2014 Christmas Ornament Woodturning Challenge

Announcing the 2014 Christmas Ornament Woodturning Challenge sponsored by As Wood Turns, Alan Stratton, and Woodshop TV, Carl Jacobson. This is the third annual challenge. We’d had great responses to previous years. This year we’re adding prizes to the top rated presenters.

There are some rules:

3rd Annual Christmas Ornament Woodturning Challenge Rules and Guidelines.

  1. Ornament must be in good taste and somehow reflect the spirit of Christmas and/or the Christmas season.
  2. Videos must be submitted on or before 11/30/2014.
  3. Winners may select their choice of prizes available.
    1. 1st place winner may select any available prize.
    2. Other winners will submit a list of desired prizes in order of preference.
    3. Remaining prizes will be awarded in place and preference order.
    4. Only 1 prize per person
    5. Winners will have two days after notification to submit their preferences.
  4. Videos will be uploaded to YouTube.
    1. Notify Alan Stratton at www.AsWoodTurns.com to include in the challenge and the official playlist.
    2. This notification constitutes acceptance of all rules and conditions of this challenge.
  5. Judges are Alan Stratton and Carl Jacobson. Their decisions are final. There are no appeals.
  6. Void where prohibited
  7. Have fun
  8. Prizes
    1. Hollowing Tool – HK-58A Courtesy of Crabtree Tools
    2. Roughing Gouge ¾” — Courtesy of Carter and Son Toolworks
    3. Carl’s Nova Chuck – Courtesy of Carl Jacobson
    4. Chefware Kits has provided several gifts to be awarded individually
      1. $50 Gift Certificate
      2. Pizza cutter
      3. Back scratcher & Fly swatter
      4. Peppermill kit
      5. Pen Blanks
      6. Scratch Awl kit
      7. Fork and Spatula set
    5. Others if possible


  1. Keep your video short — Excessively long videos will not impress the judges.
  2. Have fun but be safe.

Whoops! My Wood Egg Cracked Or Hatched?

Wood Egg

Also viewable in YouTube

In this video, I started out to make an egg shaped mold or pattern for cast glass. Several things went wrong but were not critical until I got a nasty catch when finishing the top of the egg. At that point, the egg’s base cracked off its remaining tenon leaving a big hole in the bottom.

What was I to do?

Following the example of great woodturners before me, I adapted the design. It not became the remnants of a hatched egg. I don’t know where the baby bird it!

This egg is about 5 inches long and 3 inches in diameter. It is dyed black and finished with friction polish.


Woodturning A Segmented Harvest Pumpkin

Also viewable in YouTube

Pumpkin Locust
It’s harvest time – pumpkins are showing up all around in preparation for Halloween and Thanksgiving. This pumpkin is a segmented turning from Honey Locust. The wood is mostly an orange color with lighter sap wood. The sap wood has worm holes and dark stains from insects. The stem is turned and carved from walnut.

The segment rings are glued up from 12 segments each. There are 12 rings for a total of 146 pieces of wood.

This pumpkin is finished with Clark’s Cutting Board Finish, a two part finish consisting of mineral oil, citrus oils, beeswax and carnauba wax.


Woodturning For Pure Art

Turned Wood Art

Also viewable on YouTube

This piece is not functional. It is only for viewing as art. But art is useful in its own way. It challenges the mind and pleases the eye.

This art is made from walnut using segmented woodturning. It is formed 76 segments with 8 more segments used as temporary support. It is finished with sanding sealer and wax.

This piece is a challenge to create. Since it is fragile, I will not be letting my grandchildren play with it. They’ll have to play with other turnings. :)


Woodturning Is For The Birds

Wood Birds

Also viewable on YouTube

I turned these two birds to answer the challenge by my local woodturning club. The club often challenges its members to bring in a challenge turning after a presentation on the same topic. Last month, Kathleen Duncan demonstrated turning wood birds. Hence the challenge topic.

These birds are about 3 inches long turned from walnut and elm and finished with shellac.


Woodturning A Hollow Reversible Tea Light

Also viewable on YouTube

Walnut Tea LightAfter I made the UFO spaceship for E.T. a few weeks ago, a viewer suggested it could also be a tea light.

