Adaptable Abstract Sculpture Desk Toy (“Thingey” or MetroGnomes)

Abstract Art or Desk ToyMay also be viewed on YouTube, Vimeo, and Facebook. – Please stay right here!

Where do project ideas come from? Anywhere! This is inspired by a large object outside a building between the San Diego airport and the rental car center. I hope someone from San Diego can tell me what it actually is.

The largest one is about eleven inches tall and three inches diameter. It is cedar finished with beeswax and mineral oil. This is a set of three.

My vision is of a desk toy where I can play with their position and change it at will.

Apparently what I saw were “MetroGnomes”. Thank you John Fisher for identifying them. Thank you San Diego for inspiration.

Good turning.

Traditional Hollow Globe Christmas Ornament

Traditional Globe OrnamentMay also be viewed on YouTube, Vimeo, and Facebook. But, Best Right Here.


To enter Challenge click here.

To view Challenge entries – click here.


In a recent comment, a viewer asked if I was going to use my shop built hollowing tools to turn an ornament this year. Well, I had not intended to, since I was busy exploring hollowing through larger, more convenient holes.

But I took it as as challenge and made this traditional globe ornament.

To me, a traditional globe is designed to hang from a Christmas tree and consists of
1. A hollowed body of somewhat globe shape. Almost anything goes here and has been the target of a lot of creativity in Christmas Ornament Challenges,
2. A top finial – either short or long.
3. A bottom finial – Usually longer than the top finial.
4. (Optionally) spacers between the finials and the body. Often, these provide a colorful transition element between smaller dimension expensive finial wood and the body.

So. Challenge accepted – challenge met. :)

Good turning.

Atomic Christmas Ornament For 2016 Ornament Challenge

Atomic OrnamentMay also be viewed on YouTube, Vimeo, and Facebook. But, Best Right Here.


To enter Challenge click here.

To view Challenge entries – click here.


This Christmas season I’ve largely avoided hollowing through small holes. This ornament is another such project where I prefer to hollow through the largest opening possible. In this case the largest opening equals the diameter of the ornament.

For accent the walnut blank was saw at a random angle; the cut was cleaned up and a strip of oak glued in the kerf. I repeated this process a couple more time before mounting to my lathe.

On the lathe, I used the perfect sphere process to yield a ball, However, before sanding the ball, I parted it in half one more time – at a random angle, Then again after hollowing the two halves, I glued in a strip of oak into the kerf.

After that I returned to the perfect sphere process to sand and finish the ball.

For hanging on a Christmas tree, I mounted a small loop of copper wire.

My walnut and oak ornament is about two inches in diameter. No fancy finials for this ornament.

Good turning.

Segmented Thanksgiving Pumpkin Treat Box With ‘Natural’ Stem

This video may also be viewed on YouTube, Vimeo, and Facebook. But best right here.

Segmented Pumpkin BoxThis video is part 1 of a 2 part series. In this video, I’ll create a turned segmented pumpkin box to hold special treats during the Thanksgiving season.

This pumpkin box consists of 9 rings of 12 segments each for 108 total segments plus 2 pieces of shop built oak plywood. It is finished with walnut oil.

The video for part 2 concerns the ‘natural stem’ for this pumpkin but that is a different story.

Segments cut on Jerry Bennett style segment sled, lightly sanded and glued up as entire rings. I plan on enhancing this sled shortly.

Good turning.

Adding A ‘Natural’ Stem To Segmented Pumpkin Treat Box


oak-pumpkin-5dx4h-2016-pin

This video may also be viewed on YouTube, Vimeo, and Facebook. But best right here.

This video is part 2 of a 2 part series. In part 1, I created a turned segmented pumpkin box to hold special treats during the Thanksgiving season.

This video for part 2 concerns the ‘natural stem’ for this pumpkin. For the stem I and my son:

  1. Selected two small pumpkins with interesting stems;
  2. Spray varnished (rattle can) the stems;
  3. Cut the bottom out of two plastic cups;
  4. Used Sculpey clay to form a seal between the top of the pumpkin and rim of the cup;
  5. Approximated the volume of Part A of silicon rubber compound and weighed it on a digital scale;
  6. Reset the scale and added 10% by weight of part B ofthe silicon rubber;
  7. Thoroughly mixed the rubber,
  8. If we would have had vacuum equipment, we would have pulled a vacuum to draw out air bubbles;
  9. Poured the liquid rubber into the cups and let harden;
  10. Apologized to the pumpkin for its hardship;
  11. Removed the hard rubber from the pumpkin;
  12. Using 2 part expoxy, measured the epoxy into two separate cups;
  13. Mixed sawdust into each cup of epoxy;
  14. Subjected each cup to a vacuum to remove bubbles;
  15. Mixed the two cups of epoxy together and again subjected it to a vacuum;
  16. Poured the mix into the molds and let harden.
  17. Cleaned up the excess epoxy and drilled for a tenon;
  18. Glued in a tenon
  19. Mounted stem to the pumpkin lid.

All in all, the process was not very difficult and my molds can be used over again.

