started with a piece of pine that was left over from my coasters project.
This was piece of wood was the perfect thickness: just over 1/4 and inch, or slightly thicker than the case for my iPhone 6.
For the brass, I payed a visit to Metalliferous on West 46th. I had been there once before a couple years back, but had forgotten how awesome that place is. They have literally everything you could want for (relatively) small metal projects. I bought a square sheet of 26 gauge brass (the thinnest they had) as well as a roll of four different coarseness sand papers and sheers for cutting.
I traced an outline of my iPhone case onto the pine and brass as a guide for my cuts. The plan was to cut a 5.5″x 2.75″ rectangles and round the corners like an iPhone.
I then use the sheers I bought at Metalliferous to cut the shape of my iPhone out of the brass.
As I anticipated would be the case, the cut brass had sharp edges and a few burs that needed to be removed before I could move on. I used the sheers to snip off any big burs and sanded the rest with P600 (finest grain) sand paper.
My next step was to mark where the opening for the camera and flash would be on the brass. This was simple to do: I again used my iPhone case as a template and traced the insider of the opening with a pencil onto the brass.
The next day I used the drill press and a forstner bit to drill holes into the four corners of the case. My intention was for these holes to be the starting points when using the table router. I later used a 5/16 drill bit to drill holes for the camera opening into the brass backing.
Trying to drill into brass turn out to be a terrible idea. It warped the material and left really jagged holes that were super imprecise. It also took forever to set up a jig for holding the brass still.
I decided to move on from the brass and finish the rest of the piece. Next up: the table router.
Going into using it, I was a little afraid of the table router. Rightfully so: the blades are dull, which makes cutting tedious and dangerous, and my material was so thin it was easy to lose control of. This didn’t happen often, but enough to be alarming. Most worrisome was the frequent burning, which at one point even burned a hole through the back of the case!
I eventually got the hang of the tool, figuring out that the best way to avoid burning the wood was to slowly push it into the blade then pull it back, rinse and repeat.
With the boarder of the case routed out, I shifted to routing out the center. When the routing was complete, I sanded the center to make it less ragged.
The next step was to cut away the excess wood and sand down the edges to make the wood look more like an iPhone case.
I had the makings of a case! I turned my attention back to the brass backing, particularly the camera opening. I used a small metal file to file down the sharp edges and open the whole up. This took a very long time.
I then used a rubber mallet to smooth out any parts that were bent during drilling and filing.
The last step was to finish the wood and glue the brass back onto the case. I painted on the finish and let it sit over night. The next morning I used Gorilla glue to attached to brass.