Many years back, my Dad
developed an interest in woodworking. After purchasing tools – he had a background in construction, so what tools to purchase was the easy part of his new hobby – Dad turned to books. If he had a book in front of him, he could do whatever he set out to do.
Woodworking books, at that time, were nowhere as plentiful as they are today, at least not as far as he knew. The major choices were a couple of books by Franklin Gottschall, maybe one or two from Krenov, something from Lester Margon and a book by A. W. Marlow titled “Fine Furniture for the Amateur Cabinetmakers.” In Mr. Marlow’s book Dad found a candlestand that caught his eye. While it wasn’t his first project, it was a piece he built early on.
Over the course of the years I was building for customers, I produced maybe one or two of these candlestands. I’m building another. My plan is to position the two stands – I have Dad’s original candlestand – side by side to see the similarities and differences. Plus, as I work I plan to change some of the building processes to make the project both easier and stronger. Dad built his candlestand using mahogany. I, of course, selected tiger maple. (That change alone makes my project a bit stronger; mahogany is the softer hardwood.)
If you need instruction on how to turn when working with plans, this project probably isn’t the one you should start on. Unless, that is, you’re OK making mistakes and learning on the fly; my Dad did it. If that’s your plan move slow. As is commonly said in woodworking, you can always take more away, but it’s not that easy to add it back. As I move through the process, I’ll pass along a few tips that you may find useful.
It takes a piece of 12/4 stock to turn the post for the stand. And yes, you can glue-up a couple of pieces, but the glue line will show, especially with the striping present in tiger maple. If you need to glue-up your post, choose another hardwood – mahogany or walnut are options that better hide any glue lines given the fluted portion of the post.
Mill the post stock to as large a square as you can. Generally, you’ll get a 2-7/8” square piece when you begin milling 12/4 stock. With the stock square, cut it to length. (The post ends up at 35”, which fits on most full-size lathes, but I began at 35-1/2” to eliminate marks from the drive spur at the end.) Because the largest diameter of the turned post is 2-7/8”, it’s important that you accurately center the post at the lathe. Mark both ends. (Fig. 1)