View Full Version : Quickie Ornament Instructions

Curt Fuller
12-11-2008, 10:29 PM
I've had a few people ask me how I turn ornaments so tonight I took some pictures along the process to try to explain.

I glue the globe or ball from 8 pieces cut at 22.5 degrees, like pieces of a pie with 8 thin 1/8" strips in between as spacers. The first picture shows a group of them glued together using rubber bands as clamps and a shameless plug for titebond glue. Then in the second pic it shows how I hold them in the talon #2 jaws to round them, drill the center hole, and hollow them. The 3rd pic shows drilling it with a jacobs chuck and a 5/8" forstner bit.

Curt Fuller
12-11-2008, 10:33 PM
In the chuck I cut a tenon on one end, face them off smooth and drill a 5/8" hole about half way through. (1st pic) Then I turn it around, hold it with the tenon I turned, round that side off, drill it the rest of the way through. (2nd pic) I also hollow them somewhat to lighten them up using a home made hollower made from a 1/4" allen wrench.

Curt Fuller
12-11-2008, 10:38 PM
It's a little hard to see in the 1st pic here but it's hollowed and ready to mound on a pen mandrel to shape the outside. I use a pen mandrel (2nd pic) with two home made cone shaped bushings to hold it centered on the mandrel, similar to how you would turn a pen.

Curt Fuller
12-11-2008, 10:40 PM
On the mandrel you have room to work all the way around the ball to get it to the shape you want. Don't apply too much pressure with the nut on the mandrel or it can split the ball. Just use light cuts and sharp tools. I didn't finish this one because the glue hasn't had time to dry but I hope you get the idea.

Curt Fuller
12-11-2008, 10:45 PM
Then for the finial and icicle I use a piece 1x1x5 for the icicle and 1x1x1.5 for the finial. For the icicle I hold it in the small step jaws and use the revolving center to support the other end (1st pic). I turn a 5/8" tenon, 3/4" long on one end (to the right) and start the shape of the top of the icicle (2nd pic)

Curt Fuller
12-11-2008, 10:51 PM
Then I turn it around in the chuck and hold it with the tenon and remove most of the wood so that it's shaped like a long tapered carrot (1st pic).

At this point you have to start being really careful with how you use your tools. I remove the tailstock so there is no support on that end. That's the reason for the 3/4" long tenon so it has a good tight hold in the jaws of the chuck. I then start shaping the icicle, working from right to left. (2nd pic) For me I have to use a skew left handed and just shave it to the shape with very light cuts.

Curt Fuller
12-11-2008, 10:54 PM
The next two pics just show how the icicle progresses from the tip end towards the base end. The wood is very thin, about 1/8" so there's not much hope of going back to change anything with out breaking it off.

Curt Fuller
12-11-2008, 10:57 PM
Once you get it to the finished shape you can sand it and even apply some finish if you like to use a friction polish or something else on the lathe. (1st pic) Then I slide the tenon about half way out of the jaws and part it off (2nd pic)

Curt Fuller
12-11-2008, 10:59 PM
For the finial, the process is about the same but with shorter wood it's not quite as delicate. The 1st pic shows how I size my tenons using a 5/8" wrench, the second pic shows drilling the hole in the top of the finial for the hook.

Curt Fuller
12-11-2008, 11:02 PM
These last two pics just show parting off the finial in the same way, sliding it half way out of the jaws, and the finial and icicle fitted in the unfinshed ornament ball. I'll post a picture of the finished ornament after the ball dries and I can finish turn it.

Hope that helps, I'm not much at writing directions but hopefully the pictures help.

Maylon Harvey
12-11-2008, 11:11 PM
I'm not much at writing directions but hopefully the pictures help

You got to be kidding me. That is a great tutorial, everything explained perfectly and the pictures show it all. Thanks. Now if I can just find the time to give it a try.

Bernie Weishapl
12-11-2008, 11:14 PM
Great tutorial. Thanks Curt.

Bill Noce
12-11-2008, 11:22 PM
Great explanation of how to do your ornaments and pictures showing the steps.

Dewey Torres
12-11-2008, 11:23 PM
Nice work on the tutorial.
Very interesting.:)

Steve Schlumpf
12-11-2008, 11:34 PM
Curt - great job on the tutorial! The sequence of events you laid out makes it understandable and should be very easy to follow! I will have to give it a try one of these days! Thanks for taking the time to put this together for everyone!

David Walser
12-11-2008, 11:39 PM

Thanks for the very clear explanation. Thank you, thank you, etc.

Don Carter
12-11-2008, 11:55 PM
Thanks for showing your process. The pictures are so very helpful but your written directions are very helpful as well.

All the best.


Scott Conners
12-12-2008, 2:51 AM
Curt, I love the wrench trick! Great photos, you really made a useful sequence, especially for the icicle!

Jim Koepke
12-12-2008, 3:56 AM
Great tutorial, you may even be able to sell it to a wood working mag.

I like your wrench trick. I have used it myself. Glad to find out I am not going to weird figuring this out on my own.

Have a lathe and very little training, but having fun when I get to play with it.


Steve Campbell
12-12-2008, 9:24 AM
Thanks so much for taking the time to do the write up. I have always liked your ornaments. I may now have to try a few myself....

Thanks again. Steve

Scott Lux
12-12-2008, 9:35 AM
Ditto what everyone said, Very clear, and THANKS!!!

I love the wrench trick. I wish I'd thought of it. Heck, I think that means I have a set of calipers in metric and sae.


Jim Kountz
12-12-2008, 9:39 AM
Nice tutorial, I picked up quite a few tips that should help alot in my attempts! Thanks!

Joshua Dinerstein
12-12-2008, 10:26 AM

That is an Awesome! tutorial. Lots of tricks I had never thought of in my few attempts. Great photos and a great write-up!

Thanks for sharing. Especially since I know I was one of those that was asking how you did it!


Brian Effinger
12-12-2008, 10:40 AM
Thanks for the tutorial Curt. I have been wondering how these are made.

Curt Fuller
12-13-2008, 4:04 PM
This is the finished ornament, Zebrawood & Walnut with spray can Deft gloss lacquer.

Steve Schlumpf
12-13-2008, 4:32 PM
The ornament turned out absolutely beautiful Curt! Thanks again for your detailed tutorial - it was great!

Don Carter
12-13-2008, 10:05 PM
What kind of grind do you put on your homemade hollowing tool? I have one but I can't seem to get a very good grind on it.
BTW, that one turned out great!
Thanks again, for showing your technique.

All the best.


Dean Thomas
12-13-2008, 11:00 PM
I liked the ornament even before you provided a "finished" shot. Thought it WAS finished!! The little cylindrical look has given me ideas for next year!!

Ron Bontz
04-04-2009, 10:12 PM
Thank you. :)

Dewey Torres
04-05-2009, 4:22 AM
Thread resurrection baby...that's a compliment!:cool:

Skip Spaulding
08-26-2009, 7:54 AM
Well done Curt! Thank you.