A couple of years ago, I made a Birthday tracking wall hanging for my wife on my X-Carve. I was pretty happy with it at the time, with the exception of the charms that have the birthdays on them, so as a quick project after I got my Glowforge I cranked out some new charms for it:
Fast forward to this Christmas, and my wife wanted us to make one for my mother-in-law. I was excited by the idea and decided from the beginning that the design was going to be centered on a walnut lettering element inlaid into maple and I went from there. Maple and Walnut plywood, both proofgrade in the medium thickness, were used throughout.
Please don’t judge my dirty back door windows and the jump rings that aren’t fully closed. I’ll fix the jump rings before we give it to her on Saturday, no promises about the window though.
I wanted to do something to tie the charms back to the design of the hanging itself, so I decided to use the same font and to incorporate the curlicue under Family into the charms as well. They’re simple proofgrade maple plywood.
We also wanted to include anniversaries. I wanted the design for these to fit with the birthday charms but also to be obviously anniversaries. I replaced the curlicue with a stylized heart, maintained the font sizing and spacing, and added a second name to the bottom for the better half of each couple.
I’m exceedingly happy with how it turned out.
One thing I think I’d like to experiment with is engraving pockets for the letters and using veneer instead of the full depth pieces. The full depth inlay is beautiful, but they are pretty challenging to fit snugly if you’re trying to avoid glue as I was. The fit was so tight in my case that it caused some warping in the base plate that I solved by laminating a backing board of thick draftboard to the back. That worked very nicely and doubles as a standoff to allow the jump rings the space they need to hang naturally.
I probably spent 10-12 hours designing, doing test cuts and kerf tests, and building the finished product over the course of a couple of days. I can’t possibly recommend more strongly that you spend the time and material to cut draft versions along the way. I consumed a couple of sheets of draftboard and a little bit of time but saved myself the threat of wasting “good” material and coming up short for the finished product.
Hope you enjoy this as much as I did making it.