My epoxy was old 2 part counter top finish. It was a challenge to have harden probably due to age. Use fresh epoxy.

Good turning.

Inside Out Christmas Ornament For 2016 Challenge

Ornament-Inside OutMay also be viewed on YouTube, Vimeo, or Facebook. Best right here.


To enter Challenge click here.

To view Challenge entries – click here.


Turned wood inside out ornaments give me a certain fascination. Turning one presents some difficulties and risks — all of which can be quickly resolved except one.

The most difficult part is visualizing the empty space to be created inside the ornament. I’ve tried to model it. One thing that has worked the best is to make a turning with 1/4 inch steps every 1/4 inch. Then when reversed and turned, some visualization of scale is possible.

To begin, an inside out blank is constructed from four perfectly square milled pieces of wood. Some turners put craft paper in the joints and glue the entire surface. I don’t like the clean up that results when I need to rotate the blocks. Instead, I glue only the last 1/2 inch. To ensure the block does not fly apart on the lathe, I use a band clamp around each end. Small arcs of wood serve as cauls to avoid kinking the band clamp. Then I duct tape the band clamps.

Then turn what will become the center void. Avoid tooling anywhere except where you want the void since any tooling now become part of the center void. Then sand and finish now while you can.

To separate the four pieces of wood, part off the last 1/2 inch of one end. They should now separate fairly easily. Little if any clean up is required.

Rotate each piece to put the outside into the inside. Glue the new inner surfaces with white glue and clamp together. Clean off any squeeze out now.

Carefully turn the exterior. Pay particular attention to the four thin corners that will become thin slats and be like sharp knives. These are both fragile if too aggressive when turning and dangerous if they contact fingers while turning or sanding.

Add finials and a center feature.

Good turning.

Stylized Pumpkin Just In Time For Halloween

PumpkinMay also be viewed on YouTube, Vimeo, and Facebook. Best right here.


Don’t forget – The Christmas Ornament Challenge is open now – View or Enter yours at this link.


I’m always on the lookout for a project idea that I can adapt to a turning project. While visiting my daughter in law, she had an adorable stylized pumpkin made from canning jar rings with cinnamon stick rolls as the stem. Immediately, the thought came “Can I do this as a woodturning”. There were some immediate differences. Canning jar rings tend to nest together. For a wood project, I would have to taper the rings. And there would have to be a lot of rings.

In fact, this project is all about making the tapered rings. My initial plans for efficient tapering did not work and I was forced to sand the taper and then do extensive sanding of each ring.

This pumpkin consists of twelve padauk rings about three inches in diameter and a cedar stem. All wood was finished with shellac friction polish. The rings are tied together with 18 gauge copper wire.

Now I need to figure out a better way to make the tapered rings before I make another. Meanwhile this cute pumpkin is prompting yet more ideas.

Good turning.

Shop Built Eccentric Chuck From PVC Fitting

May also be viewed on YouTube, Vimeo, and Facebook. But why not stay right here!

Infinite Axis ChuckThis is the first revision to the infinite axis chuck. It adds a bolt to handle bottle stoppers and other handles. It also has more resistance to unexpected rotation. It is the first major upgrade for the old egg chuck.

Detail plans at http://www.AsWoodTurns.com/plans-n-resources.

Materials required:
• 2 in. PVC Compression Coupling – Home Depot Model # 511-43-2-2H $11.00. Other sizes are possible.
• 2”x4”x4” poplar or maple for chuck base
• Tap to match spindle threads (i.e.1.25” x 8 tpi (optional but recommended)
• 3/8-16 tpi Tap (matches most bottle stoppers)
• Auto body putty (Bondo)
• 1”x3”x3” Baltic birch plywood or HDPE
• 3/8” x 16 tpi hex bolt with 2” length threads.
• 2.5” diameter by 12” Dense hardwood such as maple
• CA Glue thin and medium

This inexpensive chuck opens up a new range of interesting woodturning projects.

Good turning.

2016 Christmas Ornament Challenge

May also be viewed on YouTube but best right here.

Carl Jacobson and myself announce the Fifth Annual Christmas Ornament Challenge. This year’s challenge is open to ornaments from all crafts. Make a video of your creation, upload it to your YouTube channel and enter your video on the official entry page. (here)

Each year we have a lot of fun and see a lot of creativity. It’s a lot of fun.

Eccentric Bottle Stopper With Infinite Axis Chuck

Bottle StopperMay also be viewed on YouTube, Vimeo, and Facebook. But, best right here where you are.

Remember! The annual Christmas Ornament Challenge happens during November!.

A local club asked me to demonstrate turning a bottle stopper. But, I cannot make myself make a plain one when I can dress it up by turning it on my Infinite Axis Chuck.

This wood is walnut finished with shellac friction polish. It was turned using three skew axes in addition to the principal turning axis. Then with a lot of sanding, it is truly unique.

I revised the Infinite Axis Chuck to have a screw mount for bottlestoppers. This was its maiden voyage. It passed the test. I’ll release a build video with the revisions shortly.

Good turning.