Woodturning A Christmas Ornament With Bronze Wire Inlay

Uploaded by AsWoodTurns on 09.11.2012

Hi, Alan Stratton from As Wood Turns. For my next ornament for the Christmas Ornament
Woodturning Challenge, I’m going to make one out of aspen.
The great thing about Christmas ornaments it that you can use offcuts from other projects.
This is an offcut from a bowl, the bowl is rough turned and off drying but here’s the
offcut. It will be nice for a Christmas ornament right now.
For the finial, I’ll use some walnut, again an offcut from another bowl.
So, here we go. The Christmas ornament challenge is sponsored
by myself and Carl Jacobson. Make a video, put it in & let’s have some
fun. This piece of aspen has been now in my shop
a couple of months and feels somewhat dry. If it does shrink more, I don’t think it
will be significant. I glued it to a used wood faceplate with yellow
glue, and dried it overnight. First a bit of rough turning with my bowl
gouge. I did not hollow the bulb but I do need to drill a hole in which to mount the
finials. The center hole is ½” drilled with a forstner bit.
I cut a 45 degree chamfer around the center hole to mate to the finial when turned.
I sanded the body with beeswax and mineral oil mix up thru 220 grit, then applied more
wax mixture and buffed it well to seal the wood before inlaying the bronze wire.
For the inlay, I first cut a groove with my large skew. It needed to be wide enough for
the wire and deep enough to let the wire be just a little proud of the surface. I planned
to sand the bronze wire to flatten the outer curve and level it almost to the surface of
the surrounding wood. I first cut the wire to be just a little longer
than required. I will trim it later. I formed the wire to better match the circumference
of the body. The most important part was to get the end of the wire to match.
Since the wire cutters always cut a v shape in the end, I sanded the end of the wire with
sandpaper stuck to a wood block. Then just a little more fiddling with the curve and
I was ready to start gluing. Here’s where a 3rd hand would have been
handy. First just a little medium CA glue for the
end of the wire. Hold it down and spray a little accelerator. Then glue a segment, stretch
the wire into the groove and spray a little accelerator. Then more segments until I got
near the end of the wire. For the end, I cut the wire just a trifle
long. It took two cuts to get it close but not too short.
Then I sanded the end of the wire to get a flat perpendicular end.
Finally, glue down the end of the wire. Finally, sand the wire and any glue around
it with an sanding block first with the body stationary. Later sand more with the lathe
on. Here’s I felt it important to keep my face shield on and to stand away from the
plane of the wire in case it came loose while sanding.
Then on to finish sanding thru 600 grit paper and finish with a friction polish.
Finally part off the ornament body. For the bottom finial, I used scrap walnut,
again an offcut from another bowl. I glued it to the faceplate with CA glue. For the
tail stock, I padded the point with a rubber stopper I had drilled out to fit over the
threads. If I hit it with my tool, no damage to the tool. All I needed was the tail stock
pressure. After rounding the finial stock, I made a
couple of marks to indicate my best guess for the base and based on the onion for the
finial. At this point, I switched over to a medium
spindle gouge and a small spindle gouge. I worked carefully to avoid breaking the finial
away from the waste block. I used a ½” end wrench to size the tenon.
Just a bit loose but ok. Then make the 45 degree mate to the chamfer
on the body. Now to sand the finial. I started with 120
and went thru 600 grit sandpaper. Finish with friction polish and part it off.
Similarly for the top finial. The main difference here is to drill a hole for the hanger.
Finally, make a hanger out of 20 gauge brass wire, could be a lighter gauge and glue everything
together. It weighs about an ounce if my scales are