Woodturn Rustic Cedar Natural Edge Coasters

Natural Edge CoastersThis project is relatively easy, a great way to practice with natural edge forms without the risk of a bowl. These coasters are wet, freshly harvested, cedar. After slicing a limb into discs, I started them drying with a quick soak in Denatured Alcohol to accelerate the drying process. They had lost about 30% of their weight before I started turning them.

Then in a quick but repetitive process cut a mortise on the bottom, smoothed the rim wood and smoothed the top surface.

Later I realized that they were reversible — the mortise was large enough to hold a cup or mug.

These coasters are irregular size between 3 and one half to four inches and finished with walnut oil.

Green Woodturning Techniques – Alcohol Soak & Walnut Oil Finish

I’m experimenting with two techniques for my woodturning: one for drying wet or green wood; one for finishishing.

For drying a bowl after rough turning the bowl blank, I’m using denatured alcohol (DNA) for an overnight soak, then drying the bowl in a controlled environment such as a brown paper bag.

For finishing, I’m following a practice I saw at Mike Mahoney’s shop — soaking the finished project in walnut oil expecting deeper penetration of the oil into the wood.

As these are experimental techniques, I welcome comments and suggestions.

For both processes, I’m using large plastic bowls with lids to hold and store the alcohol or oil.

Remount And Finish Woodturning Alcohol Soaked Green Bowl

Green Birch BowlI rough turned this birch bowl about six months ago from a fresh green trunk a friend found for me. At that time, I did not expect much from this bowl thinking that birch is a fairly blond wood without a lot of character.

To expedite the drying process, I soaked this bowl overnight in denatured alcohol then left it to dry in a brown paper bag. Originally, the rough bowl weighed 3,760 grams. In ten days, it lost 952 grams or 25% of its original weight. Then I was distracted by life and did not weigh it again for four months at which time it then weighed 2320 grams having lost 38% of its weight.

To finish woodturning the bowl, I followed a typical process: 1) re-mount to refine the mounting tenon; 2) shape the exterior; 3) reverse onto the tenon to shape the bowl’s interior; 4) reverse again to remove the tenon and form a foot. I power sanded each section after tooling.

After all turning and sanding, I soaked the bowl overnight in walnut oil then drained and wiped off the excess. The bowl now weights 1180 grams — final turning removed nearly half of the wood from the rough blank.

The final bowl is beautiful — far exceeding my original expectations. Natural staining and other coloration really dressed up this bows into a masterpiece. Finished, it is 11 inches in diameter and 5 inches high.

Woodturn A Natural Edge Cedar Limb Bowl

Cedar Limb BowlI have a lot of wood to clean up from cutting down an Atlas Cedar in my back yard.

For this project, I’m using a whole section of limb for a small but deep natural edge bowl. This small bowl is about 6 inches long by 4 inches wide by 3 inches deep. I tried to finish it with walnut oil but the bowl was so wet, no oil would stick. I’ll let it dry 3-4 weeks then re-sand and finish it.

Woodturn A Holiday Star


Christmas Star

Also viewable on YouTube

To wind up the Christmas season, peace on earth seems to be further away than in year’s past. I hope this ornament can symbolize a quest for peace on earth as well as a reminder of Jesus Christ for those who believe in Him.

May we have more tolerance for others and work toward peace on earth.

This star is maple with a background of red oak.

Here’s a link to the complete challenge playlist.

2014 Christmas Ornament Woodturning Challenge Results

Also viewable on YouTube

At last, we’re announcing the results for this year’s challenge. The response has been amazing — Thank you all.

Congratulations to our finalists.

Everyone for whom we have an email address will also receive a certificate for their participation.

Follow this link for all ornament challenge videos.

Woodturn An Acorn Christmas Ornament


Acorn Ornament

Also viewable on YouTube

I want to add another simple ornament to this year’s Christmas Ornament Woodturning Challenge. This is an acorn made from walnut and elm. It is very light since I hollowed the inside. It is about 1″ in diameter an over 1 inch long.

My acorn is finished with shellac friction polish.

This is a link to the complete playlist

Woodturn A Molecule Christmas Ornament

Orbit Ornament

Also Viewable on YouTube

This year I really wanted to make this ornament, a maple globe with orbiting padauk resembling a molecule or, in a stretch, a planet with moons.

This one was fun. I started with 5 segmented rings of 12 segments each: 4 maple and 1 padauk. Then I sliced the padauk into 6 slices but only used 5 of the slices. At this point my segment count is 108. But wait there’s more.

After gluing into a ball, I sliced the ball 4 times and inserted one thin slicke of padauk each time, gluing it back into a ball each time. How many pieces of wood now? who knows. I’ve not counted. Finially add one more piece for the finial.

The ornament is finished with shellac friction polish.

Woodturn A Sputnik Sea Urchin Christmas Ornament


Inside Out Ornament

Also viewable on YouTube

This ornament displays a sputnik sea urchin shell on finials of walnut and a tropic hardwood.

The sea urchin shell is prepared by coating the insides with white glue and sanding the holes perfectly round.

The finials are finished with shellac friction polish.

This ornament is part of the 2014 Christmas Ornament Woodturning Challenge.

Three Sided Inside Out Christmas Ornament

Also viewable on YouTube.

Inside Out OrnamentI wanted to turn another inside-out ornament for this years Christmas Ornament Woodturning Challenge. But I also wanted it to be a little different than before.

So, this inside-out ornament is a three sided ornament which presents a little more of a challenge because the stave angles are different and harder to get right.

This is made from three pieces of walnut ripped at 60 and 120 degrees. They are temporarily fastened together while turning the inside cavity. With that cavity finished, the staves are taken apart, rotated and permanently glued back together again.

Then the exterior is turned.

The challenge becomes how to turn the thin sides that become sharp and dangerous.

This ornament is finished with friction polish. The tree inside the ornament is maple. The bottom finial is a tropic pen blank.