How to Turn Wooden Candle Holders on a Wood Lathe

What You'll Need
Any block of wood where both ends are square in shape
3x3x 3/4 -inch square block of wood for base
Wood lathe machine
Table saw machine (optional)
Fine-toothed saw
Gouge chisel
Skew chisel
Parting chisel
Wood finish
Steel wool
Soft cloth

Making wooden candle holders is a simple project that you can do on your wood lathe. They add charm and elegance to your dining table or you can make several with similar designs and place them on the mantel above your fireplace as decorations. Any block of wood lying around your wood-working stations will do, but softer wood cuts better on the wood lathe machines.

Step 1: Making a Pattern

You can research online for sample wooden candle holder patterns. For basic decorations and a simple design, you can choose not to follow a pattern. However, if you are planning on making more than one, it might be good to follow a detailed pattern so that all candle holders are dimensionally similar.

Step 2: Preparing for the Candle Hole

Pencil two diagonals across both ends of the block so that a center can be located. You can use a table saw on a 45-degree angle to cut the corners of the block for rough rounding. On one end of the block, cut into the diagonal lines using a fine-toothed saw measuring 1/16 inches deep. Pound the spur center into the center of the cut block’s end with a hammer. This will become the candle hole. Secure the block to the wood lathe machine.

Step 3: Rounding Out the Body and Decorating

Turn the block on the lathe and rough cut the block using a gouge chisel. Smooth out to a cylinder shape using a straight skew chisel. Use your pencil to mark the block as it is turning for places where you want to add grooves and rounded beading. Place the parting chisel above the pencil markings and add grooves to your cylinder block. Run the skew chisel over your cylinder block to make silhouettes as it is turning on the lathe. You can experiment here to find the shape that is most pleasing to you.  

Step 4: Sanding and Finishing Up

While the candle holder is still secured on the lathe, sand it and then add wood finish. Allow it to dry and buff it with steel wool and add a second coating. Allow to dry and rub down with a soft cloth. Use the parting chisel to cut the finished candle holder from the grips of the lathe machine. Finish the job using a fine-toothed saw. Sand the bottom.

Step 5: Making the Base

Mark the two diagonals over one end. Pencil in the circumference of the base using a compass. Attach the block to the lathe machine by using a faceplate and screws to hold it in place. Use the gouge chisel for a rough rounding, then use the skew chisel to smooth it out. Make sure the cut stays exactly to the circumference drawn previously. Use the parting chisel to add grooves. Sand down and add wood finish same as before. Glue both pieces together for a beautifully made wooden candle holder.