Tall Floor Vase With a Twist




In this instructable, I'll show you how I built a twisted vase (or pedestal) from multiplex (plywood) boards.

Step 1: What You Need

Multiplex boards (I had some scrap boards, all of the same thickness)
Saw (I suggest a circular table saw, for precise repeatable cuts)
cardboard for template.
some scrap wood.
baking paper (or anything else to separate wood while gluing).
belt sander (Use a fresh sanding belt!)
Sandpaper or sanding machine to sand concave forms

Step 2: Design Phase

I wanted the vase to be about 36cm tall, and 16cm in diameter with a half revelation.
I had 2.3cm thick multiplex board, therefore I needed 16layers. each layer is made up of a frame of 4 pieces of multiplex strips (makes 60 strips + 1 baseplate).
I wanted a maximum wall thickness of about 2.5cm (as you remove quite a lot of material to round it, you should make the wall thickness about equal the board thickness).
So I had to cut strips of 2.5cm x 13.5cm. and a base plate of 16cm x 16cm.
As I wanted to have a half revelation each layer had to be rotated by about 11.2 degrees.
To easily measure this rotation while stacking up the layers I built a template of card board that had 2 crosses on it. The second cross is rotated by 11.2 degrees from the first one. I made short cuts in the end of the crosses. When i put the template on each frame and make marks on each frame i can easily align the marks and create a smooth revelation.

Step 3: Making the Frames

I built this vase twice: The first time, I did not have a table saw at hand, so I used my bandsaw. A table saw is much better (more precise) and much quicker;-)

I started off cutting all the equally sized strips of multiplex board and the base plate

Instead of gluing each frame after another, I built four tall brackets by screwing together 2 pieces of scrap wood in right angle to each other.

The next step of work has to be made pretty fast (before the glue can set).
Take four pieces of the multiplex-strips and glue them together to a frame.
Put small pieces of baking paper on the glue points, so that the layers you put on top of each other don’t stick together. Make three or four more layers and put them on top of each other (so that they form a straight tower). Now Put the brackets on the four corners of your small tower, and clamp them lightly together with four clamps. Keep adding layers to the end of your brackets (always take care, that your layers are nice and plane on the top).
Now add another four clamps at the top and clamp everything tightly together. You have to tighten the clamps equally, or your frames might start to move and become unsquare. It’s best to add a few more clamps in the middle of the brackets for some extra strength.
I Also put on some clamps on the sides, to keep the sides plane and even, see last images. (I didn't put on pressure equally enough on all sides...)

This step doesn't have to be ultra precise, you're gonna sand quite a lot anyway!

Step 4: Stacking It Up

When the glue is hardened, remove clamp and brackets and separate the layers (you might need to use a little force for that...) slightly sand the top and bottom of the frames to get rid of any glue residues.

Mark all frames with your templates. Stack the frames on top of each other by aligning the marks. You should have a nice full revelation.
I marked the outline of each layer on the underlying layer, so that I knew where to put glue.
Now glue the tower together. after stacking them all up, I clamped them together by putting slightly larger boards on the top and bottom. If you don’t have long clamps you can also put heavy weights on top. let everything dry thoroughly.

Step 5: Sanding It Up

Now you have to sand it all smoothly (yes that will take some time). I used a belt sander and mouth protection (it got really dusty, although I used a shop vac).
At first I roughed down the edges, and then I smoothed everything down, to have a somewhat even surface. This step took me about 2 hours.
After that I used a smaller random orbital sander, to finish it up (not the best choice, but it was the only sander with a somewhat soft baseplate). I used up to 180 grit.

Step 6:

I built two of them. I applied two coats of spray lacquer to the one and I oiled the other one with danish oil.
The one with the flowers in it is the oiled one. 



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    8 Discussions


    6 years ago on Introduction

    oh...i shall one day try both your vases...no lather and tools but i think an angle grinder with a sanding pad should do it!
    your stuff are beautiful!!!!

    1 reply

    Reply 6 years ago on Introduction

    An angle grinder might work even better than a belt sander, I just didn't have one.
    They are really fun to make.


    Reply 6 years ago on Introduction

    I didn't;-) it was originally planned as pedestal. Therefore it would have been upside down, but you barely see inside when using it as a vase, too.


    Reply 6 years ago on Introduction

    I didn't lacquer/oil it on the inside. It is only used for dry or artificial flowers.
    There're also still steps on the inside as it is not sanded there. So it would be quite a pain to paint it on the inside...
    Or you could just pour in the lacquer/oil and turn it around slowly until everything is covered.