Woodturning Christmas Ornament - Sea Urchin On Apricot

Uploaded by AsWoodTurns on 17.11.2012

Hi. Alan Stratton from As Wood Turns For my next entry to the Christmas Ornament
Woodturning Challenge, I’ll going to use a sputnik sea urchin shell. From a sea urchin.
All the spines are gone but the little nubs are still there. It’s hollow. It has been
treated with a little glue to stabilize it. And a little more of my apricot. It’s a
nice very dense wood. At this point almost dry but dry enough.
If you have a video camera and want to enter the Christmas Ornament Woodturning Challenge,
video yourself making an ornament, upload it to YouTube , and let me know. I’ll add
it to the challenge. Let’s have some fun.
The first order of business is to reinforce the sea urchin shell. My wife painted the
inside of the shell with three coats of white glue. Kathleen Duncan from our woodturning
club uses Moge Poge both inside and outside the shell. Other say to fill the shell with
foam but that’s way too messy for me. I cannot resolve how much foam to put in the
shell? How to seal the bottom hole? How to avoid foam spilling out of the top hole onto
the shell? Will the foam crack the shell open? So I don’t use foam.
Then sand the upper and lower hole in the shell round and smooth. Some use a Dremel
for this task. I use a tapered piece of wood mounted to my lathe. I sanded down a couple
of points near the bottom hole to avoid conflict with the bottom finial joint. In retrospect,
this was a waste of time since I designed the finial to enter a cove where the shell
bottom contacted the finial. Then off to the races.
First, I roughed out the blank. I had mounted the blank slightly off center to reduce the
amount of punky sapwood in favor of solid heart wood. It was slightly harder to rough
out but not bad. Then turn a tenon at the bottom to mount to
a chuck. The blank was barely big enough to fit the small jaws of my scroll chuck. But
it fit well enough. Then back to trimming it to a rough diameter
with a large bowl gouge. Then to decide how much to have in the top
finial and the bottom finial. I tried for a two to one ratio between the bottom to the
top. That’s almost the golden mean ratio. For this ornament, I wanted a fairly long
icicle finial on the bottom. I used my built in calipers: 3 or 4 fingers for the top finial
and two times 3 or 4 fingers for the bottom finial. Plus some allowance for the shell,
top waste and bottom waste. The first most critical point is where the
top finial comes up thru the shell. All the top finial must pass thru the top shell hole.
But I have to leave a shoulder just below the inside surface of the shell on which the
shell will rest. Just below the shoulder the wood must be small enough to fit the larger
bottom shell hole. Below the shell, anything is fair game – whatever finial size looks
good. But to me, the bottom finial is on the smaller side.
Then it’s a matter tool a little, check the size, tool more, check the size, and so
on. If I goof, then the finial just gets a little shorter. First I check with the calipers,
later I only trust the shell itself. But to fit the shell, I have to reduce the portion
that will be inside the shell. This is the only part where fit is critical.
When I get close, I switch to a square nosed bedan tool for fine control. Whatever you
do, don’t force the shell because it will split. Don’t ask me how I know.
Once the shell fits, I reduce the bulk of the bottom tenon but left enough to be stable
while I turned the top finial. Then focus on the top finial first: turn, sand and finish.
My prime tool here was a medium spindle gouge. Before finishing the top of the finial, I
drilled a small hole for the hanger. With the top completed, Its time to focus
on the bottom finial. I like finials with a nice clear point at the top of the finial.
However, this is a Christmas ornament and I have to consider which of my grandchildren
might want to play with the ornament. With this in mind, I made the finial ends big and
rounded. I had to consider my audience. Please join with Carl Jacobson and myself
for the Christmas Ornament Woodturning Challenge. If you have a woodturning project you’d
like me to try, please let me know. Meanwhile, please “Like” this video and
comment below.