How To Make a Decorative Wooden Vase General Woodworking
Sometimes, you just want to do something a little different, perhaps as a break from your regular activites, or perhaps just to exercise a bit of creativity. So, one day in March of 2013, I decided to make a wooden vase.
I can’t say that I have any particular use for a vase. So I don’t remember why I decided to make one. One thing is certain: it did provide a break from the regular schedule of house renovation and shop work.
As usual, I took pictures along the way but I never got around to writing up an article. I was, as always, busy and the project soon got shuffled to the back of my mind. The other day, though, I found the vase collecting dust in the corner. It was a good woodworking project, one that can be embellished or adapted to be as intricate or as simple as you want. That makes it perfect for a woodworker of any ability, really.
And, of course, you end up with something that would make a great gift.
For the design, I started with the idea of contrasting wood inlay, something that resembled two tall blades of grass growing up, bending away from each other. The base wood is maple and I laid out the curves using my drawing bow, then made the cuts on my homemade bandsaw.
The bandsaw does a good job of quickly cutting through the fairly hard maple, but it doesn’t leave a truly clean cut. The spindle sander is the best choice to make the curves clean and smooth.
For inlay, I chose black walnut cut to 1/8 inch thick. Dry fit into the curves, there are no gaps. If there had been gaps, some touch-up with the sander on the curves might have been necessary.
Glued and clamped, it’s left overnight to set.
The next day, I cut it to 5/16 inch thick with the band saw. I also cut plain maple backers, then planed all of the parts to about 3/16 inch thick.
I then glued all the face pieces to backer pieces. The backer pieces may not have been necessary, but I thought the walls may have been too thin and that a little added strength couldn’t hurt.
The blades of grass on each panel are lined up to ensure the pattern continues at the corners. Then they are trimmed off square on the ends.
I made a simple jig to cut the angled taper in each panel. Really, it was a bit of trial and error and some luck. Cutting the other edge meant resetting the angle on the jig. Notice the screws and washers holding the part down tight to the jig to keep it from moving.
All the panels cut and ready to glue together, and I used packing tape to line up and “clamp” the mitered edges.
I then added real clamps to make sure that the joints closed up tight.
After the glue had set overnight, I once again used the drawing bow to lay out a curve at the top. Then i cut it out on the band saw.
The spindle sander does a good job cleaning and refining the curves.
The rim looked a bit clunky and too thick, so I trimmed away the bulk of it with my carving knife.
Then I used a self adhesive sanding disk stuck to a stick to sand it smooth. The stick is angled on one edge to get right into the corner.
I used my small prybar to scrape the glue squeeze out in the corners inside the vase. Then, rather than try to cut it on the miter saw or table saw, I used the disk sander to square the bottom edges. I tilted the table to half the taper angle to do this.
The base is a solid piece of walnut, into which I cut a shallow rabbet to fit the bottom of the vase. Not really necessary, but it did keep it from moving when glued and clamped.
Square looks ok, But beveled looks more elegant.
The base is glued on, and the finish is applied – several coats of Danish oil, lightly sanded between coats.:
An interesting project and a good looking result. It would be perfect for an arrangement of dried flowers, to keep or to give as a gift.