Awards for iMore

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July 6th, 2013 | 5 comments

We recently worked with iMore to produce awards for their hall of fame ceremony during WWDC 2013. Since we were fresh out of gold ingots, we opted to make them from Walnut, nature’s next best thing.



big-walnut-web What was once a majestic walnut tree, towering tens of feet above the scampering critters of the forest, is now a majestic slab of lumber. It now towers over just the one critter.

make-blocks The table saw and chop saw made short work of the slab. I ground up the remaining scraps into a hearty stew, which gave me energy to complete this project. It’s the vegan equivalent of “use the whole animal.”

make-chop2 I used a chop saw to knock down the corners a bit.

make-chop-corners The chopped corners helped reduce the work needed to round them off.

make-routered I made a simple jig from acrylic to guide the bit around the corner, perfectly matching the ratio of an actual iOS icon. Since my bit wasn’t as tall as the wood, I had to make the cut in two passes.

make-router Nothing is as great as a perfectly routed piece of wood. Unless you have chocolate pudding. Go get the pudding.

make-fan After routing, I lay exhausted on the floor for several days. Paula took this cool photo while standing on my slumbering form.

Sand and Varnish

sand-diptych A zip around the belt sander helped the blend the routed corners with the sides. You can see the pre-sanded forms on the right, with shocking transitions from corner to flat.


spray Before etching, I sprayed a few layers of clear coat and let them dry for a day. This helps with cleanup after etching, and allows the masking to make a crisp seal against the front.

wood Drying in the sun, just like my dreams of being an experimental parachute test pilot.

Etch and Paint

paint-mask I applied a sticky film to the front of the awards, and wrapped the sides and back with cling film.

etch The laser burns through the clear film and into the wood.

paint-before I’ll usually roll up a $100 bill and snort off the residue powder left after etching, but I had just eaten that wood stew. Either way, make sure the wood is clear of dust before painting.

paint-white I used a white primer to fill the etched areas. Primer works great because it dries quickly, and I’m an impatient man.

paint-all I laid the painted awards out under a ceiling fan to dry.

paint-dry After drying, I peeled off all the tiny bits of film and plastic. This step only took several weeks.

make-drying It looks all professional and stuff!

Final Results

single-louie hold-mike rows1 hold-paula closeup-text rows-angle