Inside-out Ornament

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Overall dimensions: 3" dia. × 73⁄4" high

The world of wood turning can produce some pretty tricky looking projects. Among them are “inside-out” turnings. These spindle-turned pieces feature a hollowed-out interior that’s visible through shapely window silhouettes that are created by the edges of the interior profile.

As mystifying as an inside-out turning might appear, it’s not all that difficult to make one. Basically, you bundle together four identically sized, squared lengths of stock, and mount them on the lathe between shop-made chucks that hold the unglued pieces tightly together. You then turn the bundle to a specific profile. Afterward, you remove the pieces, orient the turned surfaces inward, and glue the pieces together. This creates the windows that expose the shapely hollowed interior. If you like, you can then remount the assembly on the lathe, and turn the outside of the block to a complementary shape.

Here, I’ll show you how to make a simple tree ornament with a turned exterior. Although it’s too heavy to hang on a Christmas tree, you can suspend it from a ceiling hook or curtain rod. It also makes a very nice standing table ornament. Just be prepared for someone to ask you: “Say, how did you do that?”

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