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Treble Clef Vase

Craig Timmerman wood turns a treble clef vase.

Materials and Tools:

lathe turning tools
roughing gouge
bowl gouge
round-nose scraper
beading and parting tool
lathe hollowing tools
four-jaw lathe chuck
lathe drive center and live center
drill chuck and long 1" diameter drill bit
light-colored wood blank (e.g. ash, maple, etc.) approximately 5" square and10" long
scrap wood blank approximately 3" square and 3" long.
wood dye, e.g. aniline dye
black watercolor pencil
flap sander
coping saw, air-body saw, or jigsaw
rotary tool with various burrs and sanding drums
safety glasses

Figure A


1. Put on eye protection. Mark the center points of a wood blank (piece of wood) for the vase on both ends.

2. Mount the wood blank on the lathe between the drive center and the live center in the tailstock.

3. Rough turn the blank to a cylinder using the roughing gouge (Figure A).

Figure B

4. Using the beading and parting tool, make a tenon on one end of the blank that will be used for mounting the piece in the four-jaw chuck (Figure B).

Figure C

5. Use the bowl gouge to form the rough shape of the vase (Figure C).

6. Remove the vase from between centers and mount it in the four-jaw chuck.

7. Refine the vase to its final form using the bowl gouge and round-nose scraper. Wood piece is still solid.

Figure D

8. Sand the exterior down to 1200 grit (Figure D).

9. Apply two to three coats of a wipe-on lacquer on the vase.

Figure E

10. Draw out the treble clef shape on a piece of paper (Figure E), cut out the shape and lay out the shape on the outside of the vase using the black colored pencil.

11. Mount the drill chuck and 1" drill bit in the lathe tailstock and drill a hole down the center of the vase, to approximately 1/4" from bottom.

Figure H

12. Using a lathe-hollowing tool, hollow out the vase to a uniform thickness of approximately 3/16". A laser thickness attachment makes this easy. If one isn’t available, drill a set of holes in the area of the treble clef shape that will be cut out and use those holes to judge the thickness (Figure H).

Figure I

13. Sand the interior of the vase using a flap sander or with any other tool that will fit into the hole (Figure I).

14. Remove the vase from the chuck.

15. Turn a jam chuck using the scrap piece of stock that will be small enough to fit the opening of the vase.

16. Reverse mount the vase on the jam chuck by bringing the tailstock up to the bottom of the vase.

Figure J

17. Turn off the tenon on the bottom using the bowl gouge (Figure J).

18. Remove the vase from the lathe.

Figure K

19. Rough-cut out the treble clef shape using the air-body saw, the coping saw or saw of your choice (Figure K).

Figure L

20. Refine the treble clef shape using the rotary tool and burrs/sanding drums (Figure L).

Figure M

21. Dye the interior of the vase using the aniline dye (Figure M).

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