Penmaking articles Penmaking Tips

Walnut Candlestick

by Joseph M. Herrmann of Timber Treasures
Reprinted by permission from Creative Woodworks and Crafts Magazine

This is the mandrel that I made so that I could reverse the base and turn the bottom of the candlestick holder.

The paper is removed and the base is undercut about 1/8” to 3/16” to form a stable ring. Turnings stand better on a ring rather than on a flat base.

Sand the outside edge and the indentation in the base until all the scratches have been removed and the wood is smooth. Again, I started with 120 grit paper and worked my way down to 320 grit.

When you have decided upon the orientation of the spindle to the base, apply glue to the tenon. With a slight twisting motion to distribute the glue better, snug up the joint. If you made the joint correctly, you will probably only get one shot at this, so make it right the first time!
After the glue has dried for about an hour, I applied a coat of thinned linseed oil mixture to the candlestick and wiped off the excess. I allowed the project to dry overnight and then applied a liberal coat of Deft with a brush. Because I intended this to be just a sealer coat, I immediately wiped off any excess Deft with a dry, clean rag.
I allowed this to dry for about an hour and then I buffed the project using the three-step buffing process that I use for most small turnings.

The paper is removed and the base is undercut about 1/8” to 3/16” to form a stable ring. Turnings stand better on a ring rather than on a flat base.

I use a reamer to establish the taper that matches the base of the wax candle.
Note: if you look at the base of most stick candles, you will notice a slight taper. While the 13/16” hole bored into the end of the spindle in the beginning of the process will support the candle, a taper that matches the angle of the candle base will help to keep the candle straight and will help to prevent it from developing a slight lean. I had a metalworker friend modify a reamer used for machining metal to duplicate this taper. I used this bit to provide the final taper after the candlestick had been finished. Even if you are not planning to be married anytime soon, you can still make up a pair of these candlesticks and find some special, romantic place to burn a candle!

Excess stock is removed. Note that I didn’t go exactly up to the line at first. I’ll do that in the next step so that I will have a curve instead of a square shoulder. The cove is turned using a sharp roundnose tool.

The exterior profile is turned with a sharp spearpoint tool. Note that I extended the cut below the joint.

Joe Herrmann’s three – step buffing process

The first wheel is charged with a tripoli compound. It is slightly abrasive and so will remove any tiny scratches that might remain and will it also smooth the wood. The second wheel is charged with a white diamond compound. It will remove any remaining tripoli compound and begin the polishing process. The third wheel is charged with Carnuba wax. It will provide a protective coating and shine the wood to a gloss finish.

The candlestick is being buffed as the final step in the finishing process.

<Previous 1, 2, 3, 4
The makers of Creative Woodworks & Crafts magazine are launching a brand new woodturning publication in February of 2004. The magazine's title is Woodturning Design. It will be 100 color pages and will cover all aspects and skill levels of woodturning. The editor will be the very talented Joe Herrmann, who designed the pens in this article. For more information, visit

On we provide you with pen making instruction and tips to make a satisfying hobby even more enjoyable. You will find a complete line of Pen making kits, supplies and turning tools on If there's something you can't find just send us an email and we'll be glad to point you in the right direction. Don't forget to stop by our wood working craft site

You may also be interested in our Clock Parts and Clock Making Supplies...