FAQ – Wood Stretch Ear Plugs (Maintenance and Safety)

Why buy wood stretch ear plugs?

Wood ear plugs have that natural beauty to them.  Wood ear plugs can also be sculpted into different shapes and colored with wood stains, or decorated with engravings or carvings.  Wood overlays are also very popular.

Wood ear plugs offer a change from the more “industrial” look of metal and plastic ear plugs.

 

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Zebrawood ear plugs.

 

Do wood ear plugs need upkeep?

Wood earplugs do not require much upkeep.  Oil them occasionally with mineral oil (cheaply available at your local drugstore) to keep the wood looking fresh, and even darkened over time, which makes the wood look even better as the grain becomes more apparent.

To wipe off dust or grime from wood ear plugs, use a mild soap, such as Dial.

Prolonged exposure to water or moisture can warp and crack wood. Take out wood ear plugs when showering or swimming.

When possible, avoid exposing wood ear plugs to alcohol-based cleaning products (like antibacterial santitizers) and direct heat or sunlight as these can dry out the wood.

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These ear plugs were created by layering differently-colored wood and are kept shiny using simple mineral oil.

 

Are wood plugs safe?

Wood plugs are safe for healed ear stretches and piecings.

Their porous nature can harbor bacteria, which can cause irritation and infection in healing tissue, so only use wood ear plugs once your stretch or piercing has healed completely

Skin lotions and hair spray can also soak into wood and cause skin irritation, so avoid exposing them to these products.

 

You can find the full Geekwood catalogue of wood ear plugs here.

How to make a Woodburned Dice Box

Dice boxes are elegant ways to store your most precious weapons: polyhedral dice.

This blog post will describe how to make a simple wood polyhedral dice box.

1. Make (or purchase) a wooden box.

You can make your own box from scratch, or buy some from your local hobby store.

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2. Make dice slots

Measure the interior of your box and cut a piece of wood based on those measurements.  I recommend drilling holes before cutting the sides, as the piece can break if there’s not enough resistance in the wood.

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3. Woodburn the box cover

Using a woodburning tool, burn a design of your choice on the cover.  I recommend googling “d20 design” and finding a design you like.

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4. Stain and varnish everything

Before gluing all the pieces together, stain and varnish all the pieces.

 

5. Put everything together

Once the woodburning is done, the holes are drilled and the piece cut, cut a piece of foam sheet and place it in the bottom of the box (green is my favourite colour).  You can then glue the dice slots piece into place.

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There are many types of dice boxes you can make.  Below are three models that I myself have made:

 

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These dice boxes are available for sale on my site www.geekwood.ca

How to make a Wood D&D Dice Tower

Dice towers make great gifts for Dungeon Masters.  They add suspense to rolls and prevent dice from falling to the floor!

I stumbled across some ash that had a D20-sized knothole at my local wood supplier and though it would make a great dice tower.  To add some color, I used some torrefied ash for the smaller parts.

This blog post will describe the simple process of making a dice tower.

1. Cut the sides and bottom of the dice tower.

This dice tower was created without a formal plan.  It is eight inches high, and six inches in depth.  The width was determined by the size of the glass pane, which I purchased from the Dollar Store (I threw away the frame – but kept the glass).

The parts shown below are the two sides, the back, the bottom and the front.

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The grooves in which the glass panes will fit were cut using a table saw and finished by hand, and the rounded cuts on the sides were made using a scroll saw.  The joints are plain 45-degree miter joints.

With the 4 x 6 piece of glass bought from a frame from the Dollar Store, you have all the parts you need to make the dice tower.  Again, I use the piece of glass to determine the width of the dice tower, as illustrated below.

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2. Glue the parts together.

Once all the pieces have been cut, you can glue all the parts together – except for the top part.  Wait before gluing the top part and putting in the glass pane, because you’ll want to stain and varnish the dice tower before that step.  However, putting in the glass pane during the gluing process can keep the dice tower straight.

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3. Cut the top part of the dice tower.

For this project, the top part was cut from the pieces with a knothole.  For other dice towers, I simply drill a one-inch hole using a drill press.  Less elegant, but functional!

