Christmas Ornament – Inside Out Turning
Every year I want to make a Christmas ornament, but for whatever reason I don’t ever get around to making one. I’m changing that this year and who knows, I might make this a tradition. The thing I struggled with the most was the design, which I’ll get into later, but I wasn’t sure if I wanted to do a simple tree or snowman or if I wanted to do some sort of finial ornament. I ended up deciding on an inside out turning, which I’d never done before. Did you watch the video above? You should. I thought it turned out nice.
Inside out turning sounds interesting in of itself, but the process is a little out of the ordinary. To start with, you first need to create a turning blank. You can get really fancy with this part of the project with segments and such, but I decided to use four pieces of wood the size of an ink pen.
I wanted to create some visual interest by mixing up the wood with alternating Purple Heart and Padauk. Keeping it simple, but visually pleasing was the goal here. The final shape was something I wasn’t sure about. I knew I wanted something tapered on both ends, but honestly I just stopped turning once I reached a shape I liked.
The openings was another aspect of the design I wanted to pay attention to. From a design standpoint, I tried more than anything to align the points of the openings so it looked symmetrical. In the end, I am happy how it “turned” out.
The turning blank
Making the turning blank was the part of the project where I could have gotten really creative, but I chose to keep it simple. I basically used four uncut pen blanks, but I mixed it up a bit by adding two different kinds of wood as I mentioned.
The first thing I did was figure out the right placement of each piece and mark the outside corners. Marking the corners lets me know where those corners are during the process of preparing the blank. Knowing ahead of time that I would be flipping the pieces inside out after turning the center down I went ahead and planed the outside edges. To be able to put the blank on the lathe for the initial turning I had to clamp and use double sided tape to hold the pieces together.
I couldn’t use glue in this step because the individual pieces of wood have to be separated after the initial outside turning so that the planed sides could be glued together to create the see through effect.
My next step after the glue dries is to put it back on the lathe and turn the final shape of the ornament. The bigger you make the blank, the more creative you can get. Since this was my first inside out turning I wanted to keep it fairly simple.
Once I reached a good shape I started trying to clean the surface up by making very light passes with my finisher carbide turning tool. I had to be careful not to take off too much as the center, the open areas, would break.
The point or bottom of the ornament was a delicate area as I turned it down to almost nothing. In fact, if you watched the video, you may have noticed that I showed how flexible the point became and right after that it broke off.
It wasn’t a big deal that it broke because it would have gotten cut off anyway, but if it would have made it without breaking I could have and would have applied the finish while on the lathe. Actually, that’s what I was doing when it broke loose.
DON’T KNOW WHAT TO GET THAT WOODWORKER OR DIY PERSON IN YOUR LIFE? HERE”S A GIFT GUIDE I PUT TOGETHER TO MAKE IT EASY FOR YOU. YOU’RE WELCOME! CLICK HERE… https://www.amazon.com/shop/stoneandsonsworkshop
Hardware and finish
The design of the ornament ended up resembling a traditional Christmas light bulb, but that wasn’t the intent. One end was pointed, which is the bottom and the top had more of a flat spot. The flat area on top was perfect for an eye bolt to be installed that would allow a string or ribbon to be attached.
All I did for the eye bolt was drill a hole slightly smaller than the eye bolt screw itself. I could have very easily drilled a larger hole and held the eye bolt in place with epoxy if I didn’t have the right sized drill bit.
Once the eye bolt was installed I could apply the finish.
On this project I intended on using a friction polish while it was spinning on the lathe, but I had to resort to rubbing on a finish. Since I had to rub on the finish I decided to use a butcher block oil, which actually worked pretty good. The last thing to add was a ribbon to hang it from.
What did I learn
Wood turning is something I’ve done before, but I learned from this project that if you try something new and outside of your comfort zone you just might surprise yourself with what you can do. I don’t consider myself a fine furniture kinda guy just yet and I have a hard time telling myself that I can do things I’ve never tried.
The real truth is that I can do anything I set out to do, but it’s the standard at which I compare myself to that I start to doubt myself. I think that’s a big part of the lack of creativity in one’s self. If we all just try one thing we think we can’t do, we might just discover a new found skill or even the confidence we’ve been needing.
Phew… I didn’t mean to get all deep and stuff and I certainly don’t think this project was anything near being complex, but I do think it was a project that allowed me to think differently in a good and creative way. Give this project a try and post it somewhere online. Be sure to tag me, so I can see it. I’d love to share it.
Credit: Frank Howarth
Learn more about us
New here and don’t know where to go next? Click here: https://stoneandsons.net//starthere/
About us and our story: https://stoneandsons.net//about/
Stay in the loop with our projects: https://stoneandsons.net//newsletter/
See our project plans: https://stoneandsons.net//plans/
Tools I use: https://stoneandsons.net//tools
Tools Used In This Project
• Shop apron/vest, Atlas 46: http://bit.ly/atlas46
• Hats/shirts: https://stoneandsons.net//product-category/apparel/
• Lathe, Jet: http://amzn.to/2nmLGXc
• Full face shield, Honeywell: http://amzn.to/2vPwTYg
• Mid size easy rougher, EWT: http://amzn.to/2t79m0V
• Mid size easy finisher, EWT: http://amzn.to/2t7h2Aw
• Mid size easy detailer, EWT: http://amzn.to/2u59tKR
• Drill and impact 20v, Porter Cable: http://amzn.to/2txekak
• Drill and drive bit set, Kobalt: http://amzn.to/2stIbf6
Gluing, Finishing and Accessories:
• Glu-bot: http://amzn.to/2s9rpm8
• Wood glue, Titebond III: http://amzn.to/2u6CEgo
• Butcher block finish, Howards: http://amzn.to/2j8Mn1U
Clamping and Accessories:
• Spring clamp 9 pc set, Bessey: http://amzn.to/2su6eKX
• 6.5″ woodworkers vise, Irwin: http://amzn.to/2uryNtK
Measuring, Marking and Layout:
• 6’ nylon tape measure, Milwaukee: http://amzn.to/2s9xteh
• No. 5 bench plane, Stanley: http://amzn.to/2spdcFP
• Safety glasses, 3M: http://amzn.to/2txHtT7
• Fire extinguisher: http://amzn.to/2ururTy
• First aid kit: http://amzn.to/2urwR4B
Video Equipment and Electronics:
• DSLR camera and mic, Canon/Rode: http://amzn.to/2urN0qA
• Camera battery pack, Canon: http://amzn.to/2sudLcx
• Tripod, Manfrotto: http://amzn.to/2s9MHjB
• Backpack for laptop (modified for camera): http://amzn.to/2sppNsC
• Memory card, 64gb: http://amzn.to/2s9hPzC
• Memory card waterproof case: http://amzn.to/2suLliC
• Laptop, MacBook: http://amzn.to/2urnDFx
• Network Attached Storage, 6TB: http://amzn.to/2suvRLu
Other tools I use
*Most of the links listed above are Amazon Affiliate links
If you enjoyed this article, please consider sharing it with your friends and family by clicking any of the social media icons below. It would be greatly appreciated.