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Develop a fragile contact by creating swish shapes.

As an alternative choice to mass-produced gadgets, Christmas ornaments rank excessive on the checklist. They simply turn out to be treasured keepsakes and the fragile spindle work and hole turning concerned will definitely take a look at your abilities.

Each decoration accommodates three components. I recommend making the lengthy “icicle” spindle first, then the highest cap and final, the hole bulb. This strategy permits cautious becoming of the icicle and cap to the bulb in addition to understanding the proportions to reinforce the general look.

Part of designing wood ornaments is deciding on and mixing supplies.  For the spindle work, virtually something goes, however dense woods akin to laborious maple, cherry, cocobolo and goncalo alves are effectively suited to turning the skinny diameters and high-quality particulars that characterize one of the best ornaments. The hole bulb-shaped physique may be turned from just about any interesting-looking wooden or different materials, together with spalted wooden, dyed, bleached or coloured wooden, plywood, plastic—even Banksia pods.

To hole the bulb, you’ll want a small straight scraper and at the least one offset or bent scraper. The remainder of the turning may be performed with primary spindle-turning instruments: a roughing gouge, a element gouge, a skinny kerf parting software and skew chisel.

Turn the Icicle

Photo 1. The decoration accommodates three components, a spherical or oval bulb, a cap and an icicle! Mount a clean for the icicle within the scroll chuck. Engage the tailstock’s stay middle. Then use a roughing gouge to around the clean.

Install a 3/4″ to 1″ sq. clean in a scroll chuck, utilizing the small jaws (Photo 1). This clean may be so long as you need, however 4″ is an efficient size to start out with. Use the tailstock to middle the clean within the chuck: Loosely mount the clean within the chuck, after marking the middle of its tailstock finish. Bring up the tailstock and have interaction its stay middle within the clean’s middle mark. Then tighten the chuck).

Photo 2. Turn the top of the spindle right down to about 3/8″ dia. after eradicating the tailstock. The purpose is to create a spindle that’s skinny and delicate, like an icicle.

Round the clean along with your roughing gouge, being cautious to not get too near the jaws of the chuck.

Photo 3. Create tiny particulars of your personal design. Start on the finish of the spindle and work in the direction of the headstock, to keep away from a break. Making your decoration as gentle as a feather, so it hangs effortlessly, is one other purpose.

Pull away the tailstock and begin working that finish of the clean (Photo 2). Move one step towards the headstock after ending every element. It’s fairly troublesome to return, because of the small diameters (Photo 3).

Photo 4. Flare the shoulder as you close to the chuck. Leave adequate materials between the shoulder and the chuck to create a tenon and half off the spindle.

As you close to the chuck jaws, go away room for 3 components: a flared shoulder, a tenon and adequate waste materials for parting off (Photo 4).

Photo 5. Cut a 1/4″ lengthy tenon with a skinny kerf parting software. Turn the diameter to only over 1/2″, so you may fastidiously match the tenon into the physique of the decoration.

The tenon is predicated on the dimensions of the bulb, so a diameter simply over 1/2″ is an efficient starter for the ornaments proven right here (Photo 5).

Photo 6. Undercut the again of the flared shoulder, so it’ll match snugly towards the bulb’s rounded floor. Then fastidiously half off the icicle.

Undercut the within of the shoulder with the lengthy level of the skew or a skinny kerf parting software (Photo 6). This is difficult, since you’re working so near the chuck jaws, so go at it fastidiously. The purpose is to create a concave space that the bulb will nest into so as to create a clean-looking joint.

Complete the icicle by mixing the shoulder into the detailed a part of the turning. Finish-sand after which half off the icicle from the chuck.

Turn the Cap

You could make the cap from wooden left within the chuck from turning the icicle, a contrasting wooden, or materials of a bigger diameter than the icicle. Whichever you select, mount the clean within the scroll chuck.

Photo 7. Mount a brief, sq. clean for the cap. As earlier than, flip from the top of the clean in the direction of the chuck. You can create the tenon on both finish, relying on how delicately you propose to form the cap’s high.

Establish and switch the tenon for mounting the cap to the bulb (Photo 7). If you propose to show a cap with lengthy and delicate shaping, it’s greatest to show the tenon on the headstock finish, as I did whereas turning the icicle. Otherwise, the tenon can go on both finish of the clean. I usually flip this tenon to the identical diameter that I used for the icicle’s tenon.

Photo 8. Work the highest of the cap. If you intend to drill a gap for hanging the decoration, create a small ball or elliptical form on the top of the cap. If you intend to string in a steel eyelet, simply go away a small flat space on the very high.

Turn tiny particulars and a concave shoulder, as you probably did on the icicle (Photo 8). Again, the concave shoulder will create a clear, flush match while you connect the cap to the bulb.

Decide how the decoration will grasp, both from a gap drilled via the cap or from a steel eyelet threaded into high of the cap. For an eyelet, simply present a small flat space for mounting. For a via gap, flip a 1/4″ to three/8″ diameter spherical or elliptical form on the high of the cap. Finish sand and half off the cap from the chuck.

