Article: Don Rose Demonstration, February 2012

May 25, 2012 15:02, submitted by Tucker Garrison (author: Bob Gunther, Photos by Tina Collison)

Don Rose, Woodturning Demonstration, February 18, 2012


Don Rose, one of our own CMW members, is from Simpsonville, SC where he has his home and shop. He has been interested in wood and some form of woodworking as long as he can remember. Both his father and grandfather were woodworkers. After college he became a shop teacher and later an engineer. He uses all these skills in his multifaceted woodturning.

Don tries to simplify and make improvements on objects and procedures that he observes. He loves to teach and is extremely generous in helping others improve their turning skills. Don teaches woodturning and other aspects of woodworking at Woodcraft. The day before this demo Don taught a class for CMW members. He is on the Board of Directors of CMW and played an important role in maintaining and improving our CMW library. He is a member of the AAW.

Morning Session:

Don began his demo by showing a small lidded box with a twisted copper wire placed in a turned groove around the box and fixed in place with CA glue. Don twisted the wire by holding two strands in a vise and the other ends by an electric drill. He ran the drill at a slow speed and twisted the wire as tightly as desired. After the twisted wire was in place, it is possible to further turn the box and alter the effects of the wire by turning more or less of it away. It produced an interesting and attractive effect.

Don’s tips for turners:

  1. When using a screw chuck for turning a natural edge or any other type of bowl, and it is difficult to get the bowl off the screw – use a pipe wrench (strap type) and it is a much easier process.

  2. Use plastic tube inserts (found at a florist shop) – not glass – to make small bud vase pieces. Contraction of the wood may crack the glass ones, but not those made of plastic.

  3. To remove CA glue with acetone buy nail polish remover. It is acetone and a lot cheaper.

  4. Ebonizing: Use white vinegar in a glass jar. Soak 000 or 0000 steel wool in it for 3 to 4 days. After applying the solution to the wood ebonizing will occur. One can darken the color by using several coats. If one wants the wood almost black leave it in the solution for several days. This process does not work for all woods. The lighter, colored, open grained woods do not ebonize to any extent.

Tooth Pick Holder

It is possible to use any type of wood. It can be a solid or a laminated design.

There are four parts to the holder.

  1. Finial: Don used a steb drive center. He placed a small block of wood (1 5/8” x 1 5/8” x 2 1/4") between centers and roughed It into a cylinder with a diameter of 1 1/2.” He turned a 1 1/4” tenon on the tailstock end. Don removed the cylinder from between centers and placed it in the chuck in the #1 jaws. He placed the 1 1/2” end in the jaws – not the 1 1/4” tenon end. He drilled a 1/4” hole was drilled 1/2” into the piece to accept the stem. This will be the center axis of the holder. Then Don removed the piece from the jaws and reversed it so that the 1 1/4” tenon was in the #1 jaws. He brought up the tailstock for support and formed the finial using a spindle gouge. It is possible to add design features using burnishing at different levels. To burnish use a wire attached between two handles or a wire cheese cutter. To finish Don uses Mylands Friction Polish (similar to French polish – shellac and linseed oil).

  2. Stem: 1/4” dowel rod. This fits into the hole drilled 1/2” into the underside of the finial.

  3. Bucket: Don used a 1 1/4” dowel rod – 3” long. Don held it in the #1 jaws and drilled a 7/8” hole 1 1/4” into the end. He tapered the inside of the lip using a spindle gouge. The bucket piece is parted off at 1 1/2” long. Before parting off a 1/4” hole is drilled 1/2” deeper into the 7/8” hole.

  4. Body (Base): Don placed another block of wood (3” x 3” x 5”) composed of contrasting woods, darker in center surrounded by a lighter wood (aspen) between centers. Because of this design one needs the piece to be perfectly centered. (If centered properly, equal amounts of the two colored woods will be the same all the way around the base. Find the center point by measuring from the inner wood’s corners, not the outer wood’s corners.) The piece was roughed into a 2 7/8” cylinder using a roughing gouge. He turned a tenon on the tailstock end.

