Off-Centre Turning Candlesticks

By Alan Faulds
Sydney Woodturners Guild


  1. Candlestick metal insert.

  2. Timber, 90mmx90mmx 250mm long.


  1. Mark-off one end of timber as per diagram 1. It is better to use a two-pronged centre at the headstock. This allows better off-centre holding.

  2. Between centres, turn to approximately 75 diameter.

  3. Turn headstock end to receive a female cup chuck or scroll chuck. This is needed to hold the turned item securely when drilling the end to fit the metal insert.

  4. Still between centres, part in about 12mm depth, 20mm from the headstock end. This will be where the finished article is parted off.

  5. 32mm further in from step 4, cut in to 65mm diameter with a parting-off tool. This will be the top of the base of the candle stick holder.

  6. At tailstock end, place centre into No1 position as marked.

  7. With lathe speed at about 1,000rpm, commence to turn a cove, say 50mm wide. Stop the lathe often and observe the shape that is forming. Before starting the next cove, sand finish the section just turned.

  8. Move the tailstock revolving centre to positions No2, No 3 and No4 and respectively turn and sand each section.

  9. It is best if the edge of each turned section ends up with a sharp edge, refer to diagram.

  10. The candle end is now turned off the “true centre”. This of course, will be the same as the base.

  11. After shaping this end, a hole is drilled to take the metal insert. To do this, hold the previously turned end, Item 3, in the female cup chuck or scroll chuck, line up the true centre and drill the hole to take the metal insert.

  12. The finish is a matter of choice. High gloss lacquer, followed by a soft wax applied with 0000 steel wool produces a satin finish.

  13. To keep the candlestick rigid while finishing, place a tennis ball at the end of the drilled hole and tailstock centre. This can also be used when parting off.

  14. Part off and finish the base.

Do not worry about making a matching pair. If two candlesticks are placed far enough apart, nobody will notice any difference.

Diagram 1

Distance from centre to positions No 1,2,3 and 4 is 8mm. The greater this measurement, the greater the off-centre swing. When turning, the number of the off-centres can vary, as can the distance and the position.

Diagram 2

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