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Tim Moore - Christmas Ornaments - June 2015

This article appeared in The Final Cut, Volume 20, Issue 12, December 2008
(updated 6/2015)

Christmas Ornaments by Tim Moore

I have been turning ornaments for a few years now after taking a class with Bob Rosand at Maryland Hall.  The ornament consists of three parts – a hollow globe, an icicle (finial), and a cap.  To turn the globe I start with a 2 1/2” x 2 1/2” x 2” block of wood on a glue block.  I shape the outside with a gouge and hollow the inside with hollowing tools I made in the Rosand class.  The wall thickness usually ends up between 1/16” to 1/8”.  The last batch of globes I turned weighted around 15 grams (1/2 ounce) each.  The icicle and cap are turned from a piece of wood 1 1/2” x 1 1/2” x 7” that is held in four jaw chuck. These are turned with a 1/4” round skew and a detail gouge.  I must give credit to both Bob Rosand and Cindy Drozda for teaching me the techniques I use to turn them.  If I am going to add color to a part I do it before assembling the pieces and I use alcohol based dyes.  The parts are glued together with carpenter’s glue and a brass screw eye completes the cap. For the finish I spray a couple of coats of Deft Gloss Lacquer.  The final touch is a wire hanger I make using brass wire and a simple jig.


I have two special tools that I can’t do without.  The first is a piece of Formica (see above picture) that contains all the information I need to turn the ornament.  This template has all the diameters, layout lines, and profiles I need to turn ornaments consistently the same.  The second is a caliper (see picture below) I use to measure wall thickness on the globes.  I first saw this caliper at the 2006 AAW Symposium at a session with J. Paul Fennel for which I assisted.  It is easy to make and easy to use.

I am often asked about the stands I make. For the base, I turn a flat disc (usually maple) with slightly rounded edges. I use wire insulation supports that you can find at any home center to make the support arms. If the stand has multiple arms they are held together with epoxy – don’t use CA glue, it will fail (2010, I now braze the wires together). The stands are painted with a black spray finish.

If you want a good article on turning ornaments see American Woodturner, Volume 19 Number 3, Fall 2004 or find it on Bob Rosand’s website






            Bob Rosand, hollowing tools and round skews


            #59 drill bit for pilot holes for screw eyes


            Calipers, call Tim Moore, $10


Brass screw eyes

            Woodworks Ltd.


Brass Screw Eyes, 7/16" overall length, #17 wire size,

inside eye diameter 1/8", length of shank 3/16"


Brass Screw Eyes, 5/16" overall length

inside eye diam 1/32", length of shank 13/64"


Brass wire for hangers



Insulation support wire

            Home Depot or Lowes


Brass Rod

            Hobby Lobby



            My daughter’s fingernail polish

            Feibings USMC Black leather dye – Tandy, Inc.

            Chestnut alcohol based dyes – Craft Supplies USA

Deft spray lacquer - Home Depot or Lowes




7x3x3 White Die Cut Mailers [Model M733]


Tim Moore

Chesapeake Woodturners,
Aug 18, 2015, 1:46 PM