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DIY: Woodturned egg cup

If you enjoy being creative, you can make beautiful pieces with a lathe. Usually the product is intuitive, but that's the way I love to do it. At the beginnig I can't really say what the finished object will turn out to be, although I may have had some rough ideas beforehand.


"Woodturning is a bit like meditation, that's why I call it medicreation."

In this project that follows, I assume that you already mastered a few wood turning or contouring exercises on long wood.

Material Tools
Squared timber / Spar approx. 6x15 cm / tree stump approx. 20 cm lathe + chisels
Wax / Oil / Stain thread adapter 18 to 33 + small lathe chuck 50 mm
  band saw
  battery compressor Pressito
  sanding paper (grit: 120, 180, 240)

Step 1: The preparation

In the first step, we take a tree stump (hardwood) with about 20 cm in length and a diameter of about 17 - 20cm. Now we halve the trunk with the band saw so that the core is removed and have an about 6x20cm long squared timber left. The grain direction is now automatically along the wood, which is very important. The core has to be removed otherwise the workpiece will break afterwards. Of course, we could just take a round or square timber, but this is up to you.

Step 2: The clamping

If we finished preparing the piece of wood, it goes to equipping the lathe with an adapter 18x36 and a matching lathe chuck. In my case is a small 50mm feed the best choice. In order to make the wood ready to get turned, we drill a blind hole (10 mm deep with a diameter of 35 mm) with a Forstner drill into the front. Then the turning chuck is clamped into the blind hole from the inside.

Now you align the wood as accurately as possible on the concentricity and then you brace the feed. For beginners, I suggest to use the tailstock on the right side to give the workpiece further support. Now we check again if everything is really fixed. Here's an example of how to clamp a longer piece of wood using a tailstock.

Step 3: The wood turning

So now it's up to the actual work, the turning or the medicreation. First we turn the piece of wood, by twisting it 600 - 700 times. Please work carefully on the squared timber, otherwise you'll risk that the corners will knock off. As soon as we notice that the concentricity increases, we increase the speed to 1400 - 1700 revs to get a better surface. Now it's all about the contours. Almost everything is possible. I've decided on a small goblet / eggcup, which I built 6 times. With the detour we now fix the bottom of the chalice and turn the outer shape. Incidentally, I have not used the tailstock here in my pictures, because I don't need one for short wood anymore.

Step 4: The inside

Once the outside is as you imagined it, you can remove the tailstock to work with the top and inside of the chalice. When turning the inside, please always make sure that the chisel doesn't get caught. If you want, you can reduce the speed here again. Here it's important to always be calm while working, it's proven that it has the best outcome.

Step 5: The finish

Now we have finished the goblet and can start with the fine tuning. At 600 - 800 revs we grind with the sanding paper (grit 120) inside and outside. We repeat this process with grit 180 and 240. As soon as the surface suits you, you can stop sanding. Some projects I make finer and some even a little bit coarser. The more experience you have in turning, the less you have to sand in the end. After the last fine sanding we blow off the workpiece with compressed air. Here you can use, for example the cordless compressor Pressito. After that, we use the same speed and polish the whole thing with a rag. For this you can use both oil (olive oil) or wax (for example carnauba wax).The last act is the separating the chalice from the base material. For this we take the detour again and sting the floor off completely. Finally, sand the bottom a little and treat it with oil.

Finished is our goblet!

I hope I could inspire and seduce you to start your own turning project.

Yours sincerely Harry


AuthorHarry Früchtl
Reading time10 minutes

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