Well, how do you turn a UFO into a tea light? Tough question.

So, I started over with a new piece of walnut about 7″ x 3″. I wanted a recess to hold a LED tea light. As the design evolved, I realized it could also be reversible. I’ve hollowed out the interior to make the form very light.

However, there is no access to the interior.

How did I do that?


Update To My DIY Lathe Steady Rest

Steady Rest

Also viewable on YouTube

I’ve been using my home made steady rest for over a year. During this time, I’ve thought of a couple of improvements:

  1. Use locknuts in place of the nuts. Vibration in use caused nuts to come loose and fall off.
  2. Replace the base that mounts it to the lathe so that I can place the tool rest closer to the project and the steady rest.

Other than the nuts, replacing the base was the easy part. I still needed the steady to be adjustable so the key upgrade was a coupling assembly. This assembly enables the steady upright to be attached to the base but enables adjustment without any tools.

I used the original steady replacing the base, adding the coupling assembly, and shortening the steady’s upright. Here’s a link to the original steady rest. Here’s a link to the original post.

I hope you will find this upgrade as useful as I am.

Please be sure to understand this project completely so that you can adapt the measures to your lathe and so that you can use it safely. When you make your own tools you have both the opportunity to make quality tools adapted to your own projects and the sole responsibility for safety.



Revisit Mixed Open & Closed Segment Bowl

Also viewable on YouTube

Mixed Open & Closed Segment BowlA few weeks ago I made this bowl for my neighbor who had moved away. But, before I could give it to him, segments in the base separated. Likely, the wood was not a dry as I had assumed.

So, to fix this problem, I made a new segment ring. I planned to leave the very center open and fill it with casting resin. I could have cut the entire old ring off but decided to inset the new ring inside the old base rim. However, creating two tenons with a shoulder between was problematic. The joint inside the bowl was too wide for my tastes. So, I opened the top portion of the joint a little more with a parting tool. Then I filled the entire bottom, both center and ring with casting resin.

Meanwhile, it seemed that my segments were taking on moisture my the glue and warping while gluing. This may have been the cause for the original failure. I took extra precautions to maintain pressure while gluing to avoid the warping. We’ll have to see if this works as planned. I’ll hold off giving my former neighbor the bowl for a few more weeks.


Hollow Form UFO Spaceship For My Old Friend ET

Walnut UFOI worked for Atari, the video game company, when the movie ET came out. The movie was a blockbuster. Our CEO immediately purchased the video game rights and shoved it thru design and production in record time to have the game in stores for Christmas. We made millions of the ET game.

Alas, ET the game was a dog, the biggest video game flop of all time. Christmas sales were fantastic. But, customer returns in January were incredible.

What were we to do with all those games? We tried everything we could think of: dis-assembly, recycling, crushing, and landfills. Theft was always a huge concern.

Once, we waited until the landfill opened up a new deep area. We sent around twenty truckloads of games including ET to be buried. But word got out anyway and people showed up with shovels to dig up games. To prevent this scavenging, we ordered trucks of concrete poured over the games that had been dumped. To add insult to injury, we had to pay dump fees for the concrete in addition to the games.

Recently the news featured an archaeological dig at the landfill with great mystery. They got it all wrong.

In memory of ET, I made this spaceship or UFO from walnut. It is about 3″ high and 7″ in diameter finished with walnut oil.


Woodturning Open Segment Hollow Form Vase

Segmented VaseI appreciate the form of classic vases and decided to turn one using open segmentation. This vase is walnut and cherry. Maple would have contrasted more but I think the tonal shades of the cherry blend nicely with the walnut. It is about 9 inches high and about 5 inches in diameter.

This vase has 17 segment rings made up of 265 segments: 7 solid rings at 12 segments; 10 open rings at 18 segments; and one center base plug. The vase is finished with sanding sealer and wipe on polyurethane.

I used an 18 segment SegEasy template to position the open segments and a Stomper Pro to assist in positioning and gluing up the rings. I used white glue for open segments so that any squeeze out would be clear. I used Titebond Original Extend to glue all other segments where squeeze out would not be a problem.