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Wooden Pear

Edwin J. Sadler wood-turns an ornamental pear.

Ed Sadler returns to make a wood-turned pear.

Materials and Tools:

wood for the body of the fruit: poplar, pine etc.
wood for the stalk: wenge, walnut, or ebony
wood glue
damp sponge
60- to 600-grit sandpaper
transparent wood stains
small mixing bowl (the bottom of a milk carton is ideal)
1/2" paintbrush
clean cloth
matte wipe on polyurethane
safety glasses
steel rule
table saw
electric drill, or press drill
wood turning lathe with four-jaw scroll chuck
turning tools
face shield
carving blade


1. Select piece of wood approximately 3" x 3" x 12".

2. Find the center of both ends of the block using a steel rule laid corner to corner then mark the center.

3. Scribe a circle with the compass on each end to the maximum diameter (figure A).

4. Cut off excess corners on the table saw with the blade set at 45 degrees (figure B).

5. Position the drive center on one end and tap with a plastic mallet to sink the drive teeth into the wood.

6. Mount the drive center in the lathe and holding the wood in the drive center bring up the tailstock with the running center, line up the center of the end of the block with the running center, tighten the tailstock and wind the running center into the wood.

7. Position the tool rest about 1/4 inch from the wood and make sure the work spins freely.

8. Set the lathe on the slowest speed and start to turn the wood into a circular shape with a roughing gouge. At this stage, concentrate on roughing the middle section approximately 2 inches longer than the pear.

9. Start shaping the pear with a 1/2-inch bowl gouge.

10. Taper the excess wood each side of the pear to make room for the tools to cut the bottom and top of the pear (figure D).

11. Move the tool rest to the pointed end of the pear and shape to within about 3/8" diameter. Ensure that the wood is stabilized.

12. Smooth out the pear with a rounded scraper tool when you have a desired pear shape.

13. Sand the pear starting from 120-grit sandpaper up to 400-grit.

14. Carefully begin to reduce the ends with a parting off tool, shaping as you go. The last piece of wood holding the pear can be sawn off with a backsaw (figure E).

15. Finish the ends by hand with a carving blade and sandpaper.

16. Select a scrap piece of wenge (black wood) and whittle the shape of a stalk. The stalk end that fits into the pear should be about 1/8 inch in diameter.

17. Drill a 1/8-inch hole in the end of the pear about 1/2 inch deep (figure F), glue in the stalk and wipe off the excess glue with a damp sponge.

18. In the mixing bowl combine stains to simulate the color of a pear. Test color on a scrap piece of wood and adjust if necessary.

19. Stain the pear and let dry (figure G).

20. Apply two or three coats of matte polyurethane.

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