If you selected through-hole hanging, flatten the form you turned on the high of the cap by sanding each side. One straightforward approach to do that is to mount a small sanding disc within the headstock, utilizing a Jacob’s type chuck. Finish up by drilling a 1/8″ gap via the flattened space. If you’re going to string in an eyelet, merely drill a small pilot gap on the highest of the cap.

Turn the Bulb

Decide on the bulb’s form and dimensions. Shaping choices embrace a ball, an ellipse and an egg, to call a couple of. The bulb’s measurement may be fairly different, however I recommend beginning with one thing round 1-1/2″ to 1-3/4″ in diameter and about 2″ in size.  Allow further size for mounting the clean within the chuck in addition to the extra materials that you just’ll want for turning the bulb from each ends.

Photo 9. Mount the sq. for the bulb within the scroll chuck’s common measurement jaws.

Start the sq. clean between facilities to create a tenon for the small jaws or set up the common jaws and straight mount the clean. (Photo 9).

Photo 10. Shape the clean into an egg or ball kind, utilizing the roughing gouge. Leave the headstock finish a bit oversize.

Create the bulb’s primary form, however don’t scale back the diameter fully on the headstock finish (Photo 10).

Photo 11. When the bulb’s form is about 80% full, drill a 1/2″ dia. gap roughly three-quarters of the way in which via. Wrap a chunk of tape on the bit to gauge the depth.

Using a Jacob’s type chuck mounted within the tailstock, drill a 1/2″ gap about three-quarters via the bulb (Photo 11).

Fit the icicle to the bulb. You might have to barely enlarge the opening to suit the tenon. You may have to evenly form the top of the bulb, so it suits into the icicle’s concave shoulder. When the icicle suits completely, finish-sand the skin of the bulb.

Hollowing via a small opening is a type of blind turning. Using the small straight scraper, open up the within of the physique. Stop to clear chips typically and watch out to work the form to roughly match the skin. Keep the partitions at the least 1/4″ thick right now.

To create a light-weight bulb, you’ll have to additional scale back the wall thickness, a course of that requires making cautious measurements of the wall. Sometimes it’s attainable to make use of small double-ended calipers for measuring, however I take advantage of nothing greater than a bit of stiff, however springy wire. Bend the wire into the form proven in Photo 13, closed right down to about 1/4″ at its opening.  With the lathe off, insert the software and easily transfer it from the rim alongside the wall. When the wall thickness is 1/4″ the software will simply cross via. Thinner areas will present as a spot above the skin; thicker areas push the wire open.

Photo 12. Hollow the bulb in levels. First, use a straight scraper to develop the drilled gap. Then change to a bent-shaped scraper to work the within partitions.

You’ll want a bent-shaped scraper to succeed in the within areas from the bulb’s midpoint to only under the rim (Photo 12). Strive for a completed wall thickness between 1/8” to three/16”. Start from the rim, measure typically, and observe the bulb’s exterior form till you attain the top of the drilled gap.

Photo 13. Use a chunk of bent springy wire to gauge the wall thickness. Strive for a completed thickness between 1/8″ and three/16″¬—the thinner the partitions, the lighter the bulb.

The different finish can be accomplished in a later step, while you’ll remount the bulb, turned end-for-end, a way referred to as “reverse chucking” (Photo 13).

Photo 14. Part off the bulb, utilizing a skew chisel, after you’ve sanded to at the least 220 grit, so no software or scratch marks stay.

Part off the bulb from the chuck, a tiny bit longer than its completed size (Photo 14).

Turn a tenon and shoulder to mount the completed portion of the bulb. This is a difficult step: The tenon needs to be tight sufficient to carry the bulb firmly sufficient to drill and evenly flip the unfinished finish, however unfastened sufficient so that you can pull the bulb off when it’s completed.  If the tenon finally ends up barely undersize, to shim it with tissue paper so you may full the bulb.

Photo 15. Remount the completed a part of the bulb on a tenon and concave shoulder you’ve turned on the waste materials remaining within the chuck. Then full the bulb’s unfinished finish: Drill via, form the within and sand the skin.

Mount the bulb on the tenon. Then drill during, utilizing the Jacobs chuck, as earlier than. Then evenly flip the within partitions to mix into the areas beforehand turned from the other way (Photo 15).

Fit the cap to the bulb the identical approach you match the icicle. This entails becoming the tenon and evenly shaping the world across the opening to create a clear match. Finish-sand your complete exterior of the bulb.

Glue the cap and icicle to the bulb. You can use nearly any glue; I take advantage of quick-set epoxy. Hang your decoration with fishing line or thread.


I often apply end whereas the items are nonetheless on the lathe. You have quite a few decisions, together with shellac, wiping varnish or oil end.

Wax can also be an choice, to regulate the sheen. If you wait till the decoration is assembled, you can droop it earlier than making use of the end—then you can even use a spray-on end.


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