Christmas Ornament Challenge Results 2016

Announcing the winners from the 2016 Christmas Ornament Challenge.
The Challenge Playlist is at this link.

Thanks to each craftsperson who submitted their orn0ament and video.

Thanks to sponsors for providing wonderful prizes.

Thanks to each viewer who nominated their choices in the Viewer’s Choice.

Thanks to everyone else who viewed and appreciated the creativity and effort that went into these ornaments.

Thanks to Carl Jacobson for co-hosting the challenge.

Bumpy, Tipsy, Wood Tube From Green Cherry

Cherry Warp TubeThis video may also be viewed on YouTube, Vimeo, and Facebook. But best right here where you are!

At the invitation from fellow woodturner, Sam Angelo, I turned this 2″ by 7″ tube from fresh wet cherry. This project is fun because when the turning is finished, I go to the microwave to heat it up. With a couple of excursions through the over, the tube warps and takes a shape of its own. The shape is only somewhat predictable.

The wood blank is cut cross grain from one half of a log at one side of the pith.

My process is:

  1. Rough turn and cut a tenon on one end.
  2. Reverse mount
  3. Finish rough turning
  4. Refine exterior.
  5. Drill and hollow from one end. Best tool for this task is a square corner box scraper.
  6. Reverse the wood into deep shark jaws. Some protection for the exterior may be in order.
  7. From scrap, turn plugs to fit both ends of the tube.
  8. Remount between centers and refine the exterior. Remove any marks and defects. Reduce to desired wall thickness.
  9. I cut beads on the exterior to further refine the exterior and to reduce the wall thickness. The thinner the wall, the more it may warp.
  10. Wrap packing tape around both ends wrapping tape around into the inside. This protects the ends from drying too quickly and catching fire.
  11. Microwave on high for a minute. Remove and check progress.
  12. Repeat until the wood is dry.
  13. Optionally, add finish.

My DIY steady rest and new box scraper came in handy for this project

Good turning.

Preparing Green Cherry – Not Solely For Bowls

Cherry SpindleMay also be viewed on YouTube, Vimeo, or Facebook. Best right here.


To view Christmas Ornament Challenge entries – click here.


Not every project results in a beautiful object. Some I do well in advance with a beautiful object in mind. This is the case in this video.

I was given some fresh cut or green cherry logs. I promptly ripped each in half through the pith. Some I cut into bowl blanks.

However, some I left long and turned into long cylinders for later projects. Each was waxed. I’ll leave them to dry until needed. When I want to use one, I’ll weigh it on about a 2 week interval. When it stops losing weight, it will be dry.

Future spindle projects in the making. Stay tuned.

Good turning.

Viewers Choice – Christmas Ornament Challenge 2016

May also be viewed via YouTube, Vimeo, and FaceBook— Best right here.

What a fantastic challenge. This video shows all ornaments that were entered into the challenge.
We invite you to vote for your favorites. This is an experiment – we hope it works.

Here are the guidelines.

  1. Review this video and the ornaments. These are in random order but the number in this video corresponds to order in the official playlist. Note which that you’d like to see the video for.
  2. View the supporting videos from your list. The video should be part of your decision.
  3. In a comment below this video, enter up to 5 numbers that represent your favorites in order from 1 to 5. The number must the number given in the upper left corner of each display in this video or the playlist order number. List your favorite by number first; second favorite by number second and so on up to five ornament entries. Please do not include titles and names – we’ll only look at the numbers so make sure they’re in your order.
  4. Only one comment with selections per person. Multiple selections will be ignored.
  5. You have until the 15th of December to make your vote.
  6. We’ll announce the results from this video with Carl and Alan’s selections as soon as possible.

Playlist via AsWoodTurns:
http://www.aswoodturns.com/challenges/christmas-ornament-2016/

Playlist via YouTube:
https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PL4W9FE566kZhAdzbt9715eEOupHJXXjwg

Good turning.

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 view Christmas Ornament 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 view Christmas Ornament 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 sawn 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 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.