(Very) Quick Woodturning Project

Introduction: (Very) Quick Woodturning Project

About: My name is Oli, I'm currently a student and I'm fascinated by the world. I have no structure to things I build - I just get an idea an build it! :P Whilst some things may be out of my skill level I like to thi…

Hello again!

So, a quick introduction, I decided to create the instructable to show how easy it is to create a decent wood product in very little time. In this case a small tealight holder as they are quick and easy to turn.

Its a very useful thing too, for instance in my case, Right now I'm (Supposed) to be revising for my upcoming A.S. Levels (9 days away....). Ideally, because of this I should be spending the whole weekend revising, but thats hard when your as easily distracting as I am. Because of this I often go to workshop and turn something quickly, like this, which overall took around 20-30 minutes, because of that it would also be ideal for a new woodturner to practice some skills.

Whoops, just realised how I have just wrote a paragraph about me......I shall be quiet now and start instructabling!!

Step 1: Choose Your Wood

So, first things first. Your gonna need to choose some wood, in my case, I used a small bit of cherry, it was still a bit green so probably not the best thing to be turning but I wasn't too worried about the end product.

Once you have your wood you need to whack a faceplate on the end, try to get the wood as close to the centre as possible, otherwise it will be rattle about alot on the lathe and you will end up with a very small tealight holder!!

Another note, try to use the longest screws possible and use them on every hole you can. Providing that they won't hit the chisels when turning. If they do, then you can change the screws to a smaller length. Also remember to insert the screws in pairs by screwing the opposite hole (sorry if that didnt make any sense) This will create more tension to hold the wood to the faceplate.

Step 2: Mount the Faceplate

This bits pretty easy and self explanatory, just stick the faceplate on the drive centre!

With the tool rest, try to position it so that you use the middle of the tool rest when turning. This is because if you cut on the end of the tool rest and the chisel catches on the wood, there is a risk of the tool rest snapping, I've done it!!! Also, on the subject, ensure that the wood doesn't catch on the tool rest at all when it spins. I would also recommend using the tailstock at this point, just for extra support to the wood to prevent it flying off.

Step 3: Start the Clock!

To see how long this takes, I decided to time myself.

N.B. To all those concerned, I did remove my watch when using the lathe.

Step 4: Round It

I would try and explain how to use the chisels and everything here, but I wouldn't explain it too well which would make it confusing.

Instead, if you are a complete novice, I recommend having a look on Youtube at some woodturners, there are lots of guides on how to turn and they would explain it a lot better with a video than I can with words.

Step 5: Final Shaping

Again, I won't explain how to do any of this because of said reasons.

But just keep taking bits off until you have a shape you are happy with, it is also wise to have a tealight at hand to check the dimensions of the recess for the tealight, there have been times in the past when I tried to guess and it would always end up too small....

Step 6: Finishing

Once you have a shape your happy with, you can start to sand it smooth with ordinary sandpaper. Here I started with a 150 grit and then gradually moved up. In fairness, I did rush this stage and it meant the final product had some flaws, but you don't need to spend ages on this stage.

After it is all smooth, you may wish to apply a polish, I use "Briwax Clear" which provides a smooth, shiny finish (But it does smell abit). To apply it, use small dabs of it, in the second picture there was too much (as a comparison).

Then finally get a clean rag and just give it a final clean.

Step 7: Parting It Off

To get it off the lathe, you can either cut it or turn the wood at the base down till it just comes off, I chose the second option which means it will require sanding.

Step 8: Stop the Clock!

The picture shows the time to turn the product.

17 minutes, 57 seconds, not bad I say, it may take longer if it is your first one but with practice comes efficiency.

Step 9: Is It Just Me Who Thinks This Picture Looks Awesome???? (Sanding)

To get the base flat, quite simply you just need to sand it. Here I'm cheating and using a belt sander, if you don't have one you can just use regular sandpaper or a file to get it flat.

Regularly check it however to ensure that it isn't getting lopsided!

Step 10: All Done!

Thats it finished then!!!

All in all, I would reckon it took about 30 minutes, which I say qualifies a quick woodturning project, I think it is a good one for beginners to try and I would very much recommend it!

Right then, If you feel I have missed anything then feel free to post a comment so I can rectify it and if there isn't anything then you can comment anyway :P

You may also want to follow me on here or have a look at My Blog

Back to revision.....


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    6 years ago

    I recommend wetting/drying the wood on and off while sanding to get to the stray fibers. If the fibers aren't raised and sanded off it'll get a sort of hairy milky look like in the last picture :)


    6 years ago on Introduction

    alternative quick method.

    cut your branch to length for the finished height.

    use a drill press to bore out a recess to the correct size forstner bit the size of candle diameter. 38mm for cheap Chinese tea lights.

    put between centers or live center and faceplate (without screws, make sure its tight) and turn, sand, polish.

    no need to part off as you haven't got screw holes in the base.

    sand and polish the base and you're done.