Wood Eyeglasses

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Forum topic by ThatsGlitchy posted 07-08-2013 06:51 PM 1591 views 1 time favorited 16 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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3 posts in 1805 days

07-08-2013 06:51 PM

Topic tags/keywords: jig question

Hello Everyone, I’m fresh in the wood working scene looking for some help with an at home project.

I bought a new pair of eyeglasses and I’m not too excited about them. I’ve always wanted to make a handmade wooden pair and this would be the ideal opportunity as I can use the lenses from my recently purchased pair.

Although this is going to be a very vague request and I’m sure my first pair will be a prototype as I learn, can someone help me prepare and build these bad boys?

I have a few high level general questions to start:
What tools will I need?
What type of wood(s) do you recommend?
Is there anything in your mind that I should be aware/take note of during this project?

If anyone has done this before, please let me know and I’d love to hear more about your story.

Thanks so much!!

16 replies so far

View crank49's profile


4032 posts in 2992 days

#1 posted 07-08-2013 07:37 PM

The position of the lenses, relative to your eyes, MUST be exactly the same as the purchased glasses. This includes the angle, distance and focal center. Miss this by a millimeter and you can cause headaches at best, at worse you could damage your eyes over time because they will adjust to the error. But that might be an adjustment the optometrist wants.

I might start out just making some covers for the temple pieces or something. See how that goes.

View ThatsGlitchy's profile


3 posts in 1805 days

#2 posted 07-08-2013 09:54 PM

Thanks for your reply, crank49. That is a great point I will take note of.

Any recommendations on tools to use? Or best practices?

Thanks again!

View Loren's profile (online now)


10476 posts in 3669 days

#3 posted 07-08-2013 10:04 PM

There’s an article on making eyeglass frames in some old
Fine Woodworking back issue – so old it’s in black and white.

View StumpyNubs's profile


7598 posts in 2822 days

#4 posted 07-08-2013 10:09 PM

As a lifelong eyeglass wearer I have to respectfully disagree with Crank. Distance makes a difference, but a millimeter? Many of the glasses I have worn have had those little bendable nose rests. Over time those things bend and have to be bent back. i usually do it by hand, and sometimes they are in one position, sometimes others. That affects the distance the lenses are from my eyes a great deal. Yet I have never found it to be an issue, and in 35 years my prescription had changed very, very little, so it’s not as if my eyes have adjusted.

-- Subscribe to "Stumpy Nubs Woodworking Journal"- One of the crafts' most unique publications:

View RonInOhio's profile


721 posts in 2885 days

#5 posted 07-08-2013 10:12 PM

This is an intersting idea and one that I have never heard of . My thought would be to use a set of frames for your prescription lenses, those will be a guide for your prototype. That is, use the part of the frame that holds the lenses
and try to emulate those inside contours and dimensions.

Seems like some carving will likely be neccessary. There are so many nice looking wood types that I couldn’t really begin to suggest one.

While some people’s corrective lenses may have to be right-on , to prevent headaches and such, I have worn glasses all my life and often make make adjustments for tightness and fit and really don’t have issues. I’m not an eye doctor , while the fit needs to be within a small range, not sure if it has to be within a millimeter.

I know mine get bent around and abused at times so there is no way mine are within any kind of tight tolerance. LOL.

The main critical measurements would be the distance from the inside face of the lens, to your eyes .And of course, the angle of the lens relative to how they sit on your nose. The convexing of the lense you could follow by using measurements from your prescribed pair of glasses.

View shampeon's profile


1775 posts in 2205 days

#6 posted 07-08-2013 10:18 PM

Mine slide down my nose more than millimeter, but I do agree that the lenses need to be in the same location in the new frames, and also at the same angle, and same distance apart.

-- ian | "You can't stop what's coming. It ain't all waiting on you. That's vanity."

View Buckethead's profile


3194 posts in 1890 days

#7 posted 07-08-2013 10:22 PM

Not only the position relative to your pupil, but the axis of any cylinder in your correction. (Myopia and hyperopia are corrected spherically, and astigmatism is corrected cylindrically)

Change the axis of your lens and the correction could become a detriment.

