Some of the ideas for this year’s small Christmas projects were inspired by special pieces of wood already in the shop. Other ideas came from woodworking magazines, offhand comments by others, and even a meme from the world of cryptocurrency.
Rustic Bud Vases
These pieces were made from a dried butternut bowl blank from a tree that grew in Deb and Jeff’s front yard across the street. The plastic test tube inserts were bought online, but inspired by ones that had come on the stems of individual cut flowers last year.
Turned Bud Vases
These pieces were made from thick sections of dried cherry from a tree that grew in Grandma and Grandpa Sass’s yard in my home town of Bristolville, Ohio. I decided to make them in two pieces so that I could epoxy in a 3/4″ bolt for weight near the base so they would be very stable.
Polished Steel Cubes
In 2021, crypto watchers were excited about Tungsten Cubes. Why? Who knows. These “amazingly heavy” ornaments are made from aerospace grade tungsten, which you can purchase from Midwest Tungsten Services. When Kyle mentioned this odd trend, it inspired me to make him a novel gift, not out of tungsten, but out of stainless steel. I bought a 1-1/2″ x 1-1/2″ x 6″ bar of 304 stainless from McMaster-Carr for about forty bucks and went about polishing it to a mirror finish. I then enlisted Lucas and his low-speed steel cutoff saw to break the bar down to 1-1/2″ cubes. A bit of cleanup and polishing on the cut ends and Kyle got three mirror finish steel cubes!
French Rolling Pins
The inspiration for turning a couple of French rolling pins was a comment from my brother, John. He and Linda were visiting somewhere with a gift shop and he said to me, There was a French rolling pin made from cherry and they were asking thirty-eight bucks for it!” In typical Mahan fashion, I thought, “Gee, I have lots of cherry and a lathe!” Turns out that turning these rolling pins entirely with a nice, sharp spindle roughing gouge was very straightforward. Once I made a little fixture to hold them between centers for finishing with walnut oil, completing them was easy and enjoyable, too.
The idea for these maple-faced adjusting hammers came from the Tips section of a recent edition of Woodsmith Magazine. The unique feature is a 3/4″ NPT pipe tee fitting, with a handle and two faces turned and tapped to screw into it. Finding an inexpensive die on eBay made short work of these home made tools.