In this Instructable, I will show you how to create these one of a kind geometric faced bud vases. In the attached photos, you will see there are two different versions, one is cedar and one is walnut. I have hand milled all of these vases from logs to what you see in the photos!
These vases can be customized to your specifications and the fun part is, they are relatively simply to make!
Step 1: Choose Your Wood!
- Wood of your choice (Log, milled lumber, rough lumber)
- Your choice of finish
- A saw (Hand saw, Table saw, Circular saw, Band saw, Miter Saw - Any one of these)
- Power sander or sand paper
- Hand Plane (If you're working with a log or rough stock, you will need this)
- Hatchet ( Again, if you're working with a log, this is a very handy tool)
- A square
- Drill (Hand drill, Powered hand drill, or a drill press)
There is nothing specific that needs to be taken into account when you are choosing which wood type you would like to work with. I personally like hardwoods and I was fortunate enough to have a friend give me a bunch of limbs from a walnut tree that has been trimmed. However, there are things that you can look for that will greatly help you in the overall process of this build.
Things to look for:
1.) The straighter the better. Try and find nice straight limbs, boards, etc to work with. If you are working with raw stock, like I am, this will save you a ton of labor when you are truing up the wood.
2.) Check for cracks, checks, marks, grain direction to make sure that you will not have issues when the final shape is being made.
Once you have found your wood, cut it to a rough dimension. The way I determine my dimensions is by the start and ending on bends in the limb. If there is a bend in the limb, I will cut a piece right before the bend takes place. This leaves you with a much straighter piece to work with.
Step 2: Square-up the Wood
Tools I used:
- Hand Place
- Draw Knife
- Power Planer (Not needed but, you're life will become SO much easier)
Here is what I did:
1.) Removed all the bark with a draw knife and hatchet.
2.) With the hatched, I attempted to make four flat sides all 90 degrees to each other. I also used the Band Saw for this however, you do not need to own a band saw to do this.
3.) I then took the draw knife and chisels and took out any objective high spots in the wood to get the wood ready for hand planing.
4.) I hand planed two sides perfectly 90 degrees to each other. I used a machinist square to verify that the sides were perfectly 90 degrees. This is important because you need to have two sides perfect before you can power plane the remaining two sides to create square stock.
5.) Once my sides were perfect, I brought them over to the power planer and cleaned up the reaming two sides of the stock.
Step 3: Cut to Final Dimensions
Once you have the wood flat and square, you can now safely cut the stock on the table saw. If you do not own a table saw, you can use a circular saw, miter saw, hand saw, or band saw. Keep in mind that your cuts should be made as flat as possible since it will be the base of you vase.
For my small walnut vases, I cut them around 5 inches to 6 inches tall. For my medium sized vases, I will cut the stock to 9 inches to 10 inches.
Step 4: Drill the Vase Opening
To drill the opening in the vase I recommend using a forstner bit. Forstner bits can safely remove a-lot of material in a rapid manner while leaving a smooth finish on the walls of the hole. As for the size of the hole, that is entirely up to you and I change it all the time depending on the thickness of my stock.
I personally used my drill press but, a careful hand, a clamp, and a hand drill would be just fine and would work brilliantly!
Step 5: Shaping Your Vase
We have the vase to it's final dimension, you've drilled a hold to the depth you prefer, and now we are ready to start shaping the vase.
I used a 12" disk sander because it gives me the flexibility and ease to be creative and change my angles very rapidly. But, if you do not have a disk sander, you can use a belt sander, orbital sander, or hand sanding. The trick is to make all the planes a flat as possible.
Start with the corners of the vase and sand down moving towards the center of the vase. Do this to the top and the bottom of the vase so the planes come to a point in the middle of the vase. This gives you a good starting point to be creative and shape it to your own specifications. I personally try new techniques and angles on every vase that I create but, staring with creating the flat planes on the top and bottom of the vases was a great technique that I learned quickly and I think is essential.
Step 6: Finnish
The finish is entirely up to you! But here are my recommendations.
- For a glossy high sheen look: Clear Polyurethane (Paint on or Wipe On)
- For a clean non-shiny look: Satin Polyurethane (Wipe On)
- All Natural and organic: Boiled linseed oil and beeswax or Mineral oil and beeswax (This is my favorite look)
All of these will bring out the grain and make the vase pop but, I personally like the natural and organic method.