Introduction: Turned and Carved Maple Vase

About: I started woodworking with my grandfather as a young boy. I continued woodworking through high school, and started woodturning after seeing a turned project in a friends shop. Some of my fondest memories are w…

I collabed with my wife Robin on this piece. She started turning a few weeks ago and has really been enjoying it. Robin shaped the outside, and I hollowed it out and carved the top to look like water.

Step 1: Tools


Robust Lathe

East Wood Tools

Thompson Tools

Carving mount

Led magnifying light

Howard Beeswax

Forstner Bit


Hollowing rig

Foam Sanding Pad

Wood dye and lacquer

Step 2: Making a Tenon

We started with a piece of Maple 6" x 14". Robin made a tenon on one end 3/4" x 3 1/4" using a square carbide cutter. The lathe speed is 800 rpm. We'll use the tenon to mount it in the 4 jawed chuck.

Step 3: Shaping the Outside of the Vase

I mounted the piece in the chuck using the tenon Robin made. Bring the tail stock up to support the piece to minimize vibration. We turned the lathe speed up to 1000 rpm, and Robin shaped the outside of the vase using a Easy Wood #1 carbide tool.

Step 4: Hollowing

To hollow out the inside I started with a 1 1/2" forstner bit to set the depth and remove the wood in the center. When drilling with a forstner bit, slow the lathe speed down to 200 rpm so you don't burn the bit. Before hollowing it out with the hollowing tool turn the lathe speed back up to about 1000 rpm. To remove the rest of the material I used a hollowing rig with a laser pointer attachment. The laser makes figuring out the wall thickness really easy.

Step 5: Carving Out the Pattern

I pulled the piece off the lathe and used a carving mount to do the carving and dying. I drew out a simple pattern with a pencil. To carve out the water pattern I used a small router with a 1/4" bit. I was a little skeptical at first. I've never used a router on a turned piece like this, but It really did a great job. I started sanding with 80 grit and worked my way up to 400 grit.

Step 6: Burning

I burnt around the pattern with a wood burner. This was only to prevent the wood dye from bleeding into the bare wood.

Step 7: Dying and Putting on the Finish

I taped off the bare wood with painters tape, and applied a wood dye. After the dye dried, I finished it with a gloss lacquer finish.

Step 8: Shaping the Bottom

I mounted it back on the lathe and with a bowl gouge I shaped the bottom of the vase. I took a parting tool and brought down the material to make it easier to cut it off with a handsaw. The lathe speed is 1000 rpm.

Step 9: Wax Finish

I sanded up to 600 grit with Howard bees wax. The Howard will also be used as the finish. After applying the finish I cut the tenon off with a handsaw. I then hand sanded the bottom and applied more finish.

Step 10: Finished Piece

I really enjoyed making this piece and it was fun to collab with Robin.