The headstock end needs to be 2 1/4” in diameter. This will be the bottom end of the piece. The other end will be 2 3/8” for about 3 /4” long. Don rounded off the end slightly and a marked point 3 3/4” from the end. This will be the cutoff point. Then he removed the piece from between centers and placed the bottom tenon in the number 2 jaws. Don placed a Jacobs chuck in the tailstock and bored a 1 1/2" hole about 1/8" deep into the top of the base piece with a Forstner bit. Next, he used a 1 1/4" bit to extend the hole to a depth of 3 1/4". Then he parted the piece off at the 3 3/4” mark. This completed the body except for finishing. It also completed the tooth pick holder. Plans for this project and those to follow will be on the CMW website.

Link to Toothpick Holder directions:


More Don Rose tips for turners

  1. Screw chuck: To make small wood objects insert a portion of a wood screw into a piece of wood that fits in the chuck. Screw the small piece to be turned onto the screw – easy and fast.

  2. To cut circles on irregular pieces such as natural edge or burl, cut various size cardboard circles with a small hole in the centers. Place the proper size circle over the piece and center it. Attach it to the wood with a nail. Then cut the piece into a circle on a bandsaw by following the outline of the cardboard.

  3. When using a screw chuck or drive center on a piece with bark, use a Forstner bit and drill down through the bark to solid wood. This will give a good purchase area for the drive center.

  4. When sharpening, make a plywood template for each tool grinding angle so it is possible to quickly place the tool on the wheel and remove as little metal as possible.

Earring Holder:

Don pre-cut high quality 1/8” to 1/16,” three-ply plywood rings on a scroll saw. The outside diameter is 5 1/2” and the inside diameter is 4 1/16.” He attached the base for the holder (3” thick by 4 1/2” diameter) to a glue block which he held by a faceplate. Don placed it on the headstock. To aid in centering the piece on the glue block, mark the center of the block and drill a small hole through it. This hole can be lined up with the center of the piece and the two CA glued together. Once glued and on the headstock, bring up the tailstock. The blank was roughed into a cylinder. Don turned a 3 3/8” diameter on the tailstock end. This will become the bottom of the holder. He turned the headstock end to 4 1/4.” He cut the groove for the ring 3/8” from the headstock end.

The groove should be the combined thickness of the disc and parting tool. He removed the tailstock and cut a recess for the expansion chuck. The piece would be reversed and mounted on the chuck. The base would be hollowed out and finished. He will part the piece off in the groove so that he can place the ring on and glue it in place.

Don removed the glue block from the remaining part of the piece using a chisel and hammer. He trued up the block and attached another piece that will become the lid of the earring holder. He placed this on the headstock and turned it to match the diameter of the top of the base. Don marked the center and scribed a circle. He cut a groove for the expansion jaws. Then he turned the piece around and mounted it on the chuck. The lid would be shaped, sanded and finished.

Link to Earring Holder directions:

Birdhouse Ornament:

The birdhouse consists of three portions: the top – 1 1/2 x 1 1/2 x 7/8” long, the body – 1 3/8 x 1 3/8 x 1 7/8” long, the perch – 1/8” diameter x 1/2” long.

Mandrels held the top and body while turning. A Jacobs chuck placed in the headstock held these. Before any turning, drill holes 1/8” and 1/4” in one side of the body for the opening and perch. Mandrels are available in a set at Harbor Freight for $6.00.

Don drilled the top 1” diameter x 1/4” deep. He made another hole 7/8” diameter x 3/8” deep. Then he drilled the body 3/4” diameter x 1” deep and further drilled 5/8” diameter x 1 1/8” deep.

Don mounted the top on the 1” mandrel and turned it to shape. He drilled a hole in the top and inserted a screw-eye. Don mounted the body on the 3/4” mandrel. Then he turned the top edge to a 1” diameter and turned the remaining to shape. Don inserted a 1/8” dowel and glued the top to the body.

Link to Birdhouse directions:

Link to Teardrop Ornament directions:

Link to Globe and Icicle Ornament directions:

Link to Don Rose's resource list:

Link to little birds supplier:

Link to Mandrels supplier:

This completed a fast moving and interesting demo. One can consider this the kickoff event for the 2012 CarePartners Tree. As stated above, all the plans are available on the CMW website and a DVD will be in the club library.

Bob Gunther