Sunday, February 13, 2011

Wooden Bookmarks: Start to Finish

As I mentioned in my previous post titled, More than Just Puzzles we make….well….more than puzzles. We started branching off slowly making small intarsia ornaments, simple fretwork art, and a few other projects. Now we are starting to spearhead different items straight on. We have several different wooden bookmarks up in our etsy store. This is the first new item type that we are offering online.


A hodgepodge of bookmarks

They are all getting roughly the same amount of attention in our store. Not enough! That’s why this post is going to be all about bookmarks!! Our favorites and how we make them. My wife's favorite so far is the Dragonfly Bookmark. Not sure why but I like the Question Mark Bookmark a lot.

Question Mark

Dragonfly Bookmark


The wood that we use is very thin scrap pieces of mahogany. It has a beautiful rust-brown color to the wood. The scraps come in all different thicknesses, sizes, and condition. Some pieces require very little preparation work while others is a nightmare.  We select a few pieces, sand them smooth, and cut them into blanks.

Top 3 boards are sanded scraps, bottom two are rough sawn.

Thickness of boomark material compared to a nickle

Blanks are basically a bookmark with no detail work done to it. For most of our cutting, we stack 2-4 blanks together, attach a pattern, and get to work! Holes are drilled with a drill press to cut out each fret. If you take a look at the Fretwork Heart Bookmark which we recently listed, it has 4 frets (4 separated cut sections) to create the heart image.  I’ve had several people ask me how on earth I managed to cut such fine lines on the interior of the wood. Surprisingly most of the people who ask me have done some woodworking themselves just never on such small detail as my work.

Bookmark blanks

Heart Fretwork Bookmark


I use a #3 reverse tooth blade (I’ll be writing a future post about blades) to do all the cutting for bookmarks. This is a very thin blade and allows me to cut out sharp angles and intricate shapes like our Cross Bookmark.

Showing size of saw blade

Cross Bookmark


Once they are cut, they are finish sanded using a sanding mop. This rounds over all the edges, removes any burs, and smooth’s the wood to an almost silky feel. Currently, our method of applying a finish is to coat both sides with a gloss laquer spray. I’m one for experimenting with different finishing methods. We are testing a few other products now and depending on the results, we may change how we apply a finish to the wood. And that’s it. A premium, handmade wooden bookmark is ready for action!


Sanding mop

Any questions about the process? Leave a comment and I’ll be glad to answer.

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