View Full Version : Carving a simple flower - with lathe

Mike Henderson
04-23-2008, 9:44 PM
Here's a few pictures of how to carve a simple flower using a lathe to rough out the flower.

I glued up some cherry scrap I had in the shop and cut it round on the bandsaw. Then I attached a faceplate to a sacrifical block and then glued the block to the cherry work. I next turned the cherry block round. See the first picture.

I then used a bowl gouge and cut the outline of the flower - see the second picture.

Next, I used the bowl gouge and roughed out the shape of the flower. Note that I cut inward but left the button in the center. See the third picture.

I then prepare the top with a cut to allow it to sit within the bottom, and part it off. See fourth picture.

Mike Henderson
04-23-2008, 9:53 PM
The roughed out flower is perfect to put into a chuck so that you can finish the back of the top. See first and second pictures.

The next thing we're going to do is to glue the top down to a board so that we can clamp it while carving it. Pictures three and four show the process. Don't put a lot of glue on the top - it doesn't require much and you're going to have to get it off later.

Now, clamp the top as shown in the last picture.

Mike Henderson
04-23-2008, 10:01 PM
Once the glue's dry, we can begin the carving.

Begin by using a set of dividers to step off five equal spaces - see first picture. Mark the landing sites of the dividers and draw a line at each towards the center - see second picture.

Then use a V-tool and cut in along the lines to outline the petals - see third picture.

Next, we want to begin rounding off the petals. I use a gouge with the right sweep to make the ends of the petals round, and clean out the wood in between with a 2/5 or 3/5 gouge. See last picture.

Mike Henderson
04-23-2008, 10:06 PM
We do each of the petals, as shown in the first picture. Then I "hollow" out each of the petals to make them look more like a real petal - see picture two.

The last bit of carving is to do the cross hatch in the center and to put the accent lines on the petals, as shown in picture three.

Then, using a medium sandpaper, I sand the petals to remove the tool marks - see fourth picture.

Mike Henderson
04-23-2008, 10:12 PM
Now we have to remove the top from the board, which I do by putting a chisel at the edge (on the cardboard) and rapping it with a mallet. It comes off easily, but with cardboard stuck to the top. See first three pictures.

I hold the top up to a ROS, starting with coarse grit and finishing with fine grit to remove the cardboard and glue. See last picture.

Now, I have to go back to the lathe and turn the bottom of the box. I keep trial fitting the top to the bottom to get a good fit.

After that, all that's left is sanding and finishing. I'll post completed pictures tomorrow when I complete the project.

Scott Hubl
04-24-2008, 11:02 AM
Very nicely done Tutorial Mike, I may have to try one on my lathe soon.


Mike Henderson
04-24-2008, 6:15 PM
Here's the final product.

tim mathis
04-25-2008, 7:54 PM
very nice mike.great job

Dennis Peacock
04-30-2008, 12:06 PM
OK...ok....that's totally awesome.!!!! :D

I just bought 3 carving tools (Two Cherries) to kickstart me into carving as the LOML wants some furniture made with some carving accents. So here I am reading, watching, and trying to learn. ;)

Daniel Savard
05-14-2008, 9:35 AM
Nice tutorial Mike, thanks.

I don't know if anyone has already used hot-glue gun to stick a piece to the workbench (or piece of plywood) instead of using the newspaper/cardboard and glue technique? I found it less cumbersome.

Mark Patoka
05-14-2008, 12:03 PM
Very nice indeed. You make it look easy enough that now I want to learn how to do some hand-carving.

curtis rosche
05-16-2008, 11:17 AM
how would you make one that looked more like a tulip shape, from a goblet?

Mike Henderson
05-16-2008, 1:29 PM
how would you make one that looked more like a tulip shape, from a goblet?
I suppose. That's a good challenge for you. Give it a try and post how you did it here.


curtis rosche
05-16-2008, 2:00 PM
im not good at carving or making something like that look good unless there are instructions like what you did