Woodturning Inside Out Open End Christmas Ornament With LED

Inside Out Christmas OrnamentThis video may be viewed on YouTube, Vimeo, or Facebook. But you’re already here!

The Christmas Ornament Challenge is accepting entries through November. Enter yours at on the challenges page.

View ornaments submitted this year here.

Inside out Christmas ornaments are a challenge for me. The profile of the inside turning is difficult to visualize. The turning often results in thin sections with fragile short grain. The resulting slats are wickedly knife sharp.

Yet, these ornaments are a great project with a fantastic unique look. After a recent article in American Woodturner, I decided to try an inside out turning with an open end. It should not be that hard can it be? Well, to complicate things, I incorporated a battery operated LED tea light into the inside. My design concept was to insert the tea light up through the open bottom into a narrow section of the wood. The tea light flame would show through the side slats. The tea light would be supported by a thin platform indexed by a small bump on the inner profile. To make insertion easier and for further decoration, the platform would incorporate a finial to complete the ornament. The wood slats would flex enough to insert the tea light and platform.

The first version broke when I attempted to drill into the center. I had thought that a drill would match the tealight. When that did not work, I decided to turn that section as part of the inside turning despite the fact that the curves would be opposite the tea light profile.

Another issue arising was the very thin sections at the top. On other ornaments, I’ve had small joints separate. Instead of turning the top portion into a top finial, I chose to turn down the top to a tenon. Normally that would be okay except that the small 3/8″ tenon was actually, four pieces of wood about 3/16″ thick with a weak joint between them. This is where the ornament broke before I could insert the tenon into a mortise in a top finial.

This complicated the top finial. I recessed the mortise into a small hollow in the bottom of the finial to cover and retain the tops of the slats. To reinforce the joint, I turned a small ball to fit inside the slat tops. This I glued with CA glue.

This inside out concept turned out quite nice. It is a rather large ornament. I’d like to make it smaller, to improve the tea light and platform positioning, and avoid the slats breaking. I’ll work on that in the next version while I enjoy this one. :)

2017 Christmas Ornament Challenge Update #1

This is the first update to the Sixth Annual Christmas Ornament Challenge to show all the ornament and videos submitted to date.

Links to these videos:
All videos are in a playlist at here.
2 Mauro Migone
3 Patrick Laperrière ( Pat Lap )
4 Billy Burt
5 Steve Krumanaker
6 Mauro Migone
7 Thijs Gijbels
8 Walt Wager
9 Ken Moon
10 Tom Ackley
11 Christian Kuebler
12 Mike Waldt
13 Perior Prenella von Windt
14 Joe Pierce
15 Grace Silverwood

To enter, video you making your ornament and upload it to your YouTube channel. Then at http://www.AsWoodTurns.com/Challenges, complete the form. But sure you get a successful confirmation message. The challenge ends midnight November 30, 2017

We’ll announce winners in December.

Again. the challenge is open to ornaments from all crafts and combination of crafts.

Alan’s Website: http://www.AsWoodTurns.com
Carl’s Website http://www.TheWoodShop.tv


A Woodturning Tip To Eliminate Wobble

Walnut Tea LightThis video may also be viewed on YouTube, Vimeo, and FaceBook. Why not stay right here.

For this project video, I had planned an inside out ornament – a really special one. To my dismay, it broke. Due to the imminent deadline, I switched to a walnut tea light with flashing LED.

As I first mounted the wood to my lathe, I put things together about how I was mounting compared to another demonstration I saw recently. So I decided to give a great tip on why I mount many wood blocks to the lathe as I do. (Details inside. :) )

My walnut tea light is about five inches in diameter and about three inches high, finished with lacquer. It holds a battery operated flashing tealight for fire safety.


Remember the Christmas Ornament Challenge submission period is November. Time to get turning.

Woodturning Walnut Box with Eccentric Lid

Walnut Lidded BoxThis video may also be viewed on YouTube, Vimeo, Or Facebook – But why not right here?

Here’s another way to dress up a turned cross grain wood box with a lid. Use the Infinite Axis Chuck to decorate a lid in a way that will never be duplicated.

