Lidded Form With Finial

Monday 9 July 2018

This article shows you how to make one of my signature lidded forms incorporating a metal bead and a free form finial. Normally, these are rough turned from unseasoned wood and allowed to season fully before finish turning some months later. However, seasoned wood can be used as long as a few considerations are taken into account, which will enable a good fit to the lid.

The project uses seasoned yew (Taxus baccata) for the main form measuring 200mm (8in) diameter x 170mm (6 3/4in) in length with a contrasting wood (anjan) being used for the lid and finial. The form is turned end grain with the grain running parallel to the spindle axis of the lathe. Alternatively, a seasoned bowl blank can be used to make a more squat form.

In either instance, due to the addition of a lid, I recommend even with seasoned wood that the form be turned to the finished size, leaving the internal diameter of the neck slightly undersize. Leave the spigot in place and take the form into your home to settle for a few days before finishing and fitting the lid. Simply removing the material from the inside of the form will allow movement to occur, albeit small, and this can affect the fit of the lid. After a few days the form can then be finished.

For the main form, lid and finial size, I have worked in thirds. i.e. the base diameter is one-third of the form diameter; the external diameter of the lid is again one-third of the main form diameter and the finial height is made to be half of the height of the form (including the bead). This means that when placed onto the form it becomes one-third of the whole piece, inclusively. This rule does not have to be rigidly adhered to but it is a good starting place to induce balance into the form and relationship with the lid and finial. Play around with your own ideas of form and shape.

To finish the project, the shaped finial is attached to the lid by means of a standard 3mm (1/8in) cross-head wood screw.

Tools used:

12mm (1/2in) bowl gouge, 9mm (3/8in) spindle gouge, 12mm (1/2in) skew chisel, 6mm (1/4in) parting tool, 3mm (1/8in) parting tool, 24mm (1in) square-end scraper, tipped shear scraper and Kelton hollowing tools

Step 1

Mark both ends of the blank and place between centres. Use a 12mm (1/2in) bowl gouge and rough down to the round, taking into account a suitable speed for your lathe and the size of blank used

Step 2

Use the 12mm (1/2in) bowl gouge to clean up the front face of the blank turning in toward the revolving centre from the external diameter

Step 3

Mark on the front face the diameter of the spigot to suit your chuck jaws. Do this by using a rule and pencil with a low spindle rpm

Step 4

Using the 12mm (1/2in) bowl gouge turn to this line and produce a spigot to the correct length to suit the chuck jaws. True up the spigot using a 12mm (1/2in) skew chisel held horizontal on the toolrest in a trailing mode

Step 5

Mark one-third of the way down from the top of the blank the centre of the shoulder for the form. Turn the profile towards the base from this line

Step 6

Using a 12mm (1/2in) bowl gouge blend from the shoulder towards the headstock. Produce the shape for the top of the form in toward the drive centre to a safe distance

Step 7

Reverse the form into the chuck and bring up the revolving centre to centralise the form before tightening. Use the 12mm (1/2in) bowl gouge to clean up the front face and mark the external diameter of the neck using a pencil and rule, as before. Turn up to this line producing a small shoulder of 2-3mm in height

Step 8

Using a 24mm (1in) square-end scraper, scrape the outside profile of the form to remove any tool marks

Step 9

Using a 25mm (1in) sawtooth bit in a Jacobs chuck drill out the form to depth. Measure the height of the form and mark this on the bit – minus 10mm (3/8in) – using a marker. Withdraw the bit regularly to remove the shavings and to prevent binding

Step 10

Hollow the form by firstly opening the entrance hole to the previously marked line. Work from the shoulder down towards the base and use callipers to measure the wall thickness regularly, aiming for a wall thickness of 5-6mm

Step 11

Check the depth with a depth gauge before finishing, taking a measurement from inside and comparing to the outside base line. Finish with the hollowers leaving the base around 8mm (5/16in) thick. The base will be concaved slightly later to allow the form to sit properly, thus removing some of this thickness

Step 12

Using a tipped scraping tool shear scrape the inside profile to a good finish

Step 13

Finish the outside using hook-and-loop abrasive on a 50mm (2in) sanding arbor in a power drill from 120 to 400 grit. Dampen the surface with a small amount of water on a kitchen towel and cut back with 600 grit abrasive, once dry

Step 14

Apply several coats of cellulose sanding sealer, removing any excess with kitchen towel. If required, cut back with a 600 grit abrasive by hand. Buff the form with the lathe speed set around 1,000rpm with kitchen towel or safety cloth. Alternatively, the whole form can be buffed using a buffing system when completed

Step 15

Use a friction drive in the chuck made from waste wood to fit the opening of the form. Protect the form by placing kitchen towel over the drive and bring up the revolving centre. Using a 9mm (3/8in) spindle gouge refine the base profile, and turn down the waste material to a diameter of 10mm (3/8in). Concave the base and blend the profile. Clean up with the 25mm (1in) scraper. Finish with 120-600 grit abrasive and apply sanding sealer and buff, as before. With the lathe stationary cut the waste material from the base using a fine saw blade. Remove the remaining waste using a sharp chisel, or reciprocal carver and blend with abrasive. Finish as before with sanding sealer, then apply your chosen wax and buff by hand

Making the lid

Step 16

Rough the blank so that the outside diameter is larger than the shoulder of the main form. Turn a spigot on one end to fit the chuck jaws and tighten into the chuck. Clean up the front face using a 9mm (3/8in) spindle gouge to remove the centre mark

