Ive been a hobbyist diyer for quite a while, but only started really getting into wood turning in the last 6 years or so, turning small pieces for decoration, pens etc. But its at Christmas when it seems that everyone wants something making, usually tree decorations.
I like doing these as they can be fiddly and give a chance to try out new things and ways of turning.
I know that their are a lot of turners out there and this guide is just my suggestions. If you like this please say so, if you don't please suggestions for improvement are welcome.
Thanks for reading and please vote in the competitions.
This guide will cover the making of a single piece tear drop type decoration with inset highlights.(picture 4 above)
Step 1: Making the Plugs
The first thing to do is to cut a load of plugs from a wood that is different from that to be used in the main decoration. (I used Mahogony). The cutters are shown in picture 1 above. I don't like the 4 pronged ones in the top part of the picture (to hard to use and I always make a mes of the wood). I used the circular ones, two separate sized plugs where made for this project.
You may recognise the plugs as they are normally used to cover resessed screws in furniture.
Put the cutter in a drill press and drill the wood till you are almost trough
DO NOT go all the way ... That can lead to the plug flying out, an getting either lost or damaged.
Once you have drilled sufficient number for your needs take a small grill bit or screwdriver and just flick the plugs free.
Step 2: Preparing the Blanks
Next prepare your blanks, if your making a few the get them ready together it saves time.mark the centres on each end, either by using a gauge, or by holding a pencil firmly and using your fingers as the gauge. Make several marks to ensure you have centre.. This will help when it comes to turning to keep it stable in the lathe and also reduce wasted material while you do the initial rounding off.
Make a line on each piece of wood at a place where you want to put a plug, then mark the centre of that line and use a punch to define the crossing point (do this at the ends as well)
Step 3: Insert Plugs
Measure the diameter of the plugs and drill holes at the cross points to match these diameters. Its ok to drill all the way through, at least for this project as I wanted the inserts to be the same on opposite sides.
The place some glue inside the holes and ease the plugs into position. You will see that my easing tool was a hammer.
If the plugs are a tight fit you should be fine to go on to round off the blank on the lathe, if not then you will need to wait while the glue sets before continuing.
Step 4: Turing Your Decoration
Once you have done all of the preparation its time for the fun bit (wood turning) - I started by drawing a rough shape on a scrap of MDF and holding it level to the blank on the lathe.
Then I marked to points where the drawing changed onto the blank. A single line gets a bit faint when turning so turn the lathe on and hold the pencil on the blank to make a line all the way around at each point then start turning using the drawing as a guide.
My first piece suffered a mishap - it split from the lathe (see pictures), but the others worked out fine.I applied a bit of polish before turing the point off this gave a bit of support while applying the finish.
Step 5: Adding the Hook
I then parted the decoration off of the lathe and used a small hand drill to make a hole in the top. The hook at the top is a piece of silver wire hand twisted and cut to fit the drilled hole. I like to add a bit of bling as well it hides the hole.
Even though the wire is held with glue a good tip is to put a kink in the wire that goes into the hole - it will hold a lot more in the wood.
Step 6: Finishing the Bling
The decoration is finished off with a bead and a hand made spring.
To make the spring I used a 1.5 mm brill bit in a pin vice and wrapped a bit of the silver wire 7 times around it and snipped the ends. Then I used long nose pliers to close up any gaps in the turns. A loop was formed on another bit of wire and the bead and spring slid on before a second loop was made at the top end.
Open the lower loop slightly and close it again once the Top Bling is attached to the decoration.
Apply some silver string to hang the decoration and its done ready for your tree.
If you liked this guide then please take the time to vote in the competitions. and take a look at my other posts.
Thanks for looking