Decorative Jardiniere

Monday 9 July 2018

Many years ago, jardiniere's were common within homes and were designed as a platform on which to place a specimen plant, but today they appear to be out of vogue, possibly being seen as more of a classical item. However, a jardiniere still has its place and can be adapted to have a modern feel, which is what this article aims to achieve. By incorporating woods that fit in with our interiors, and by changing the design, they can add an interesting statement.

This project includes both faceplate and spindle turning and uses a simple selection of tools (as shown below).

The central section of the main pillar is enhanced by producing a form within the pillar with grooves turned with a parting tool. The outside is then enhanced with ebonising lacquer to add contrast and highlight this inner form. The ebonised theme has been continued to add accents to the top and base of the project, aiming to give a contemporary feel to the piece. The wood selected in this instance is ash (Fraxinus excelsior); however the design can be altered for any interpretation. The height can be adjusted, as can any of the dimensions, to suit your own ideas.

Tools used

3mm (1/8in) parting tool, 6mm (1/4in) parting tool, 25mm (1in) square-end scraper, 12mm (1/2in) skew chisel, 12mm (1/2in) bowl gouge, 32mm (1 1/4in) spindle roughing gouge

Step 1

For this project you will need two ash bowl blanks, the first measuring 200 x 75mm (8 dia. x 3in) and the second 200 x 50mm (8 x 2in). You will also need an ash spindle blank measuring 100 x 100 x 390mm (4 x 4 x 15in). Start by drilling a hole and affix to the screw chuck. Clean up the front face and balance the blank using a 12mm (1/2in) bowl blank

Step 2

Mark the diameter to suit your dovetail jaws using callipers in a trailing mode, thus allowing only the left tip to contact the rotating blank

Step 3

Using a 6mm (1/4in) parting tool turn a recess around 8mm (5/16in) deep

Step 4

Using a 12mm (1/2in) skew chisel remove the rest of the inner material from the blank, working from inside out using the toe of the skew. Trail the tool and finish off the recess by undercutting the outer edge to fit the angle of your dovetail jaws

Step 5

Scrape the base to clean up any marks left by the gouge and mark a line around the inner edge approximately 20mm (3/4in) in from the outer edge. Set a pencil and a pair of compasses to the distance from the centre to this outer line (radius) and mark six equally spaced points

Step 6

Using a 10mm (3/8in) wood bit in a slow speed power drill, drill out three holes – miss out every other pencil mark – to a depth of around 10mm (3/8in). This means that the three holes will be spaced at 120 degrees around the blank. Into these holes three small button feet will later be glued in place. Alternatively, this can be done by removing the blank and using a pillar drill. Once the holes have been drilled sand the base down using 400 grit abrasive

Step 7

Reverse the blank onto dovetail jaws in the chuck and clean up the front face using a 12mm (1/2in) bowl gouge. Drill out a hole using a 30mm (1 1/8in) sawtooth bit in a Jacobs chuck to a depth of 30mm (1 1/8in)

Step 8

Create a small chamfer using a 12mm (1/2in) skew chisel in a trailing mode at the edge of the hole to later prevent mismatch with the spigot shoulder of the centre spindle

Step 9

Mark a 60mm (2 3/8in) diameter, as before, on the front face. Using a 12mm (1/2in) bowl gouge produce the outside profile from the front face to the base, stopping short approximately 15mm (5/8in) from the base

Step 10

Using the toe of a 12mm (1/2in) skew chisel cut a small defining V groove approximately 2mm wide x 2mm deep, between these areas. If you prefer, the skew can be used in a trailing mode to achieve this

Step 11

Scrape the profile using a 25mm (1in) square-end scraper to remove any marks left by the gouge and finish by power sanding from 120 to 400 grit using a 50mm (2in) hook-and-loop arbor. Be mindful of the defining V groove and try not to obscure the detail

Step 12

Vacuum up and dust, protect your lathe using kitchen towel, and seal the form top and base using acrylic sanding sealer. Apply several coats, cutting back between each coat to de-nib by hand using 600 grit abrasive

Step 13

Carefully mask around the form with masking tape leaving the bottom section showing. Place the tape within the 'V' groove. Use your fingernail to run along the groove to make sure the tape adheres within the groove. Mask over the rest of the form and spray with acrylic ebonising lacquer. Use several fine coats of the lacquer until you have good coverage. Allow to dry fully between each coat

