This article appeared in The Final Cut, Volume 20, Issue 12, December 2008
I have been turning ornaments for a few years now after
taking a class with Bob Rosand at Maryland Hall. The ornament consists of three parts – a
hollow globe, an icicle (finial), and a cap.
To turn the globe I start with a 2 1/2” x 2 1/2” x 2” block of wood on a
glue block. I shape the outside with a
gouge and hollow the inside with hollowing tools I made in the Rosand
class. The wall thickness usually ends
up between 1/16” to 1/8”. The last batch
of globes I turned weighted around 15 grams (1/2 ounce) each. The icicle and cap are turned from a piece of
wood 1 1/2” x 1 1/2” x 7” that is held in four jaw chuck. These are turned with
a 1/4” round skew and a detail gouge. I
must give credit to both Bob Rosand and Cindy Drozda for teaching me the
techniques I use to turn them. If I am
going to add color to a part I do it before assembling the pieces and I use
alcohol based dyes. The parts are glued
together with carpenter’s glue and a brass screw eye completes the cap. For the
finish I spray a couple of coats of Deft Gloss Lacquer. The final touch is a wire hanger I make using
brass wire and a simple jig.
I have two special tools that I can’t do without. The first is a piece of Formica (see above picture) that contains all the information I need to turn the ornament. This template has all the diameters, layout lines, and profiles I need to turn ornaments consistently the same. The second is a caliper (see picture below) I use to measure wall thickness on the globes. I first saw this caliper at the 2006 AAW Symposium at a session with J. Paul Fennel for which I assisted. It is easy to make and easy to use.
I am often asked about the stands I make. For the base, I turn a flat disc (usually maple) with slightly rounded edges. I use wire insulation supports that you can find at any home center to make the support arms. If the stand has multiple arms they are held together with epoxy – don’t use CA glue, it will fail (2010, I now braze the wires together). The stands are painted with a black spray finish.
If you want a good article on turning ornaments see American Woodturner, Volume 19 Number 3, Fall 2004 or find it on Bob Rosand’s website http://www.rrosand.com/articles/19-3.shtml
Bob Rosand, hollowing tools and round skews
#59 drill bit for pilot holes for screw eyes
Calipers, call Tim Moore, $10
Woodworks Ltd. http://www.craftparts.com
Brass Screw Eyes, 7/16" overall length, #17 wire size,
inside eye diameter 1/8", length of shank 3/16"
Brass Screw Eyes, 5/16" overall length
inside eye diam 1/32", length of shank 13/64"
Home Depot or Lowes
My daughter’s fingernail polish
Feibings USMC Black leather dye – Tandy, Inc.
Chestnut alcohol based dyes – Craft Supplies USA https://www.woodturnerscatalog.com
Deft spray lacquer - Home Depot or Lowes
7x3x3 White Die Cut Mailers [Model M733]