Making wood sunglasses can tire if you do not understand the basics. You don’t need to be a manufacturing guru or industrialist to do it. Actually, you can make your own custom wood sunglasses.
All you need are some basic tools and equipment and basic knowledge of design cutting to embark on such a project. We aim this article to show you a step-by-step process of manufacture wood sunglasses.
You should note that there are various methods. We will only discuss one here.
Step one: Design
The first step of making a pair of handcrafted wood sunglasses is to develop a suitable design. To do this, you need to draw the basic shape to make the frames. You can design your custom frame with freehand drawing tools on the computer or go for AutoCAD.
You can also make do with any unused plastic sunglasses. Paste the plastic frame on a piece of paper and trace it round with a pencil. This part is just the initial stage that will prepare you for the main project.
Step Two: Preparing materials
The first material you will need is wood of your preference. We recommend hardwood; preferably walnut, oak, teak, sandalwood, zebrawood or any other with similar properties. Not all hard woods are appropriate to make wooden frames for sunglasses.
Look at our blog article to learn more about the Sandalwood and Zebrawood uses and properties.
After getting the wood, make use of a saw to cut it into the desired dimensions i.e. the length, width and depth needed to get the perfect fit for the design you have chosen. We recommend making use of the dimension below:
- 150mm*55mm*1.8mm (in three places) for length, width and depth respectively
- 150mm*55mm*2.4mm (one piece)
In all you are going to cut six different wood pieces. These would include:
- The main frame or rim that will house the lenses. We will make this up of three pieces cut to 1.8mm depth each. Label the three pieces A, B and C for outer, middle and inner respectively.
- Two small trapezoidal shaped wooden pieces that will act as the nose pads on the two sides of the inside of the mainframe. The bottom base of each trapezoid should be between 11mm and 15mm, with a height of 4mm or 5mm and the top base between 8mm and 11mm, depending on the size of your frames.
- The nose bridge arches up and is on the outer part at the area between the two lens rims. The recommended shape is like and arch with the chord segment falling between 15mm and 18mm depending on your choice.
- Two temples, often called the arms of the sunglasses. These extend over the ears to keep the sunglasses balanced on the wearer’s face.
Ensure that you smooth all the six wooden items by hand with sandpaper. We can remove the remaining parts you need from any unused plastic or metal sunglass frames. These are:
- the hinges that will connect two temples to either sides of the mainframe to provide folding capabilities for the wooden frame of the sunglasses
- the screws that will secure the hinges on both the temples and the main frame
- a pair of 1.5mm lenses that you can get online.
- wood glue or any epoxy based glue to join the pieces together.
Step Three: Tracing and Cutting
With the prescribed measurements, you need to cut all the wood components of the wooden framed sunglasses.
Trace the outside of the mainframe which houses the lens with the unused plastic frame or printout of the design you drew on AutoCAd and use it imprint on the mainframe components A, B and C. After this, trace the inner side of the mainframe components where the lenses are going to fit in.
Now it is time to cut. To cut perfectly, draw a hole somewhere close to the outer linings and use a scroll saw to cut out the outer sides of the three mainframe components. This should not be problematic.
When you are about to cut the inner side of the mainframe components where the pair of lenses are going to sit, there is a need for some minor calculations. The mainframe components A and C should be cut to the same inner dimension to have the same measurement for fitting the pair of lenses. However, when cutting the inside of the mainframe component B, ensure that the two holes where the lenses are going to fit perfectly are slightly bigger than those of components A and C. the reason for this is simple to understand. If possible to expand the inner cutting of component B by additional 2mm around the perimeter.
Proceed to cutting the two temples. This can easily be achieved by either imprinting the trace of an unused plastic sunglasses or make use of the one drawn with Autocad. As expected, each side of the two pieces of wood with 1.8mm width, making four pieces in total. Two pieces for each side will give a width of around 3.6 mm when it is glued together. The reason for using wood with a small width is to make cutting easier. The thicker the wood, the harder it becomes to cut easily and perfectly with the scroll saw.
Cut the last wood components; the nose pad and the nose bridge. We should cut this according to the dimensions stated earlier. Do some sanding again to make all the edges and surface areas of all the wooden components to be as smooth as possible. Now you are ready to join the components together.
Before you embark on the next step, ensure that you file the lenses to the fit perfectly into the holes created on the main frame component B, this is very important.
Step Four: Assembling the Components
This should start with the mainframe. Lay mainframe component A on a flat surface. Add some wood glue on the part facing up that will be joined to mainframe component B. After this, proceed to fixing component B on the surface to which we applied the wood glue. After affixing component B, you notice that the inner section of mainframe component A is visible around the inner perimeter where the pair of lenses will sit. This is the section that the lenses will sit in after fitting perfectly into the hole sections of mainframe component B.
The next step is to take main frame component C and add some wood glue around the surface that will be affixed on main frame component C. Add some glue on the chord section of the nose bridge and carefully fix it at the exact middle point of the outer section of the mainframe. That should be the other surface of main frame component A. Also add some glue at the bottom base of the two wood trapezoids and affix it carefully at the point where they should be on the other surface of main frame component C. Do another round of sanding to keep all edges in perfect alignment. Please ensure that you allow each glued section to dry completely before proceeding to the next step. If you skip this step, you may end up with disfigured and unaligned wood sunglasses.
Some hinges are designed to have two screws each; one to hold on to the mainframe and the other to hold on to the temple. Drill in the hinges to the middle of the topmost side of each temple that will rest on both sides of the main frame. One at a time, carefully position the temple perpendicular to the mainframe on either side. This will provide you with a view of where the screw at the other end of the hinge will be drilled into the mainframe. Do this as thoroughly as possible. If you do it correctly, you will notice that each temple closes in towards the section of the mainframe that has the nose pads. And when you unfold it, it stops exactly perpendicular to the mainframe. If you are convinced that you have the perfect wood sunglasses, you can apply some wood finish to enhance the texture and durability of the new piece.
Simple olive oil should do the trick. But if you wish, you may add some melted beeswax to the olive oil. Mix thoroughly. On the other hand, you can buy some wood oil or wax. But make sure you don’t buy polyurethane based finishes.
After applying the finish, test your new piece. You might not get it perfectly right the first time. But you will surely be impressed with what you have manufactured. This is enough reason to wear it boldly, knowing full well that it is your creation.
Visit our wood sunglasses collection to get inspired.