Step 14

Once dry remove the masking tape and redefine the V groove using the toe of a 12mm (1/2in) skew chisel. Once complete protect the lathe and finish with acrylic satin lacquer

Producing the top

Step 15

As before, drill for fixing to the screw chuck. I reduced the depth of the hole for the screw chuck to 10mm (3/8in) using a wooden spacer. This was done to reduce the amount of material being removed from the top face on finishing. The revolving centre was brought up to add security, taking this into account during the turning of the profile. Clean up the front face and balance the outside diameter, then mark and produce a spigot to fit your chuck jaws. Mark a 60mm (2 3/8in) diameter, as with the base, and blend from this line to the top, leaving a small rim. Define this with the 12mm (1/2in) skew. Finish with abrasive and sanding sealer. Mask and spray the rim detail with acrylic ebonising lacquer

Step 16

Reverse the blank into dovetail jaws and clean up the front face using a 12mm (1/2in) bowl gouge. Mark the inner diameter of the rim using a 12mm (1/2in) skew chisel on the front face

Step 17

Turn out the inside of the face using a 12mm (1/2in) bowl gouge and reduce the face within the rim to a depth of approximately 5mm (3/16in). On nearing the central 40mm (1 5/8in) of the front face, turn a small concaved recess to remove the remaining hole left by the screw chuck – this will add interest

Step 18

Using a 12mm (1/2in) skew chisel in a trailing mode, clean up the face next to the rim and produce a small bead around the concave recess

Step 19

Power sand down to 400 grit, seal with acrylic sanding sealer, as before, and finish with acrylic satin lacquer

Step 20

Reverse into Cole jaws, protecting the piece with kitchen towel. Remove the spigot using the bowl gouge. Drill out the centre using the 30mm (1 1/8in) sawtooth bit to a depth of 30mm, then clean up the base with abrasive down to 400 grit. Chamfer the start of the hole, as with the base form, using a 12mm (1/2in) skew and finish with sanding sealer and lacquer

Creating the spindle

Step 21

Mount the blank between centres and round down to the round using a 32mm (1 1/4in) spindle roughing gouge

Step 22

Using a 6mm (1/4in) parting tool clean up both ends of the blank to length

Step 23

Using a pencil and rule mark the measurements for the spigots at each end and the central ebonised/ribbed section

Step 24

Using a 6mm (1/4in) parting tool and callipers set to the spigot diameter, part in at both ends the waste side of the marked lines. Part along until the spigots are formed at both ends

Step 25

Mark a 50mm (2in) diameter on each end and use a 32mm (1 1/4in) spindle roughing gouge to produce the outside profile from the outer lines of the central area, working from outsider diameter in

Step 26

Using a 12mm (1/2in) skew refine the surface and define the two outer lines of the central part by using the toe of the skew, as before, on the top and base to produce small V grooves

Step 27

Power sand down to 400 grit and apply acrylic sanding sealer. Once dry tape up with masking tape to the V grooves, making sure that the masking tape is pushed down into the grooves. Protect the lathe and apply acrylic ebonising lacquer until a good cover is achieved

Step 28

Use a 6mm (1/4in) parting tool to produce the ribbed area. First part the central groove to depth using callipers. Define the remaining grooves equally spaced to a depth of 2-3mm. This was done by eye using the tool width as a gauge. However, you can mark the central point of the grooves, if preferred, using a pencil and rule. To start the grooves present the tool in a slight trailing mode on entering the wood. This will produce a clean sharp edge without lifting the fibres. Once into the wood drop the handle and engage the bevel, continuing the cut as normal

Step 29

Once complete, remove the masking tape and apply acrylic satin lacquer

Making the feet/buttons

Step 30

Prepare a piece of ash to fit your chuck and turn down the end to a cylinder of 15mm (5/8in) dia. x 30mm (1 1/8in) long. Mark a line 6mm (1/4in) and 12mm (1/2in) from the end. Using the toe of a 12mm (1/2in) skew chisel dome the end of the blank up to the first line

Step 31

Using callipers set to 10mm (3/8in) part in using a 6mm (1/4in) parting tool up to the next line. Finish the face down to 400 grit by hand. Apply acrylic sanding sealer and acrylic lacquer, as before

Step 32

Using a 3mm (1/8in) parting tool part the button from the blank. Stop short and finally remove with a fine-tooth saw blade. Repeat the process a further two times. Assemble all the parts with PVA glue and allow to dry. The decorative jardiniere is now complete