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Christmas Tree Ornaments

By Allen Mills

click to see larger veiwYou can begin a holiday tradition by turning these ornaments from your favorite hardwoods, and giving the ornaments as gifts to friends and relatives. The ornaments can be made in a minimal amount of time and each can be uniquely crafted to create an endless variety of designs. For starters, here are my three designs.

  1. Using a lathe, place the block of wood between centers and turn to a rough cylinder. Any size will do, but I start with 2-1/2 "-3" thick and 6" long.
  2. Mark the location for the plug holes around the circumference of the cylinder. For accurate spacing, wrap a piece of masking tape around the circumference and mark the two ends. Peel it off, stretch it on a flat surface, and with a ruler, mark off equal sections.
  3. Drill 3/4" deep holes for the plugs. To hold the cylinder steady while drilling, make a V-notched block of wood (see fig.1).
  4. Use a plug cutter to cut plugs from 3/4 " stock. Glue the edges of the holes. With a mallet, tap the plugs in place, If a double inlayed plug is desired, drill a smaller hole through the center of the first plug and insert the appropriate size plug into the new hole. Note: Dowel rods can be substituted for plugs.
  5. Turn the plugged cylinder to the desired shape and sand. I start with 100-grit sandpaper and work down to 220-grit.
  6. While the turning is still on the lathe, apply the finish of your choice. (For these ornaments, I used Danish oil.)
  7. Remove the turning from the lathe and cut the ends off with a coping saw. Lightly touch up the ends with sandpaper, and apply finish to the ends.
  8. Drill a small hole for the Christmas tree hook. To add character to the ornament, I make the hooks form brass wire coated with lacquer (to prevent tarnishing).
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