If you’re over 40, you likely have multi focal lenses. Segment height is yet another consideration.

So… Pupillary distance, axis, and segment height.

I find it highly unlikely that even a master carpenter could fit the lenses to a new frame appropriately. Lenses are made to fit frames, not the reverse. A weaker spherical only correction will allow more tolerance.

If you do attempt this, take them to your optician to have them checked on the lensometer.

(Yup… I did a stint as an apprentice optician in my younger days.)

-- Support woodworking hand models. Buy me a sawstop.

View woodcox's profile


2037 posts in 2033 days

#8 posted 07-08-2013 10:47 PM

Just veneer over top of them somehow, or a marry of wood and parts of the original frames for alignment. Just a thought. I would start with a dremel type rotary tool, small riffler file set and an exacto knife set.
Go for it.
Keep duability in mind with your wood thicknesses. Wood moves!

-- "My god has more wood than your god" ... G. Carlin.

View crank49's profile


4032 posts in 2992 days

#9 posted 07-08-2013 10:48 PM

Perhaps everyone’s eyes are not the same when it comes to sensitivity?
I’m 63, been wearing glasses since I was 6. I had a pair of glasses I got at one of the discount vision places that constantly gave me headaches. My optometrist gave me a good lecture about those glasses. He was the one who told me a millimeter could screw up my eyes. I do have a very bad astigmatism.

But, as far as adjusting, I have to wear a prescription that is slightly less powerful than what I would like because my eyes would keep adjusting and needing a new prescription ever year. When I went to a specialist he told me that would be the case and with the less powerful lenses I haven’t needed a prescription change in probably 15 years. YMMV of course.

View 1thumb's profile


78 posts in 2178 days

#10 posted 07-08-2013 11:45 PM

I’ve seen, on the internet, wooden frame Wayfarer sunglasses. Very cool

View Redoak49's profile (online now)


3277 posts in 2010 days

#11 posted 07-08-2013 11:46 PM

The other night there was a show called the “Shark Tank” were people pitch their ideas to a bunch of rich business people in the hopes that they will invest in their business. Three guys pitched wooden glasses that they are making and are already selling. It is called Proof Eyeware.

You may want to take a look at what they are doing.

View bold1's profile


293 posts in 1868 days

#12 posted 07-09-2013 12:02 AM

I believe Buttonwood (Sycamore) would be my choice to try this with.

View Loren's profile (online now)


10476 posts in 3669 days

#13 posted 07-09-2013 12:13 AM

You do need to get lenses that are ground for the
correct distance from your pupil centers in relation
to the frames. If you are taking the lenses from
another frame and the lenses work for you,
make sure they are the same distance apart.

View ThatsGlitchy's profile


3 posts in 1805 days

#14 posted 07-09-2013 01:55 PM

Hi Woodcox, thanks so much for your response! This is the information I’m really looking for:
“Just veneer over top of them somehow, or a marry of wood and parts of the original frames for alignment. Just a thought. I would start with a dremel type rotary tool, small riffler file set and an exacto knife set.
Go for it.
Keep duability in mind with your wood thicknesses. Wood moves!”

I appreciate all of the other advice on wearing glasses and how the distance and everything else goes into a prescription – that has been duly noted. I understand this much, as woodworking is where I’m looking for help.

I’ll look into the tools you’ve provided, Woodcox, and let you all know how it goes!

Thanks again, everyone. Please keep me posted on any further advice, but just the woodworking aspect of it please (bending wood tips for example)

View MrRon's profile


4793 posts in 3265 days

#15 posted 07-09-2013 07:24 PM

You can use conventional tools to “rough” out the parts for the frame. The final finish will require lots of hand fitting. I’m not to crazy about the idea. The wood you use will not be very strong. You will have cross grain and end grain in a very small cross section. That means a very dense wood would be needed. Another factor is wood toxicity. Some woods are toxic through contact with the skin.

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