Inside Out Christmas Ornament – The Basics

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It’s time to start planning for Christmas ornaments and the 2017 Christmas Ornament Challenge. To get ready, I’m turning an inside out ornament whose body is maple in this video. In the next video, I’ll turn finials and the central display.

My original plan was for a Christmas Tree to be in the center. But after turning the globe portion and looking at it upside down, it looks like it could be perfect for a Christmas Bell ornament. I’ll have to decide soon.

The ornament body is made from four pieces of 1.5″ x 1.5″ x 10″ maple finished with lacquer.

The process:

  1. Prepare the staves. In this case I used 4 staves that are square. If you want a different number of stages, then divide 360 by your number of staves. This is the angle that will be to the center and then to the outside. 3 staves would require 120 degrees (360/3). 5 staves would require 72 degrees (360/5). Find the two opposite angles by subtracting the first angle from 180.
    # Staves First Angle Second angle
    2 180 180
    3 120 60
    4 90 90
    5 72 108
    6 60 120
  2. Mark an arrow on the end of each stave pointing either to or away from the first angle.
  3. Assemble all staves together. Then spread glue on the last one quarter inch of each end of each mating surface. Clamp together and let the glue harden overnight.
  4. For safety, reinforce each end with fiberglass reinforced strapping tape.
  5. Mount between center making sure the centers are exactly centered.
  6. Turn the center cavity except that right now it is on the outside of the bundle. Be gentle.
  7. Sand and finish this area.
  8. Split apart the staves by tapping a chisel on each joint.
  9. Rotate each stave, ensuring that each arrow is pointing the opposite directing (in to out or out to in).
  10. Lightly spread white glue on mating surfaces and clamp the bundle. Make sure the edges of the cavity align. For some bundles, glue staves separately. Let glue harden overnight.
  11. Turn down one end and form a mounting tenon to fit a scroll chuck.
  12. Remount into the scroll chuck.
  13. Turn down the opposite end to become another mounting tenon.
  14. Now is a great time to decide when to drill mounting holes for finials on both ends. Make sure to drill completely through at least one end to mount the center display.
  15. Finish turning the exterior paying close attention to the thin edges and the interplay of all edges.
  16. Sand while the tenons on each end are still intact.
  17. Part off one end of your choice. Best choice is the one that will have the thinnest finial.
  18. Sand the scar from this area.
  19. Apply finish to the exterior.
  20. Part off the completed inside out ornament body.

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

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Enjoy!


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