Turn a Terrific Tree Ornament

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Try your hand at polychromatic turning with a beautiful holiday project

From the first time I started to turn wood in high school shop class, I’ve been fascinated with polychromatic turning. Instead of turning a blank cut from a single log, my preference is to glue up a variety of geometric shapes, using different wood species and strips of veneer. The result is a multicolored blank that can be turned into an object of unique beauty.

A good way to learn about polychromatic turning is to make tree ornaments like the ones shown here. These ornate turnings make excellent gifts and craft sale items. Although every ornament I make is unique, they all share the same basic anatomy, and are usually assembled from 3 parts that are turned separately: a top cap, an icicle, and a polychromatic globe that contains two end caps. I don’t use patterns when turning the parts. In fact (as you’ll see on the pages ahead), turning is the easy part of the project. Once you learn how to cut and assemble a polychromatic blank, you’ll be able to apply these techniques when making other polychromatic projects like bowls, urns and plates.

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