Tim Moore - Christmas Ornaments - June 2015

This article appeared in The Final Cut, Volume 20, Issue 12, December 2008

(updated 6/2015)

Christmas Ornaments by Tim Moore

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

Brass screw eyes

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"

Brass wire for hangers


Insulation support wire

Home Depot or Lowes

Brass Rod

Hobby Lobby


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


MrBoxOnline http://www.mrboxonline.com

7x3x3 White Die Cut Mailers [Model M733]

Tim Moore