Christmas Candlestick

The Christmas Candlestick is a video I did in the first season of No BS Woodworking (my old online show). I honestly had more fun filming this episode than nearly any other video I’ve done. And while the acting (particularly mine) was a bit cheesy, the project is a serious one.

When I planned the first season, I wanted to do a simple spindle-turned project. I spent some time looking at 18th Century American wooden candlesticks in a vain attempt to find something worth making. Most of the sticks I came across lacked the grace and sophistication of their brass and silver counterparts. Why not try to make the same form in wood that can easily be found in brass?

Searching for the Right Candlestick

Brass candlesticks of the 18th century tended to be more delicate and graceful than their wooden counterparts.
This original Birmingham brass candlestick was the inspiration for the Christmas Candlestick.

Having chosen a suitable example of a period brass stick, I jumped into the task of adapting it for wood and the program. It had to be slender and graceful, but not so ornate that it would take a master turner to produce. I changed the candle cup on the wooden stick to a tulip or vase shape because the period example had a thinner, flatter drip edge and the cup itself was more elongated, which made the turning too tricky.  The idea was to keep the project achievable enough for someone with limited skills. I genuinely want you to pull this off even if you’ve got limited experience. And there’s still time to get it done before the holidays.

Most of the wooden period sticks I studied were a single piece of wood. Doing so with this type of candlestick would have meant wasting tons of material and making the turning more difficult. The original brass stick started as two pieces, why not make the wooden one the same way?

Making the Christmas Candlestick this way solves several problems. First, you don’t have to go out and find 16/4 (or larger) material to make the candlestick. It also means you don’t have a massive hunk of wood revolving on your lathe. And lastly, it means you don’t have to deal with finishing a base that’s entirely end-grain.

And in the spirit of continuing with my 12 Days of Christmas theme; use the code day7 at checkout to receive a 10% discount on the William & Mary Dressing Chest class, where you’ll certainly put your turning skills to the test. You can either work on a sample turning (and use the finished turnings provided) in class or do all the split turnings yourself. But hurry, the coupon code expires in 72 hours.


You can download the SketchUp file for the candlestick by clicking the link below:

Candlestick SketchUp File


— Chuck

Posted on Leave a comment