PROJECT  #1   Christmas Tree ornament with crushed stone enhancement

Dennis Liggett — Notes from Demonstration:

1. I cut pieces 2.5 X 2.5 X 4.25. I use wood that will be light and give a good contrast to the stone color that I will be using. I rough these pieces to round and create a tenon to be used for mounting.

2. Mount the piece in a 4 Jaw chuck and clean up if it is not running true. I mark the tool rest to show the ends of the lines of the story stick attached. I take the end position of the largest part of the tree and size it to 2”.

3. I then taper from the 2” point to the open end. I cut the small end off with a skew and use the skew point to create a very tiny center for the drill bit to run in. I then drill the end with a #58 drill bit which I find works for my eyelet hangers.

4. I place the story stick at the end and mark the location of the 4 branches. I mark an additional line approximately 3/16” to the left of each branch line. I do this because I use a lot of aspen which is white and light but very prone to tear out. I use a small parting tool to cut at the additional line.

5. With a spindle gouge I cut the branch upswing part of the branch, after all are cut I go back and cut the back side of the branch. This sequence is used to give me access to the underneath side of the branch.

6. With a parting tool I reduce the part under the bottom branch to the size of the base that I want. (approximately ¾”) I then finish cutting the bottom branch with the skew.

7. I stop the lathe at this point to check for the quality of the cuts. With aspen you can have a lot of tear out. I clean up the cuts as needed.

8. With a parting tool I reduce the stand area of the tree to approximately 3/8” and clean up the underside of the branch with a skew.

9. I then shape the bottom of the base and sand everything to 240 grit and then part off.

10. After batching these into approximately batches of 20, I put a 3” sander in the chuck and sand the bottoms of the ornament.

11. I insert the eyelet for the hanger. I do this by putting thick super glue on the end of the eyelet and inserting it into the drilled hole.

12. I then spray the tree with a sealer. I do this to prevent dust from the crushed stone getting into the fine pores of the wood.

13. I then run a small bead of medium super glue around the edge of the branches. I use a plastic marker with a notch cut to spread the glue. Spread the glue gently and do not try to wipe it off. If you spread is too thin, the stone may not be able to stick. This step gives a very even appearance to the material.

14. I then take a salt shaker that has been drilled out to 5/32 for the holes, that is filled with crushed stone and I sprinkle the stone onto the tree.

15. I then spray the tree ornament with 2 coats of a high gloss lacquer.

Project #2:        Mini-Roman Canteen with side Inserts and a Silicone Stopper

Multi-Axis Turning Made Easy

Materials White Oak

8/4” x 4-1/2” x 7”

(2) 3” diameter disc x ½” thick

1-1/2” x 1-1/2” x 2-1/2”


1 Locate and mark the centers on each end and one face of a 8/4” x 4-1/2” x 7” block. Accuracy is key here.

2 Drill a 2″ hole in the marked face for an entry and chucking point.

3 Mount the block by expanding the chuck into the 2″ hole. I use a piece of masonite spacer to keep the wood out away from the chuck. This is so that the jaws on the interior of the 2″ hole are not too deep. This would interfere with the turning tool inside the canteen body. Face off the wood on the exposed side.

4 Mark a series of concentric circles around the 2″ opening approximately 1/8” apart, from the 2″ hole to the edge.

5 Remove from the chuck and mount between centers lengthwise.

6 Using a gouge to cut along the edge, crown the edge shape.

7 Round off each end down to the largest diameter circle drawn on the face.

8 Turn down the ends to 1-1/2” to 1-3/4” diameter rounds

9 Turn a tenon on one end to fit the jaws of a scroll chuck. This will be the bottom of the canteen.

10 Create a ¼” to 3/8” bead at each end of the canteen. I make the neck one smaller in diameter than the bottom.

11 Sand the edges of the canteen and the beads.

12 Remove from the centers and mount the bottom tenon into a scroll chuck

13 Mount a drill chuck with 11/16″ drill bit into tailstock and drill a 2” deep hole into the neck of canteen.

14 Part-off the waste beyond the bead on neck of canteen while using the cone center for support. Do the finish sanding to the beads and the canteen edge.

15 Part-off the waste below the bead on bottom of canteen with slight undercut.

16 Mount the canteen in the scroll chuck using the 2″ hole on one side. Place the masonite spacer between the chuck and the canteen.

17 Face off the side of the canteen. With a crooked hollowing tool, hollow out 1/2 of the inside of the canteen. Finish sanding the side of the canteen.

18 Reverse the canteen to the other side still using the masonite spacer. Hollow out the other 1/2 of the inside of the canteen. Finish sanding the other side of the canteen.

19 Remove the canteen and mount 1-1/2 x 1-1/2 x 2-1/2 block (Top) in the chuck.

20 Turn down the 1-1/2 length to about 1/2″. Place the silicone stopper on the 1/2″ tenon and check it against the canteen for fit. The reason for this step is that the silicone of the stopper can stretch and not fit the hole in the top of the canteen. Modify the thickness of the tenon to get the silicone insert to fit. .

21 Remove the silicone stopper after fitting and reverse the top to finish the knob for removing the stopper.

22 Mount a 1/2″ thick piece between centers and true up to about 2-1/2″ diameter. Take 1/4″ down to the 2″ for the opening.

23 Mount the insert using the 2″ diameter portion in the chuck. And turn the surface to the desired design. finish sanding the insert.

24 Repeat 22 and 23 for the other insert.

25 Glue the inserts into the canteen using epoxy.

26 Finish with the finish of your choice.