Hawaiian Inspired Fragrance Diffuser

Monday 9 July 2018

Steven Russell takes influence from his trips to Hawaii and creates this charming fragrance diffuser for the home, which is made using a natural edge burr

When you're used to doing lots of production turning, it's always refreshing to take a break and just turn a fun and relaxing project. This project came about after one of my recent trips to Hawaii, where fragrance and scented oil reed diffusers are common on the island of Maui. Unfortunately, these diffusers all come with tall reeds that allow the fragrance to be released into the air. Although the reeds work well, they are not visually attractive and seem to excel at being a dust magnet. Since I could not find a better-looking diffuser anywhere, I decided to turn my own using a natural edge burr.

Scented and aromatherapy oils are available at numerous places including speciality boutiques, online merchants, cooking supply stockists, and even grocery stores.

A plethora of fragrances is available that will allow you to easily find one that appeals to you. These types of diffusers can be used in almost any room in your home and offer a long lasting, slow release of the fragrance.

This fun spindle project can be turned from scraps you have lying about in your workshop. The only caveat is that you should limit your timber choices for the wick and diffuser to timbers that are free of natural oils, or strong scents to prevent discolouring or altering the scent of the fragrance.

Tools used: 3mm (1/8in) parting tool, 6mm (1/4in) bowl gouge, 6mm (1/4in) spindle gouge, beading/parting tool, Easy Woods Tools ci3-h5 Easy Hollower, Ci3m Mini Finisher, Ci1 Easy Rougher and C12m Mini Rougher

Step 1

Take a scrap piece of York gum burr that measures approximately 75 x 75mm (3 x 3in) and mount using a two, four prong or a Steb centre in the headstock and a revolving centre in the tailstock. All portions of the project should be turned at 3,200rpm

Step 2

The initial rounding over is completed using an Ci1 Easy Rougher carbide tool, or a bowl gouge. To shape the bowl, use a 6mm (1/4in) spindle gouge, ground with a swept-back grind. To further define the collar area on the diffuser, use a Ci2 Mini Rougher, or a beading/parting tool, outfitted with the square faced carbide cutter

Step 3

The basic roughout profile for the diffuser is now complete. Make sure you leave the lower collar area with sufficient mass at this point, to provide adequate support to the bowl whilst hollowing

Step 4

Hollowing of the interior diffuser bowl is completed with the Easy Wood Tools Ci3-h5 Easy Hollower, or a bowl gouge and a round nosed scraper

Step 5

The completed interior diffuser bowl after the hollowing is finished

Step 6

Since this project has a natural edge, most of the sanding is done by hand, with the lathe turned off. The surface is sanded using 320, 400 and 600 grit abrasives. The outer base – the collar – of the diffuser is then rough turned using a 6mm (1/4in) spindle gouge

Step 7

Final turning of the base is completed using the 6mm (1/4in) spindle gouge. Part the diffuser off using a 1.5mm (1/16in) super thin parting tool. The diffuser is now ready for reverse chucking to complete the collar

Step 8

Turn a simple friction chuck to allow reverse turning of the lower collar. To turn the lower collar, I use a simple homemade tool, fashioned from an old Allen wrench fitted in a handle for easy tool control, ground with flats to allow use as a 90 degree angled scraper. Size the collar to fit the top of the glass bottle you are using

Step 9

Turn the lower wicking element from a 12mm (1/2in) square x 140mm (5 1/2in) long piece of silver maple (Acer rubrum). After initial shaping with the Ci1 Mini Rougher, or spindle gouge, finish turning is completed using a 5mm (3/16in) spindle gouge, ground with a swept back grind. This is one of my favourite tools

for turning fine detailed elements

Step 10

Although it will not be seen when the diffuser is in use, I added two beads and an oval section to the wick for an extra touch of elegance. Turn the top end of the wick to 6mm (1/4in) in diameter and mount into a drilled hole in the bottom of the centre collar's stem area

Step 11

Once the turning is complete, sand the surface using 320, 400 and 600 grit abrasives. Next, blow any dust residue off the surface of the diffuser and the wick using high-pressure air. The completed diffuser and wick assembly. Mount the wick with a tight friction fit in the bottom of the collar stem, inside a 6mm (1/4in) hole that is drilled using a Forstner bit, 10mm (3/8in) deep. The diffuser is now complete