Introduction: Decorative Wooden Totem Pole - I MADE THIS AT TECHSHOP

For this demonstration I am going to use:


     â˜ž 1 Plank of Cedar Wood 1" thick 4"x6' width grain*
     â˜ž 1 Plank of Poplar Wood 1" think 4"x6' width grain*
     â˜ž Elmer's Carpenter Glue
     â˜ž Sandpaper (80, 220, 450 grits)
     â˜ž Finish (Flax Seed Oil)

Hand Tools:

     â˜ž Pencil
     â˜ž Tape Measure
     â˜ž 1x 2' Bar Clamp (Quick Grip)
     â˜ž Safety Goggles
     â˜ž Computer Workstation w/ Corel Draw

Shop Tools**

     â˜ž Woodworking Bandsaw (JET Model JWDS-14CS)
     â˜ž Wood Lathe (Powermatic Model 4224)
     â˜ž Wood Turning Kit (Delta Cat. No. 46-640)
     â˜ž Laser Engraver w/ Rotary Attachment (Epilog Legend Helix 24)

* I used scrap wood that added up to about this. Ultimately you need 20x 4"x4" squares of wood.
** I MADE THIS AT TECHSHOP - Use of these Shop Tools requires taking and passing classes:
          • WOD101: Wood Shop SBU (for use of Bandsaw)
          • WOD103: Wood Lathe SBU
          • LAS101: Laser Cutting and Etching SBU
          • LAS201: Laser Engraver Rotary Attachment SBU

Step 1: Make a Wood Block

Cut wood to 10 4"x4" squares of each type using the Bandsaw. Alternating grain direction and type of wood, liberally apply Carpenter Glue to faces, stack, and Clamp firmly. Allow to dry overnight..

While work is drying, time could be spent designing your patters for the laser as explained in Steps 3 & 4.

(Note: I had some odd scrap. Each face was at least this big in case you are wondering what is going on in the picture)

Step 2: Make a Dowel

Now that the block is dry, use the Safety GogglesWood Lathe, and Wood Turning Kit to turn block to round lengthwise. Sand smooth and finish.

⚠ Warning #1: Turning blocks to round is a delicate process that is potentially dangerous. This is not an Instructable demonstrating how to safely turn blocks to round.

⚠ Warning #2: Ensure that your finish is Laser safe! "Unsafe" finishes have the potential for producing highly toxic fumes upon combustion from the laser. Flax Seed Oil is Laser safe.

Step 3: Design and Engrave

Measure the length and circumference of your dowel. In CorelDraw, set your canvas width to the length of the dowel, and the height of the canvas to the circumference. Of note, if you do not want your totem pole to have a seam, add some extra height for overlap. Just be sure that in those places at the top and bottom of your canvas that the actual engraving will not be in the same place. Also, keep in mind that the left edge of your canvas will be the top of your totem pole.

For mine, I wanted deep, sharp cuts. For this I found images that were 2-bit black and white with intricate detail. Once having the Laser and Rotary Tool setup, I found the side of my dowel I liked best and placed that facing straight up.

For engraving preferences:
     â˜ž Raster Only
     â˜ž 600 dpi
     â˜ž 20% Speed
     â˜ž 90% power
     â˜ž Center-Left Alignment
     â˜ž print area = canvas size (15½"x6½")

Note: Job took 57½ minutes.