Thursday, 29 September 2011

Making a pair of Candlesticks.

These Candlesticks ore made to look old as the outlet they are going to sells old pine furniture that has been painted over the years.
They are turned from pine joinery quality timber from the local builders merchants.
The form of these are not completely my own idea they are roughly based on  a candlestick Les Thorn made in a demo at the AWGB Seminar earlier in the year.
Les also introduced me to a book by Stuart E.Dyas called Classic Forms.
The book contains a mass of useful information on classical forms used in Woodworking and architecture.
Thank you Les.
If you want to any of these pics just click on the pic.

The first thing you need is to make a template or reference board.It might be possible to make a one off candlestick  by eye and guesswork but if you want to make pairs you will have to make a board.
To make the initial board I drew the sizes on some lining wallpaper until I was satisfied the dimensions looked right.I am a great beleiver in if it looks right it is right.When I was satisfied it looket balanced and in proportion the dimensions were transfered to a piece of MDF.
I always make templets out of MDF so that they can be saved for another day.If they are on paper sooner or later they get distroyed or worn out.

As you can see from the above pics all the sizes are marked and one side has been cut to shape.
This gives me a visual aid and all my sizes are at hand.
It is important that your dimensions are accurate as you will be transferring them onto your wood later.  The cut out is just a reminder of the form you are creating.
A useful tip you will have noticed above is to use a n hacksaw blade and a piece of wire to create shapes.

The next job is to prepare all of your timber and have them at hand ready to start.

This is a 4" square 1" over length to allow enough for a 1/2" tenon on both ends.Two of these are rounded down to an Even thickness with a spindle roughing gouge.
Next the sizing and reference marks are transfered from your template to the roughed out cylinder.
A Mark Sanger tip Create an indent for your pencil to sit in on your template it makes marking easier.
With all of our reverence points marked we are ready to turn them down to size.What we are doing here is turning down with a parting tool to our high spots to give us a reference to start creating our shapes.
Here I am using a parting tool to take the wood down to the desired thickness.As I am using the tool in one hand and holding the callipers in the other I am using the parting tool in a scraping mode for safety.

Here the wood is turned down for the spigot and next to it it is turned down to where my cove will be.The cove will be created between the two lines leaving a shoulder both sides.The piece next to that you can see where my ball will be created with a pencil line marking the centre as this will help me get a balanced ball.I will work both ways either side of this line as I do not want to remove the line as this will make sure  the biggest possible diameter is left.
As you can see I am creating the ball with a spindle roughing gouge prior to reining the shape with a spindle gouge or skew chisel.
The shape I am creating here is called a Baluster this has to be a nice flowing shape to look right.
As you can see my template is positioned behind the piece I am turning .
It is the wrong hand but it does not realy matter
That is the two stems turned and sanded.

We now we need to make a top and bottom.

The four pieces are cut from 6" x 3" pine .The rounds are marked and the corners cut off.
You can cut these strait into rounds if you want but I just find it quicker on small stuff to knock off the corners.
As you can see I am using a screw chuck the hole will not be seen as it will be inside mortise and hidden from view.

The blanks are mounted on the lathe with the screw chuck held in the Axminster precision chuck with the tailstock brought up to give support while roughing out.
Here I am putting two marks on the blank one for the mortise and the other to show where the shoulder will start.
I am using deviders and making sure that only the left hand point touches.
When turning cross grain pine use as high a speed that is safe and take small cuts as big shards /splinters can break off if you take big cuts.
I am now making a recess with a thin parting tool to fit my Axminster C jaws this is 70mm .This will serve as the recess for work holding then it will be used on the finished piece for setting the candle in.
On the base it will not show as it will be on the underside.

All four pieces are now turned down to the right outer size and a recess made in them all.

Make sure that all of the tops are slightly concave and sanded .This will make the bases stable and the tops will look good with a sanded finish.
All four of these will now be held in the C jaws and turned to a final shape and sanded.

Both of these pieces show the recess to take the spiggot.

A correct fit not too tight as you have to allow a bit for glue.

 Both bases fitted and the two tops ready to finish.

This is how I achieved the final finish and colour.
After gluing up with hot melt glue both candlesticks are painted white with acrylic satin emushion paint.
Before they are dry I wipe of as much paint as I can with a soft cloth.
When the paint is dry it is sanded with 320 grade paper.
Then the whole thing is further sanded down with 600 grade paper and a slurry of mixed liming and verdigris wax.
Neat Verdigris wax has been put on the detail as above because I wanted the colour to be heavier in these areas.

That is after the final sanding with the wax slurry.As you can see there is a lot of cleaning up to do.
I removed the wax with finishing oil and lots of paper roll.

Two final coats of finishing oil.
This is the end result and I am very pleased how they turned out.


  1. Great work in progress George. It will be a great help to many.

    Keep up the good work.