Here’s what I did.

First, I turned the lower box portion. This is a common procedure:

  1. Round off the wood blank.
  2. Cut a mortise for an expansion mount to a scroll chuck. With an expansion mount, the box wall height is not sacrificed. This side will become the interior of the box.
  3. Reverse the mount and turn the exterior profile of the box including an expansion mortise in the box bottom.
  4. Again, reverse the mount with the chuck in an expansion mode. Hollow the interior and refine the exterior.
  5. Sand and finish.

Then form a lid. This similar to a bowl process:

  1. Round off the wood blank.
  2. Cut a tenon and rough shape the exterior.
  3. Reverse the lid and shape the interior. The first part of the interior shaping is to match the lid to the box portion. As part of the interior, form an expansion mortise to be used next. This mortise should also provide a flat bottom to match the work platform for the Infinite Axis Chuck.
  4. Sand and finish the interior.
  5. Reverse the lid and refine the exterior.
  6. Sand but do not finish the exterior.

To add decoration feature to the lid, use the Infinite Axis Chuck.

  1. Use hot melt glue (or double stick tape) to mount the lid to the work platform for the Infinite Axis Chuck.
  2. Position the chuck for the first feature. The live center provide a great guide to the new center.
  3. Cut and sand the feature.
  4. Repeat for all desired features.
  5. Do any final sanding and apply finish.

My box is 4 inches in diameter and 3 inches tall finished with lacquer. The base is walnut; the lid is poplar.

Remember the Christmas Ornament Challenge submission period is November. Time to get turning.

Woodturning Surprise Bowl From Maple Burl

Maple Burl BowlThis video may also be viewed on YouTube, Vimeo, and FaceBook. Best right here at As Wood Turns.

This hunk of maple has been laying around in my shop for over two years, from before my move from Oregon to Utah. When it was given to me, I thought is was just an oddly sawn chunk of ordinary wood. I got tired of it taking up space. Rather than get rid of it, I decided to try to turn it.

Boy, was I surprised. I quickly recognized it as burl wood. A bit later recognized it as maple. Wow! What a surprise-a big chuck of burl wood instead of some plain wood.

Well, it was tough going. The wood was sawn into a three sided pyramid which made it difficult to round off. Plus, the bark was thick. I did not dare hack at the bark because of the burl figure. But I persevered.

The bowl is maple burl about 10 inches in diameter and 4 inches high, finished with lacquer. I did not dare fill the voids. To do so would spoil the effect of the burl wood.

Remember the Christmas Ornament Challenge submission period is coming up quickly. Plan your ornament now.

Woodturning Hogwarts Sorting Hat – Multiple Personalities

Walnut Sorting HatThis video is also available via YouTube, Vimeo, and FaceBook – Best right here at As Wood Turns.

In thinking about another Halloween project, I decided to turn a Hogwarts sorting hat-a great projects for young wizards. But a hat from the wizarding world cannot be a smooth refined hat with a highly polished surface – quite the contrary.

I turned this hat in a typical manner to expose it’s basic shape. Then brought out a Proxxon tool with a medium rasp and a sanding disk to “refine” the surface.

My hat is walnut about four inches diameter and three inches tall, finished with lacquer.

Another benefit from the wizard world is this hat can transform itself into a cornucopia and a lily for Thanksgiving and the rest of the year. Thank you Harry.

Remember the Christmas Ornament Challenge submission period is November. Plan your ornament now.

Woodturning A Shy Halloween Ghost

Shy Halloween Ghost This video may also be viewed on YouTube, Vimeo, and FaceBook. But you’re here already and it’s best right here.

I often have a problem coming up with a woodturning project for Halloween. In fact, I do not know how I came up with this idea.

The ghost is hazelnut about 3 inches high finished with lacquer.

The tube is half dry cherry about 5 inches high and 2 inches in diameter also finished with lacquer. The tube has a small ledge offset from center to allow the ghost to peer over the top of the tube.

Have a ghostly Halloween.

