Segmented Thanksgiving Pumpkin Treat Box With ‘Natural’ Stem

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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


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 view Christmas Ornament 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

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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

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.

Taking A Rolling Pin To The Next Level

Rolling PinMay also be viewed on YouTube, Vimeo, and Facebook – Best right here where you are.

This year’s Christmas Ornament Challenge is coming quickly. Be ready to enter your ornament during November.

Inspired by the chefs on “Chopped”, I want to take turning a rolling pin to the next level. To do more than simply turn a round rolling pin.

I don’t like laminated rolling pins where the lamination continues thru the handle. One, it wastes potentially expensive wood that I’ve carefully worked to laminate. But more so, it does not look as super as it could.

With just a little more work, handles can be turned separately and glued to the rolling pin. There’s just one potentially tricky part to overcome.

Then for this rolling pin, I started to incorporate an Celtic knot in the handles. I planned for a six loop Celtic knot with every other loop offset just a little. However, after completing, two loops, I saw an interesting pattern had developed and decided to stop and show off that pattern.

So, I think I’ve transformed my rolling pin from a simple turning of laminated stock into a rolling pin, I can be proud of.

The rolling pin with is about 20 inches long including the handles and just over 2 inches in diameter. It is finished with walnut oil.

Good turning.

My Christmas Ornament For 2016 Christmas Ornament Challenge

Walnut OrnamentMay also be viewed on YouTube, Vimeo, or Facebook. Please stay here :)

This year’s Christmas Ornament Challenge is rapidly approaching. The submission period is November. We’re working on the official announcement.

Meanwhile, I want to turn a simple ornament.

While there are few rules for ornaments, one that occurs to me is that something that must hang from a tree must be lighter than solid wood. But I don’t like hollowing thru a small hole.

So for this ornament, I’m turning it cross grain, part it, hollow the two portions, then glue the piece back together again.

The challenge for this ornament is how to mount it to the lathe.

Good turning.

Celtic Knot Dresses Up Pizza Cutter Handle

Celtic Knot Pizza CutterMay also be viewed on YouTube, Vimeo, and Facebook – But best right here!

Remember – this year’s Christmas Ornament Challenge is rapidly approaching – November is almost here.

My wife asked me to turn a new handle for her pizza cutter. The original handle had almost disintegrated.

A handle is a fairly simple spindle project. But I decided to dress it up a little bit. After all, according to my children, pizza is the foundation of all food groups. One can live and thrive on pizza.

This handle is maple with walnut accents. it is about 6 inches long and about 1 inch in diameter. The maple is an example of urban forestry – it came from a tree downed in a storm three years earlier. At that time, it was rough turned and set aside.

The Celtic knot makes a huge difference is how it looks. I choose a three loop knot. Most people recommend milling stock perfectly square to prepare for a Celtic knot. They also always get a four loop knot.

In my opinion, a knot is not restricted to four loops. It can have as many loops as can esthically fit in the wood. The difference is the process.

But first, a table saw sled also helps. For this video, I made my sled from scrap particle board, a scrap 1×4, and a scrap 2×2. To upgrade the sled, use as thin a piece of plywood as can be obtained with a size appropriate for the planned knots. Don’t worry too much about the size. The cost is so trivial, the sled can be re-made if necessary. Then a board is attached perpendicular to the cut line at the top and the bottom. These boards must be taller than the maximum sawing depth. They hold the right and left parts of the sled together after the initial saw cut. My sled rides against the rip fence. To upgrade, add a miter gauge track.

The Celtic knot process is:

  1. Rough turn the timber to a diameter slightly greater than the finished diameter to allow for nicks, defects, and axis deviations.
  2. Prepare two identical paper polygons:
    a.  Draw a circle with diameter equal to the timber diameter.
    b.  Draw a polygon with sides tangent to the circle. The number of sides is the number of loops wanted in the Celtic knot.
    c.  Draw a center indicator to both the circle and the polygon (same spot)
  3. Glue the paper polygons to a scrap piece of hardboard or plywood. Then rough cutout the polygons staying outside the lines of the polygon.
  4. Sand the edges of the polygon to split the edge line on a sander. These are now the Celtic knot templates.
  5. Fasten the templates to the ends of the roughed timber cylinder. Adjust the templates to align with each other. Add a little hot melt glue to ensure the templates will not turn on the timber. On one template, number the verticies in the order they will be sawn. Most often this will be in sequential order.
  6. On the sled, determine the angle for the slices of the Celtic knot. Many will chose 45 degrees but feel free to experiment with greater or lesser angles. With hot melt glue, glue a scrap wood strip longer than the workpiece at the desired angle. Glue another short piece as a stop. Using these two boards, you will be able to reposition the work piece exactly for each cut. Adjust the saw depth of cut to cut thru the work piece but not any deeper. Actually, the cut does not have to be completely thru the piece as long as it is deep enough for the entire finished slice. Count on full depth.
  7. From the markings on the template, determine the bottom or cut side. Using hot melt glue, add a thin scrap piece of wood to the top of the workpiece. This keeps the opposite ends of the workpiece in their original position after the cut.
  8. Place the workpiece on the sled and saw a slot thru the workpiece but not the scrap wood on the top.
  9. Glue in the contrasting wood in the slot. The wood must easily but not slopily fit. Use a glue with a long set time such as TiteBond Original Extend.
  10. After the glue dries, remove the top scrap wood and trim the contrasting wood. Careful work on a bandsaw does the trick.
  11. Repeat Steps 8 thru 10 for each loop. Leave the project alone at least overnight or longer to allow the glue to dry and moisture content to stabilize.
  12. When dry, turn the final profile on the workpiece. The Celtic knot will reveal itself shortly.

That’s one item checked off the honey do list. :)

Previous Celtic Knot videos:

Good turning.