Sequence for Turning a Christmas Tree Ornament
Demonstrated at the April 2001 meeting of the Utah Association of Woodturners,
the way to turn Christmas tree ornaments. Bill Denner, this year's president,
demonstrated technique. The best materials for the ball are dense, straight
grained woods such as maple, birch, blood wood, rosewood, black wood, etc.
Preparing the Ball
- 1. Start with a 2" by 2" by 21/2" long billet if
using a waste block, 31/2" long if using a
- 2. Mark centers 11/4" back from end on all four
sides and centers of width
- 3. Drill 3/4" hole to center of block on all four
sides using a foerstner bit and center marks as guides.
- 4. Mount in screw chuck or on waste block.
- 5. Turn to cylindrical using a roughing gouge.
- 6. Mark center of hole vertically in pencil.
- 7. Using a 3/8" spindle gouge, shape to round the
tail end first, then the headstock end leaving it 1" thick for
- 8. Drill a 1/2" hole through the tail stock end
21/2" deep using a Jacobs chuck.
- 9. Using a 5/16" gouge or similar tool and with
the tool rest about even with the bottom of the hole, begin
hollowing the inside of the ball holding the gouge on its left side
and starting at the edge of the hole, working inward to center of
side holes. Complete hollowing from this end before moving to other
end. Working from center out, continue hollowing inside.
- 10. Finish shaping headstock end to 3/4".
- 11. Sand taking care not to get fingers in holes and avoiding heating
and consequently cracking the piece
- 12. Using wax if necessary, sand with 80-, 120-, 150- and 220-grit
- 13. Seal with Mylands® Sanding Sealer and polish with cotton cloth.
- 14. Polish with Mylands® Friction Polish and cotton cloth.
- 15. Wax with paste wax and polish with cotton cloth.
- 16. Part off using 1/8" or smaller tool while
supporting ball in left hand.
Preparing the Finial
- 1. Mount a 11/4" x 11/4"
x 6" to 8" piece of stock in a contrasting color on a screw chuck.
- 2. Rough to round.
- 3. Turn a small undercut tendon to fit the end hole in the ball.
- 4. Shape as desired, similar to a (chess) game piece.
- 5. Sand, seal, polish and wax as for ball.
- 6. Part off with care.
Preparing the Icicle
- 1. From stock just as for finial, turn a small undercut tendon to fit
the icicle end of the ball.
- 2. Shape as desired and as long and thin as desired, but with support as
the spindle gets smaller.
- 3. Sand, seal, polish and wax as for ball.
- 4. Part off with care.
- 5. Assemble finial and icicle to ball.