Introduction: An Easter Egg for My Wife

Hello - you may have already seen a recent project of mine on how to make and use a shadow board "jig" to help you turn the perfect egg, sphere, oval - pretty much any shape you can draw on a piece of paper that has a flowing curve to it (the shape not the paper 😁).

If you haven't it might be worth your time to take a quick look here as with the shadow board project the templates for the shapes listed above can be downloaded from my web site at

I hope you enjoy this project as much as I did creating it. If you do please consider voting in the contest.

Step 1: Centring the Blank

The wood for the egg is a piece of partially spalted Ash. This just means that the wood had started to decay slightly, a process that can either give you a really great pattern to the grain or a nice bit of fire wood, I would keep away from wood thats overly patchy with areas that are almost white - these tend to be very soft making it difficult to get a balanced blank on the lathe. In this case it was the first option as you can see from the finished Egg pictures.

The wood was approximately 30 cm long and 13 to 14 cm square, which made it easy to accurately locate the centre. I used a simple centre locating guide (see the image) and marked a line from each corner to make a cross on each end. But I could have simply used a ruler and gone from corner to corner. With the centre marked I used a punch to make a reference point for mounting on the lathe

Step 2: Kiss and Mount

Before you start any bit of spindle turning its worth ensuring that the drive centre on the lathe is aligned to the rotating tail stock, especially if you have a lathe that has a head stock that and be rotated for bowl turning. If you look at the first image you can see the all that is required is to slide the tail stock up to the head stock to make sure that the two points meet. If they don't its simply a case of loosening the head stock and moving it until the points meet.

With that done I mounted the wood between the centres using the reference points made previously. I then the tool rest into place in front of the wood and rotated the wood by hand to be sure that it would rotate freely, not catching on the rest.

Step 3: Rounding Off and Chucking Points

Ready to turn - I started by rounding off the wood with a spindle roughing gouge. I then used a large parting tool to form a spigot at each end, long enough to fit into the jaws I was going to use, and a diameter a little over 8 cm. This was the first time I had used this set so I removed the woo from the lathe and sat the jaws on the spigots to check the fit. There needs to be a couple mm between the jaws when closed so that the wood is held securely.

Step 4: Starting to Turn

I was now ready to start shaping the egg so I attached the mounts for the shadow board and slid the board in place and then re-mounted the wood blank into the jaws. Although not shown in the images I also brought up the tail stock to help hold the wood at the other end. If you look at the imaged you can see that there is a line on the template behind the wood, this is the centre of the egg and was placed approximately half way along the blank.

I then put the light source directly over the centre point on the template and in front of the wood, this casts a shadow onto the template behind. All you then have to do is select a line on the template at the centre line that is inside the shadow and start turning, removing wood util you get to the line. This will be the line that will make for the largest egg possible from your bit of wood.

At this point you just need a rough shape of the egg and its better to stay just outside of the template line you are aiming for. The reason for this is coming next.

Step 5: Cracking the Egg

Not so much cracking as cutting the egg into two halves. You can see that egg has its shape and still has a sizeable block at each end. This is important as once parted each bit will be flipped and held in the jaws to be hollowed out and will need the support provided by the block at the end.

To cut the egg, locate the centre, not a hard task as you just need to look at the template and the vertical line that you positioned in the centre at the start. I hen used a parting tool to separate the two haves, almost all the way, then when almost there I switch off the lathe and used a small hand saw for the last cut, This avoids trapping the wood or having a piece fly off across the workshop.

Step 6: Hollowing Out

To hollow out the egg, I started with a Fostner bit and drill down to the depth I wanted and from there I used a combination of Bowl gouge, Spindle gouge and rounded scrapper to remove the wood ensuring to leave sufficient material to have a joint for the to haves of the egg. To get the size for the joint, when parting the egg I turned it so as to make a step and when I cut it in half I did not go flush to the top of the egg. This left a little raised circle on the top half and the step on the lower. Which meant that I would not have to measure to locate the fitting edge in the top when remove the wood in that bit - I would just need to take care not to remove wood past that raised point.

The original intention was to turn the egg then do a bit of piercing to make a pattern in the finished Easter Egg, so I placed a light on the far side on the egg and removed wood until I could just see light through the sides. Then I stopped and sanded the inside. I felt the grain in the wood was decorative enough and putting holes in it would spoil it, so no piercing for this box.

Completing the inside of the top was the same process only it did not have a step, just the hole up to the edge of that raised point. I also stopped periodically to test the fit of the bottom part, it had to be firm, but not overly tight.

I dont have a picture for the next bit, but if you look at the last one above I can explain.

The two parts are then put back together and mounted on the lathe, with the shadow board in the same location. Because the egg has been on and off the lathe you will have to adjust the different parts (template, light etc) to get the egg to line up to the line you are cutting to.

The egg will need a little reshaping because the act of cutting it in half removes a section of material from the centre and results in a step in the wood at the joint. This is why when you first shape the egg you do not cut all the way to the template line. With it all set up between centres again - you can finish shaping the egg and sanding through the grits to get a smooth finish. Then once the centre is finished you can start to remove move wood at each end until you reach a point where you an use the saw to cut the block from the top of the egg at which point remove the top of the egg and finish reducing the wood on the bottom of the egg to the point where you can cut it off with the saw. Once separated from the lathe the ends can be finished with hand sanding. The egg can now be polished on a buffing wheel.

Step 7: Finishing the Egg

The shaping of the egg is now finish, but I wanted the inside to look different from the outside, so I painted the inner parts with a mix of differing shades of gold paint. This has the effect of giving you a nice shape to look at with a bit of a surprise when you open it.

The egg looks great on the stand that I had made for one of my other eggs and will be the one it sits on with its chocolate content come Easter Sunday.

Thanks for reading and I hope you enjoyed it and that it has given you some ideas for your own projects.

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