Step 17

Using Vernier callipers measure the internal diameter of the neck in the form and transfer this measurement to the front face of the blank. Only allow the left tip of the Vernier callipers to contact the wood while trailing the tip

Step 18

Use a 6mm (1/4n) parting tool to part up just short of this line, making the shoulder approximately 5mm (3/16in) wide

Step 19

Offer the form up to the lid and continue to remove small amounts of material with the 6mm (1/4in) parting tool until a good fit is achieved

Step 20

Measure the outside neck diameter of the hollow form and mark, as before, onto the base of the lid. Using the 6mm (1/4in) parting tool part down short of this line, making it approximately 5mm (1/4in) wide. Offer the form up onto the lid and continue to remove small amounts of material until the external diameter of the lid matches that of the neck

Step 21

Using the 6mm (1/4in) parting tool produce a recess approximately 5mm (1/4in) deep x 12mm (1/2in) diameter in the base. Once complete rotate the parting tool anti-clockwise and use it to slightly scrape/round over the edge of the recess

Step 22

Use a 12mm (1/2in) skew chisel horizontally on the toolrest in a trailing mode to produce a counter sink in the centre of the recess to take the head of the wood screw. In this instance the depth will be 6mm (1/4in) diameter x 3mm (1/8in)

Step 23

Using the skew in a scraping, slightly trailing mode produce several beads on the base using the toe

Step 24

Use a 3mm (1/8in) drill to drill a central hole approximately 20mm (3/4in) deep, so that when the lid is parted off the hole goes all the way through

Step 25

Finish the base with 240 grit abrasive by hand down to 400 grit. Only clean up the outside diameter of the lid lightly with 320-400 grit. Regularly check that the form has a good fit

Step 26

Apply cellulose sanding sealer, allow to dry and buff back with kitchen towel with the lathe set to 1,500rpm

Step 27

Using a 3mm (1/8in) parting tool part into the lid leaving it approximately 20mm (3/4in) thick to allow for the forming of the top profile. Stop the lathe prior to parting all the way through and cut off the lid with a fine saw blade

Step 28

Turn a jam chuck to fit the lid into. Use a 9mm (3/8in) spindle gouge to turn the top profile of the lid. Take the lid out regularly to check the profile by placing it into the form. Turn your desired profile to finish

Step 29

Once complete finish to 600 grit, as before. Apply sanding sealer and buff with kitchen towel or safety cloth with the lathe speed running around 1,500rpm. At this stage you can apply your chosen wax/finish, if desired. The lid is now completed with the addition of a small contrasting button, which will be placed into the base of the form to cover the screw head

Making the finial

Step 30

Draw the desired finial shape onto a piece of paper and stick this to the wood using PVA glue. Alternatively, the design can be drawn directly onto the wood. Use a scroll saw, or cut out by hand using a coping saw. Cut slightly outside of the line, as the shape can be refined later

Step 31

Use a suitable diameter drill, in this case 8mm (5/16in), to drill out the circle area. Alternatively, a pillar drill can be used

Step 32

Shape and blend the outside of the finial using 120 grit held on a 50mm (2in) hook-and-loop arbor in a Jacobs chuck in the headstock of the lathe. Once the main blending has been achieved finish by hand using 120 down to 600 grit. Blend the inside of the hole again by hand, either rolling up the abrasive into a tight tube or by wrapping it around a small file

Step 33

Once complete, apply cellulose sanding sealer and buff using a soft 200mm (8in) buffing wheel. Alternatively, buff by hand using a soft cloth when dry

Step 34

Again, using the Jacobs chuck and a small drill, first mark the position for the hole using a fine point braddle and, in this case, using a 2mm (5/64in) drill. Drill out a hole 5mm (3/16in) deep while holding the finial up to the drill and pushing onto the drill

Step 35

Dry assemble the screw through the base of the lid and bead. Cut the screw off to length so that around 4mm (5/32in) is protruding out from the bead – use a large set of wire cutters for this. Alternatively, cut the screw in a vice with a fine hacksaw. Drip medium viscosity Cyanoacrylate into the hole of the finial and screw the lid, bead and finial together. Align the finial so that it runs in line with the grain of the lid and allow to dry

Step 36

Turn a small button to fit inside the recess of the base in the lid to cover the screw head with alternative material, or contrasting wood. Prepare the button material to fit into the jaws of the chuck. Clean up the front face using a 6mm (1/4in) parting tool. Rough down a section of the material and mark the diameter of the recess onto this face with Vernier callipers, as before

Step 37

Using a 6mm (1/4in) parting tool part down to this mark, checking for a good fit into the lid as you proceed

Step 38

Using the 6mm (1/4n) parting tool slightly roll the tool anti-clockwise. Use the burr of the edge as a scraper to slightly dome the front of the button

Step 39

Measure the depth of the recess and mark this for the thickness of the button using a pencil. Part off the button using a 3mm (1/8in) parting tool. Part in until a small amount of material is left and cut off using a fine saw blade. Place a small piece of abrasive on a flat surface and rub the back of the button flat. Drip a small amount of high viscosity Cyanoacrylate into the recess around the screw head and material. Push the button into the base. Be careful not to use too much glue or it can squeeze out and stick to your fingers. Wear latex type gloves when doing this in case of any overspill. The lid is now fully complete. Apply wax to the lid and finial, then buff by hand