Second Generation Candlestand


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.)

Turning Tips

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.

(Fig. 1) If you begin with a piece of 12/4 stock, you’re apt to mill to 2-7/8” when squared; with the largest post diameter at the same size, you need to accurately find the centers when mounting at the lathe.

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)

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10 thoughts on “Second Generation Candlestand

  1. Glen,

    In your Illustrated Guide to Building Period Furniture you did fluting for corner columns on the PA high chest while on the lathe. Why not here? And can you comment on advantages/disadvantages of each approach?



    1. Duane,
      Because I’d written and taught about the lathe setup so often, I chose to present the jig here so members would see more than one method for cutting flutes.

      The problem with fluting at the lathe is that your jig has to hold a router, and be built to specifications that work with your lathe. I found that I needed to watch the length of what I fluted due to confines presented with the lathe’s head and tailstock – sometimes my jig would hit before the overall length of what I wanted fluted was cut. The work-around was to begin the project with longer-than-needed stock. Wasteful!

      This jig is more generic in that it should work on most router tables, as long as the bit extends high enough above the tabletop. The length of what you flute should be limited only by the length of the jig, which can be made any length.

  2. As always, GREAT article!!!!
    I am trying to download the .pdf on it, but the link appears to not be working.
    Let me know if you guys can correct that so I can save it.
    Thanks again for another great, informational article.


  3. Hi Guys,

    This is the second week running where the .pdf links are not working. May want to check into this. SteveQ

  4. Nicholas and Steve,

    Try it now. We’ve had lots of updates to the plugin that handles the interface between our Amazon storage and our website lately. That’s why yesterday’s PDF link worked, while today’s broke. Sorry for any inconvenience this cause you or any other members.

    Thanks for the patience and letting us know there was a problem. If anyone else has trouble with the link, please let me or Glen know ASAP.

  5. Glen, several years ago I made a jig that fit on my lathe to cut the dovetails on the spindle. And at the same use the indexing system that is on the lathe head. Worked great.

    1. Fran,

      That’s another great jig to work with, and another technique to cut in the dovetails. Did you flatten the post?

      1. Yes, all I did was use a 3/4″ straight bit.

  6. Glen,

    You don’t mention a spider. Do you not use them? If size is an issue, it is relatively easy to cut one out of brass to fit the project at hand.

    1. I have looked at spiders before – plates of some kind that fit under the three-legs bases to add support. At the time we built these for customers, spiders were made individually and were quite expensive. I like your brass idea. May give that a try.

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