A Bud Vase (or a weed pot)


A Bud Vase (or a weed pot)
Stuart King turns romantic as he gives you ideas for making a variety of bud vases

Stuart King turns romantic as he gives you ideas for making a variety of bud vases

We used to refer to them as ‘weed pots’ in the UK, but I have to admit that the American term ‘bud vase’ is more descriptive and dare I say it, romantic. My methodology here is to show some basic processes that will lead to a bud vase that you can put your own thoughts into. I have used Corian for the base, an acrylic material best known for its use for up-market worktops. It is an easy material to turn, gives an interesting visual twist and being heavy, gives some stability to the vase. By all means, use the scale drawing as a starting point and take it from there. To my mind this project allows for a wide choice of styles and materials and is only limited by your imagination; see where it takes you!

Equipment used
• Corian for base
• Band saw
• Extended reach jaws
• 10mm fingernail-profile spindle gouge
• 6mm skew chisel
• 6mm round nose scraper
• Abrasive paper up to 600 grit
• Metal polish
• Piece of wood for container section
• 18mm drill bit
• 4mm parting tool
• Friction polish
• 100 x 16mm glass test tubes
• Cyanoacrylate glue

Handy hints
1. Look for good quality test tubes on Internet sites such as eBay. On average they work out at about 70p each
2. Wood should be dry as any subsequent shrinkage around a close fitting glass tube could be problematical
3. This is a good project for using accumulated odds and ends; we all have some small but choice, leftover timber pieces, usually in boxes under a bench
4. Do not use ‘heavy’ or ‘open-grained’ timber; this would normally spoil the finesse of this slim design
5. Seal the inside of the bell-mouthed top with thin super glue after finishing this section, rubbing down and waxing before proceeding. Cyanoacrylate glue will prevent staining or damage to the finish due to water contact. Take care not to inhale any fumes

1. Cut the Corian blank into a circular shape on a band saw. You can buy offcuts of this material from shop fitters and places like eBay; it is easy to saw. You don’t have to use Corian; there are numerous plastics and polymers that would would be suitable

2. Bore a hole suitable for the particular screw chuck diameter you are using. My screw chuck fitment was securely held in a set of extended reach jaws, O’Donnell in this case. Some chucks do not come with screw chuck inserts to hold in the centre of the chuck jaws. Alternatively, you can make your own screw chuck. They key is to make something that holds the work properly and securely

3. Use a fingernail-profile spindle gouge, held at an angle (not vertical), to clean up the outer edge. This is a shearing cut that is worth knowing as it works well on man-made materials as well as timber

4. Add whatever decoration and finish you like to the bottom of your base

5. The two tools used to create this decoration were a 6mm skew and a 6mm round nose scraper. Corian takes a good finish; I used abrasive paper up to 600 grit and then a metal polish to impart a pleasant shine

6. After reversing the blank on the screw chuck, turn a half cove on the outer edge with the fingernail-profile spindle gouge. Note the angle of the tool; its use should be gentle

7. Choose a piece of wood for the container section. My choice of wood was cut from a well-seasoned half branch of laburnum (Laburnum anagyroides), but any timber that contrasts well with your chosen base colour and material will be suitable

8. Hold the roughed-out cylinder securely within the jaws of your chuck. These have a plain parallel internal bore. If you match the diameter of the work being held with the size of the machined internal jaw bore, you will not mark the wood when gripping it. If you use a different set of jaws, wrap some tape around the timber to minimise the risk of marking it when gripping it securely in the chuck

9. This bud vase will incorporate a 100 x 16mm test tube

10. Use an 18mm drill bit that fits directly into the tailstock via a Morse taper, in order to bore a suitable hole to accommodate the glass tube. Alternatively, you can hold a suitable drill bit in a Jacobs chuck. You could also use a Forstner bit with a long shank, but I have found that waste can build up behind the tool and inhibit withdrawal

11. Wrap a depth marker around the drill bit to provide a guide; do not grab the bit whilst boring as it might start turning! You can also apply some wax as the boring progresses to ease the process. Keep the lathe speed low (400–600rpm) to avoid over-heating

12. Bore the blank, unsupported by the tailstock and finish the ‘trumpet-style’ top

13. The work now extends outwards but is still secured by the O’Donnell jaws, exposing enough to complete the whole body. Bring the revolving tailstock up to support the work. Mark the outside diameter at this point using a 4mm parting tool. I allowed 3mm over the internal diameter of the bored hole

14. Use a 10mm spindle gouge to shape the outer section of the trumpet-style top

15. Mark the internal length of the hole plus approximately 4mm on the blank

16. Shape the lower section using a spindle gouge and skew

17. At this stage, use friction polish prior to creating a short spigot and parting off

18. Your completed components might look something like this

19. The finished vase can be seen on the far right, but as you can see, there is plenty of scope for experimentation


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