After seeing the work of Fernando Verez Tojeiro and Gerrit Van Ness, I had the idea to create a sculpture that I’m calling “The Honeypot.” The sculpture consists of two pieces of walnut and one piece of maple, and actually isn’t as complicated as it looks.
The first step is to make the pot. I used a piece of walnut roughly 5 1/2” by 4” and turned a simple pot with some beaded details. It’s nothing fancy, but the simple, elegant shape accentuates the piece without overwhelming the rest of the elements. The only thing to watch out for here is getting too much wax inside the pot while sanding, because that makes it more difficult to glue everything together.
The flowing honey is made from maple. This requires some off-center turning, which is a more advanced technique. You’ll want to keep your RPMs low and work carefully, because spinning an off-center weight too quickly – especially on a smaller lathe – can cause the machine to walk around the room or try to throw the workpiece at you.
I used a carbide finisher to create the drips at the base. The “pour” widens as it nears the base, just like honey tends to do. I cut away excess material at the bandsaw, then cleaned up with the oscillating spindle sander.
From here, it’s a matter of carving away material using gouges and chisels to create the dripping appearance. I cut away the round section at the top using a pull saw (and managed to catch my finger in the process – ouch!). From here, it’s just a lot of hand sanding. A LOT of hand sanding. The clear finish I used brings out the honey tones of the maple and the gloss gives it a wet appearance.
The base is just a block of walnut with some attractive grain. Don’t over-think this part – and don’t apply finish to the area that will get glued to the maple!
All in all, I love how this project came out, and I don’t even mind the injured finger. The whole project took about a day, but 90% of that was hand sanding (and thus not in the video).
Thanks for watching, and let me know what you think!
A little while back, my friend Ron Radliff asked me to come up with a kitchen knife holder. With a little help from my wife Robin, I came up with a simple, elegant maple cylinder with an inlay of some trees that I added using milliput.
The turning portion of this project is pretty straightforward: I knocked the corners off of a chunk of maple, added a tenon, and turned until I had a smooth cylinder. I then hollowed out the inside using a Forstner bit and a carbide gouge. This piece of maple had some cracks that I knew wouldn’t turn out, so Robin drew some trees that I then carved out with a rotary tool. This was probably the most difficult (or at least time-consuming) part of the whole project.
I used milliput, a two-part epoxy clay, to add the inlay. Milliput is a great material for complicated inlay. It molds easily, cures rock-hard, and turns like a dream. It’s a great way to add detail and complexity to products without using a scroll saw or CNC. I previously used milliput to add inlay to some lidded boxes I made — it’s great stuff to work with.
Once the milliput cured, I turned off the excess, sanded, and finished. The last step is to invert the piece and remove the tenon.
To turn this cylinder into a knife holder, I added rice. I’ve seen this method used at craft shows. The benefit of using rice is that it helps to keep your knives dry and rust-free if they are replaced while still a little damp from washing. It’s also cheap and easy to replace from time to time. If you don’t like the idea of using rice, you can also use something like bamboo kebab skewers.
And that’s that! I enjoyed this project because it took a simple idea and added some more complex design elements to make an attractive and unique end product. If you enjoyed this video or have ideas for future projects, please let me know in the comments. Thanks for watching!
Sanding your projects on the lathe is a quick and easy way to bring them to their final smoothness. However, using standard sandpaper can lead to ugly striations as the grit of the paper digs into the project. One way to sand quickly without leaving ugly marks is to switched to powered sanding.
Power sanding can be accomplished in a number of different ways. You can use a simple sanding pad chucked into a drill. You can also use a random orbit sander that is purpose-built for lathe work — they typically include smaller, softer pads than sanders built for flat work, and some (like the air-driven sander I use from Woodturnerswonders
) also include extensions to help reach inside bowls and other vessels. These types of surfaces aren’t typically encountered on flat work, so the purpose-made sander helps a lot.
The debate over gouges versus carbide tools is fought every day in woodturning forums and groups, so we won’t re-fight it here. They both do the same thing. Gouges have a much steeper learning curve (you must also learn to sharpen the tools properly and ride the bevel to get a clean cut) whereas carbide cutters are easier for beginners to get the hang of — get lined up on center and you’re good to go.
Not all tools are created equal, and this applies to both carbide tools and gouges. Cheap gouges are usually made from cheap steel, so it is common for them to lose their edge more quickly — which gives beginning woodturners a lot of practice at the sharpening station. On the carbide side, cheap carbide tips may not give you the smoothest possible cut, and it’s important to remember to turn the insert when cut quality starts to suffer. Trying to get “just one more” out of a dull carbide tip is a good way to ruin a workpiece.
When it comes to technique, experience is going to be your best teacher, but here’s a quick starter course. For gouges, start by bringing the bevel up to the piece, then slowly raise the handle until it starts to cut. Move slowly for a cleaner cut. Carbide tools, on the other hand, are brought in straight and level at the centerline of the work piece.
That’s it for this edition of Back to Basics. If you have a topic you’d like us to cover, leave us a comment and let us know. Thanks for watching!