Remember the Christmas Ornament Challenge submission period is November. Plan your ornament now.

Cross Grain Hollow Form With Fins

Hollow Form with FinsThis video may also be viewed on YouTube, Vimeo, and FaceBook. – Best right here at As Wood Turns.

This hollow form is a combination project to explore a hollow form with fins in cross grain wood. The cherry is about half dry and could warp some but not a lot. I’m not counting on the project warping.

The hollow form is mounted as cross grain and shaped. Then drilled out and hollowed but was not hollowed out to the final wall thickness. Instead I left the walls very thick (at this point).

Then using a parting tool, I cut 1/8″+ grooves leaving 1/8″ fins. My goal was to leave about 1/2″ as a wall thickness between the bottom of the fin and the interior of the hollow form. It is 7″ diameter and 4″ tall finished with walnut oil.

Remember the Christmas Ornament Challenge submission period is November. Plan your ornament now. Here’s the link(click).

Useful Links to Previous Videos

Quick And Easy Ring And Jewelry Holder

Ring HolderThis video may also be viewed via YouTube, Vimeo, and Facebook. Best right here!

This project is fairly quick and easy yet functional and beautiful. While simple, it has potential for many variations. Essentially, it is a bowl with a spindle – the best of both worlds. The bowl is small and shallow with the center left in place. The spindle resembles a flame. A ring or rings can be placed on the tip of the flame.

The bowl portion is 4x4x1. The flame starts with 1x1x6. Mine are finished with lacquer.

To make this ring holder, first turn the shallow bowl using the usual bowl turning techniques. The difference is to leave the center. This means the live center can stay put a very long time. Drill a hole to serve as a mortise in the center. Next turn the flame with a tenon to match the hole in the bowl portion. Keep the flame portion simple. This is not the time for a lot of beads and coves.

Remember the Christmas Ornament Challenge submission period is November. Plan your ornament now.

Useful Links to Previous Videos
Easy DIY Tenon Cutters for Woodturning


Designing Two Stave Inside Out Christmas Ornament

Inside Out OrnamentThis post may also be viewed via YouTube, Vimeo, or FaceBook. Best right here at As Wood Turns.

Inside out Christmas ornaments present a challenge for me. They are tough to visualize due to the interaction of the inside and the outside turning. For this two stave inside out ornament, I started to plan the woodturning using Sketchup. Sketchup is a three dimensional modeling application. I use the free non pro version.

While I can draw a round object with curves, it would be difficult to edit. To avoid this difficulty, I approximated the shape by using 1/4″ steps, planning to smooth out the final ornament. Since this ornament uses two staves, I first drew one object to represent a 1x2x6 board making this board a Sketchup component. When an object is a component, it can be duplicated as many times as it needs to be but the main advantage is that any edits on a component are automatically replicated in all instances of the component.

Here’s a summary of the process:

  1. Draw my initial board, color it, and make it a component. My board is drawn vertically.
  2. Duplicate and rotate the board to represent the two staves positioned as if they were already glued together.
  3. Draw a guideline up the middle of the outside of one board.
  4. Hide or hide the layer for other board.
  5. Edit the board component
  6. Draw a horizontal line at one key point in the turning. Extend this around the board.
  7. Hide (not delete) the surface above or below the line.
  8. Draw a semicircle on the horizontal internal surface.
  9. Extrude the semicircle to the distance for this surface.
  10. Erase lines and surfaces that would be removed in an actual lathe turning.
  11. Repeat for each turned area.
  12. Unhide all hidden surfaces, unhide the opposite board, and check the work. At this point, the shape represents the first or internal turning.
  13. On the opposite side of a board, repeat by drawing lines, semicircles, and erasing lines and surfaces for the second turning.
  14. Clean up and fix any mistakes.
  15. Unhide the second board. Voila, your inside out turning.

For ornaments with more staves, draw boards with the appropriate angles. The process is the same except for using an edge instead of the middle of the board.

Remember the Christmas Ornament Challenge submission period is November. Plan your ornament now.

Useful Links to Previous Videos