Tired of having to fish my phone charging cord from behind my night stand, and wanting something to set my watch on while it charges, I made a single stand for both.
Already having some extra pieces of white oak from a tree cut down near our house, I decided to use those pieces in the build.
- Wood log (approx 6" diameter, without the bark, and at least 9" long)
- 220 grit sand paper, for using by hand
- Wood screws (qty 2), length depends on the thickness of your base
- Miter saw (or band saw if you have one)
- Speed square
- Impact driver / screw driver
- Dremel with carving bit
- Drill and drill bit set
- Orbital sander (w/ 80grit pad)
- Wood clamps
- 1/4" paint brush
- Measuring tape and pencil
Step 1: Prep Your Raw Wood
The two pieces of white oak I used were left over from a previous project. But if you only have the whole log, here is what you need to do...
NOTE: Once the wood has been cut from the tree, you will want to cut it down for use as soon as possible. Letting the log sit for too long will result in cracks and may make it unusable.
Start with a log of at least 9" in length and with a diameter of approx 6" (not including the bark). Cut off 3" from the length and set that aside, as that will be used to create the watch stand portion. With the remaining log, cut it down the middle, lengthwise. This second piece will be the base of the stand.
Using a wood chisel, remove the bark from the base piece. Go as deep as you want, depending on the color you want in the finished piece. I really like the dark red color at the deepest part of the bark, so I didn't chisel beyond that.
Take the 3" length you set aside and cut it down to a 3"x3"x2" block.
Step 2: Cut Your Base
SAFETY FIRST!!! I don't own a band saw, but was able to make the necessary cuts with a miter saw and use wood clamps to hold the piece in place. After all, I value all ten of my fingers.
Take the base piece and trim it down to 6" in length.
My piece was originally cut in half with a chainsaw, so I needed to flatten out the bottom. I did this by securing the piece to the miter saw with wood clamps. This cut was as shallow as possible to only flatten the bottom and save as much wood as I could.
Next, you need to give the top of your base a trim to have a flat surface.
Again, I did this by securing the wood in place with wood clamps. Use your speed square to ensure your piece is exactly 90 degrees to the saw surface. If it isn't, your top and bottom will be at different angles. I made a cut deep enough to have a top surface of 4" wide.
If needed, use an orbital sander on the top, bottom, and ends, to remove any blade marks.
Step 3: Practice Some Patience
Now that you have exposed both sides of your base, those portions of wood will allow moisture to escape at different rates. This can cause the piece to warp or twist.
I didn't account for this on a past project and had to start over. Don't make the same mistake as me!!!
Using some scrap 2x4s and wood clamps, I clamped the base between them and let it sit that way for three week.
While you wait for the base to dry out, you can prepare the watch stand.
Step 4: Watch Stand
Take out the block you cut previously.
This needs to be cut down to an "L" shape for holding your watch and charger.
Using the charger for your Apple Watch, outline the circle and make a line for the charger cord.
Using a Dremel, or other tool, cut out the opening for the charger stand and cord. Cut a little smaller to start, then check the fit. You can always trim off a little more wood where needed to get a tight fit.
I wasn't planning on having the charger base fully embedded in this piece, so I only cut 1/4 deep. You want the fit to be snug, but lose enough you can take it out with your fingers.
NOTE: The opening will get smaller by a minuscule amount once you apply sealer.
Step 5: Cut the Phone Slot
With your base dried out, it's time to make a cut for your phone.
On a previous phone stand I used a 22.5 degree cut and felt it was perfect for holding the phone in place and at a slight angle.
Secure your base piece on the miter saw and make a first cut. I made this cut 1/2" deep. Slide the base forward the width of your blade and make another cut to widen opening. Repeat this until you have a cut that fits your phone and case. If you currently use a thin case, I suggest cutting a little extra to account for future phone cases or models that could be thicker.
Use a bare piece of sand paper to sand the inside of the slot. I used an 80 grit piece to start, and finished with a 220 grit piece.
Step 6: Seal That Wood!
Depending on your preference, you can stain, paint (please no!), or seal your two pieces. You can even go crazy and leave the wood raw!
I used Minwax Polycrylic Clear Satin. It brings out the grain of the wood without a drastic change to the color. An added bonus is it cleans up with soap and water.
For pieces of this size, the base and watch stand, I like using a smaller (1/4") art brush. A brush this small fit well into the phone slot and opening for the watch charger.
NOTE: I only applied the polycrylic to the exposed wood and not the dark red layer of bark along the side. I'm not a fan of how it looks when applied to the bark and I like that part to look raw.
My process for applying the polycrylic was to seal, sand, seal, sand, seal. Light sanding was done by hand with a 220 grit piece of sand paper. Follow the drying directions on the container before sanding.
Step 7: Attach Watch Stand
With technology changing so quickly, I may have a different watch in a year. With this in mind, I made some specific decisions on how I attached the watch stand. This was attached in such a way that I can remove and replace later, if needed.
First, outline where your watch stand will sit on your base. Make your marks dark enough to see, but not so dark you can't wipe them off before attaching the stand.
Drill two holes through the base, from the top, inside the outline you marked on your base. Use a drill bit that is almost the same diameter as the wood screw you will use. The reason being you don't need the wood screw to dig into the base, only the stand.
From the bottom of your base, widen the opening of each hole. Use a drill bit the same or slightly wider than the head of your screws. Don't go very deep! Only 1/8" or 1/4" is deep enough. This will let your screw head sit within the wood and not exposed at the bottom.
Insert both screws through the bottom of the base, so they barely stick out the top of the base. Align your watch stand with the pencil marks and press down onto the screws. They will leave slight indents in your watch stand. Now pre-drill two holes in the base of your watch stand. These holes need to be slightly narrower than the screws you are using.
Screw watch stand to the base.
Step 8: Finished!
An optional step is to add felt or rubber feet to the bottom.
When my phone isn't in the stand, I keep the cord from sliding behind my nightstand by laying it in the place of the phone.