We went to an outlet shopping village this weekend where I got some Yankee Tea Light candles and decided to make some bases/holders for them. The pictures above are the final outcome, I will leave it to you to decide if they are Tea-lights or Egg-cups, but I think they could serve both purposes.
Step 1: Recycling Wood and Roughing Down
The first thing to do is to mount you stock wood in the Lathe. For this project it was simple as the recycled table leg I used was both the right size to fit my lathe jaws as well as being the size I wanted for the candle base.
I cut a length that would allow me to make more than one base and then roughed it down to a cylinder. doing it this way helps to ensure that additional tea light bases made would be of similar size.
I also used a parting tool to square off the end near the live center.
Step 2: Marking Up
The next job is fairly quick.
Take one of the Tea lights and mark its depth on the outside of the wood. Then turn the lathe on and draw a line at the marked depth, then put additional lines at points along the length where youo want the shape to change.
Step 3: Turning the Shape
Before you start to shape the outside you Must make the hole for the candle. I used a Forstner bit in a chuck on the tail stock of the lathe and drilled a hole deep enough to take the depth of the candle.
The Bit I had was not quite wide enough so I had to finish the hole with a scrapper.
With the hole cut I removed the chuck and put the live center back on the tail stock of the lathe and used the spike hole made by my drill bit to center the tail stock.(3rd picture) this is a good idea as it supports the wood while you turn and finish the outside shape.
Now use the lines that you made earlier to put a shape on the piece that you like
Step 4: Burnishing
Once you have finished shaping the piece, get some of the shavings from the floor (by now you should have quite a few) and carefully press them onto the spinning piece. This has the effect of removing most if not all of the scratches in the wood and you are left with a very smooth finish.
Step 5: Applying a Pattern
I decided to put a bit of patterning around the stem, for this I cut a small curve in the stem, then used a rotating cutter to cut a spiral pattern. once happy with the spiral, I used a parting tool to square off on either side of the pattern.
The final step was to use a stiff bristle brush to remove any imperfections in the spiral.
With that done I applied some friction polish and buffed the base finishing this step off by once again burnishing with the wood shavings.
When I was happy with the finish on the piece I used a parting tool again to remove it from the rest of the wood.
Note - If you cut slightly at an angle when taking it off the lathe it will need less effect to remove the small nib of wood left when it finally comes off. This will also mean that the candle will stand level on its base.
Step 6: The Finished Product
Once you have put all the effort in what is left is something that attractive and useful and as I said the same piece could either be and egg cup or a tea light stand. That choice is up to you.
I just have to make a few more so that I have a set.
Thanks for looking
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