 

4. Add the smaller bits.

I measured and cut some torrefied wood to make the smaller parts.  The angle of the three angled parts is about 15 degrees.  The bottom part is a straightforward 45-degree cut.

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5. Stain, varnish and glue everything together

Now that everything is ready, you can stain and varnish the pieces.  Again, don’t forget to put in the glass pane in after staining and varnishing, but before gluing the top.  And there you have a beautiful dice tower!

These dice towers are available for sale on my site www.geekwood.ca

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How to make a Pixel Art Cutting Board

Cutting boards are a rite of passage for any new woodworker.  They are easy to make, and are great projects with all the extra scrap wood we end up with.

Creating pixel art with wood is called marquetry.

This blog post will cover the basics of marquetry, as related to making video game sprites.

(Note: the photographs below are from the Super Mario Bros. Power-Up Mushroom cutting board, which is why there are more pieces than you would expect from the Space Invaders Alien.)

1. Choose your sprite

The bigger the pattern, the bigger (and more difficult) the cutting board.  Old-school sprites, like the Space Invaders Alien or the Super Mario Bros. Power-Up Mushroom are good choices as they have a limited number of pixels.

For example, the Space Invaders Alien contains only 130 pixels, while the Super Mario Bros. Power-Up Mushroom has 324 pixels.  A bigger sprite would be even more!

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The bigger the sprite, the more pixels there are!

 

2. Get your wood

I like to use maple and walnut for cutting boards, as they are dense, hard woods.  This is important for cutting boards, as softer woods are usually more absorbant (which is not ideal for a kitchen accessory like a cutting board) and less resistant to being washed.

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I will be using maple, walnut and amaranthe for this project.

 

3. Cut your wood into small pieces

Choose the size of the pixels of your cutting board, then cut wood pieces accordingly by their height and width.  Give yourself more depth (for waste at the end of the project, or if you plan to make a series).  Make sure you prepare enough pieces as you have pixels for your sprite.

I usually make pieces that are between half an inch and a full inch by about 4 inches in depth, as illustrated below.

 

4. Prepare the separate columns (or rows)

The trick to doing marquetry is to prepare each column (or row) individually, then glue them together, not to glue individual pieces together.  In this example, one row will have 5 pieces of maple, 3 pieces of walnut, then another 2 pieces of maple glued together.

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Protip: There is an advantage to using symmetrical sprites, as you can prepare half the number of bands.

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With symmetrical designs, you only have to prepare half the number of bands, as the bands on one side are identical to the bands on the other side!

 

5. Glue the separate columns together (in the right order)

After trimming the bands that you have prepared, they are ready to be glued together!

Protip: Use end fibers for the part that will be used to cut on.  Doing this prevents fibers from splitting and scarring, and also makes the board more solid, as the glue will be able to bond onto the wood fibers.

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6. Sand and oil your final product

Once everything has been glued together, you will want to sand it to a smooth finish.  If you have a planer, this can save you much time, but I recommend putting an extra row to cut off, as chipping frequently occurs when using a planer.  Otherwise, an orbital sander will do the trick.

I use plain old mineral oil to oil my cutting boards, as it is food safe and can be bought at your local drugstore.

Below are two finalized pixel art projects I have done.  My first Space Invaders Alien cutting boards had the endgrain sides glued together, and there was apparent splitting after several weeks of putting it in water.  I have since learned my lesson and now only make cutting boards with the endgrain facing up.

These cutting boards are available for sale on my site www.geekwood.ca

Geekwood is for everybody

I love making geeky things out of wood and sharing my experiences and projects with the world.

I learned the basics of woodworking at a local centre called Artebois in Quebec City.

My workshop is located in Saint-Marcel-de-l’Islet in Quebec, by the lake Fontaine-Claire.

When I’m not woodworking, I enjoy playing video games, Magic: the Gathering and Dungeons & Dragons.

I’m also an English teacher at a local community college.

I can be found in the following places:

 

Please contact me for any questions or special requests at dungeonmaster@geekwood.ca

 

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