How to Turn a Wooden Vase on a Wood Lathe

What You'll Need
Shaping chisel
Gouging chisel

If you have some carpentry and woodwork skills, then you can make a wooden vase by turning it over a wood lathe. You must make sure that you have about 5 hours of free time to do this job. You are advised to use oak or maple wood because they have a hard texture and it will definitely help to avoid making a mistake in the shaping of your vase. On the other hand, you must be much more cautious if you choose pine wood.

Step 1 – Placing the Wood

Choose a wooden block that has a larger diameter than the vase. Place the wood into the chuck of the lathe. First open the jaws and then lock one edge of your wooden block in the chuck. Put the other edge of the wood in the center of the lathe.

Step 2 – Turning the Lathe

You can now start turning your lathe. Adjust the lathe at a slow speed first, i.e., between 2000 and 5000 rpm. If you want, you can set the lathe at another speed with which you feel comfortable when working.

Step 3 – Shaping the Vase

Use a gouging chisel to make a rough draft of the base. Make sure that you cut out a shape that is similar to that of your vase. Keep in mind that you should utilize a 1-inch chisel if the wooden block has a diameter wider than 6 inches, whereas a 1/2-inch chisel should be used for blocks that are smaller in size.

Replace the gouging chisel with a shaping chisel, and use it to finally cut the desired shape out of the rough draft. Make sure that you follow the general shape as a guideline. Move the chisel upon your wooden block and remember to make a deeper cut in the neck of your vase. You must also remember that the nearer you are to the bottom, the shallower the cut should be.

Step 4 – Sanding the Vase

Complete the shape of your wooden vase with a shaping chisel. Adjust the wood lathe at a speed of 1000 rpm and rub sandpaper over the vase’s surface. Utilize the sandpaper to remove any unfinished areas from your vase. You are recommended to use sandpaper that have a lower grit i.e. 100-grit, 150-grit and 220-grit sandpaper. You can refine any details and contours on the vase with the sandpaper. After using the sandpaper, you can sand the vase a bit more, but this time use steel wool.

Step 5 – Finishing the Vase

Remove the vase by cutting it out with a handsaw from the block. Last but not least, select a wood stain and apply it as a finish to your wooden vase. If you want, you can apply the stain on your vase when it is still placed on the lathe. Let the stain dry thoroughly and you can use the steel wool again to sand the vase gently once more.