Not your typical DIY, this wooden chain was inspired by one I purchased, but decided to see if I could replicate out of scrap wood.
I hope you all are staying safe (and warm) on this gorgeous, sunny but -21° C day? (that’s including windchill – which, for those that don’t know, is the temperature it feels like outside with the biting cold and not necessarily the thermometer temperature).
Come winter we Canadians care more about the windchill temperature than the actual reading on the thermometer.
But it’s spectacularly beautiful if you are inside with a cocoa and a fire. (happy sigh)
Today’s DIY decor is a wooden chain.
Yup, three links, intertwined, made from wood.
The idea came from an actual wooden chain that I purchased recently – with the sole intention of trying to replicate it as a DIY.
This is mango wood – and I love the look of it – but the chain we’re making today is just from a regular scrap piece of 2″ x 8″ framing lumber.
Wooden chain links
Cut (6) 2 ½” x 7 ½” pieces of wood.
I had the benefit of the original wood chain to trace, but all you really need is a quart can of paint to trace rounded corners onto your blocks.
I set up a simple jig with a scrap piece of wood so that I could replicate the same cuts on all 6 pieces of wood.
The sides of your wood chain links and the top and bottom are flat, so it’s really just the corners you need to round out. I found the mitre saw was best for this because of the thickness of the wood.
Once your outside edges are cut, mark a half-oval inside the original one – about 1 ¼” to 1 ½” inside.
I’m not a big fan of my jigsaw, so I tried to cut this on my WORX Bladerunner…. it wasn’t too bad, but the scroll saw did a much smoother job.
The key here is to make sure your outside, and inside, edges of your links line up.
Sand everything smooth, inside, outside, top bottom etc with 60 grit, then 120 or 150 grit.
This next bit is optional – but I was feeling my oats after a bit of success with my router, so I decided to try and round-over the edges of my wooden chain links.
To do this, I had to use little finishing nails to attach the link pieces to my workbench so that I could travel around the ovals smoothly.
It did end up leaving tiny nail holes in the chain links, but they were too small to clamp and I don’t have a router table so that I could do this upside down.
Nothing a little wood filler can’t hide.
Use wood glue to glue two of your links together and clamp or tape until dry.
Sand off any glue that oozed out, then intertwine the third loop with the other two and glue it together.
What do you think?! Looks awesome right?!
I brought out my stain sampler board to see if I could get a finish close to the original;
It was tough, because of each wooden chain being made of different wood, but I ended up with Saman stain in Colonial and it’s not too far off.
You can manipulate the wooden chain links in anyway you want – lay them flat, stand them up, use as part of a coffee table vignette or decorate a shelf.
The original mango wood chain links were $40 CDN. Mine = free!
But that does not take into account the hours of labour; and it did take a bit to get everything sanded smooth.
I haven’t seen any DIY wooden chain links on Pinterest, so I hope I’m the first one to share how to make your own. It certainly is an interesting accent piece that you can put anywhere.
I don’t know that I’d try to build this DIY decor any smaller than the overall 5″ by 7 ½” size per wood chain link, unless you are a whittler and can carve the shape. The cutting and sanding (and routing) on my version was already a bit tight, so any smaller might be an effort in frustration.
I hope you like this idea – I know I’m pretty thrilled with the results.
BUT… just in case a DIY version of a wooden chain isn’t on your building radar, I’ve put together a few that you can find on Amazon (affiliate links – for full affiliate disclosure, please see sidebar or bottom of the page)
Now go get your cocoa, turn on Netflix and chill the rest of your Sunday away.
Have a great one!