View Full Version : Finial Practice with a new wood.

Ed Morgano
06-20-2011, 3:59 PM
This is from another thread where John Keeton gave me some advise about types of woods for Finials.

Cherry is not the best wood for finials. Under any stress and it will fracture. I would suggest that you consider Holly, African Blackwood, or even some very hard and straight grained Maple if the other woods are not available to you. Walnut is not great, either, because it is more open grained, but it probably would not break as easily as cherry. Are you completing the finial from the tip back? Once you get the tip turned, you really can not go back to it later, so it is good to completely sand it and get it ready for finish as you go and do that for each section of the finial. You will get the hang of it quickly, I suspect!

Anyway, last night I was thinking about Mountain Laural. I have bunches of it on our property and there is always a supply of dead pieces laying around. Mountain Laural is very slow growing and very hard. I didn't know if it would be brittle so, today I decided to try turning a piece and this is what I came up with. Right below the ball is .040" and the ball is about .130" I've included a side by side with one of my earlier finials. Although I don't think I'll be making any this tiny, it's nice to know that I can. I'll be in great shape as soon as I get some new, stronger reading glasses.


John Keeton
06-20-2011, 4:17 PM
Ed, now is when you need to start looking for one of those lighted magnifiers that many of us use!! Looks like that laurel is going to work great - is it dry? I suppose it is if it is dead. Interesting experiment.

charlie knighton
06-20-2011, 4:18 PM
anyone ever tried teak for finials????????

i have some small pieces from the North Carolina

Scott Hackler
06-20-2011, 4:39 PM
Did someone say African Blackwood?? :)

I love working with it and some of the varieties of cocobolo and rosewood. Strong and tight grained. American Holly doesn't do too bad either, but isnt as nice as the blackwood (except for the cheaper price!).

Nice detail work. :)

Ed Morgano
06-20-2011, 10:38 PM
198738This is what I brought home to the LOML tonight and told her it was a full days work....haha. I did make some progress though. The one on the left is about as small as I would dare turn a few weeks ago. Tonight, with my new 2.25 mag. reading glasses I finished the one on the right.

David E Keller
06-20-2011, 11:43 PM
Nicely done, Ed. Turning skinny takes some practice, but it looks like you're making some big strides. Mountain laurel is a new wood for me, but it looks like it holds detail nicely... If you've got trees dropping finial material all over your property, then you're a lucky man. If you get trees dropping burls all over your property, then I'm declaring you as my new best friend!

Jeff Nicol
06-21-2011, 12:14 AM
Looks good and free wood that does the job is what we all want! I like to use some buckthorn from time to time as it is hard, pretty and pretty stable when dry. It tends to split if left to dry to fast. I get some honey locust once in a while that is nice for finials too, along with hop hornbeam, but I will try anything when I get a chance!

Have fun,


John Keeton
06-21-2011, 7:51 AM
Ed, that is some significant progress!! I like the look of that laurel, too.