Monday, October 31, 2016

Acorn Pendulums v1.0

Well, I don't know about you, but I think it's about time that some actual craft items were posted on this blog. So, what do you say we do that.

Here we have three turned wood pendulums, just finished, in the shape of acorns. Shortly, they will be hung from a nice chain and sold in my shop. If you are unfamiliar with pendulums, they are a tool for divination, much like tarot cards or runes, but simpler. They are great for finding lost items, finding locations (used over a map), and answering yes/no questions. They are a popular tool for determining the sex of an unborn child.

There's nothing in the photo for scale, but they are about an inch and a quarter, maybe a little less, in diameter, and about two to three inches long. They are a lot larger than the pendulums I usually sell, but the smaller a turned piece is, the more delicate it is, and the harder it is to make. I will dial the size down a bit once I get back into practice on the lathe.

The one on the left is made from poplar wood, the two on the right are from reclaimed wood, probably douglas fir. The two on the left are natural color and have a CA finish. The one on the right was stained with light mahogany stain and given a light coat of water based polyurethane. I don't like the sheen of the one on the right, so I'll probably give it another coat of poly, with a glossier finish.

 I went back the next day and made a fourth one. The one on the right in the picture above is made from a small birch log that someone gave me. It is my favorite so far. Birch is a dream to turn and the finished wood is beautiful.

 After they were finished, I took them into my shop and fitted them with chains and pentagram charms. The charms are pewter and about an inch in diameter.

 And here they are on display in the shop. The dark stained one got a second coat of finish and is still drying. The bowl sitting next to the pendulums was another project that I just finished, my first turned bowl. I'll have a post on its construction in a few days.

These pendulums are fun and quick to make. I was starting to get burnt out on making wands, so I was staying away from the lathe. I'm hoping that a change of pace will get me back to it.

So, you may be asking, why did you not make any out of oak? They are acorns after all. Well, because I kind of don't like working with oak. It is hard and splintery, and gives me problems with tare out. The grain is very porous, and I don't like the smell of oak sawdust. To me, it smells like cow poop.

Alright, alright, I'll make some out of oak. Sheesh...


  1. Hm... never encountered the problems you describe with oak. But then again german oak may be a different species. Who knows.
    What you could also try is bog oak. I have some that is more than 5.000 years old and it turns beautifully. No strange smell, not splintery or gone soft. Just older than the pyramids and black as night oak.
    If you want, I could send you a piece for free just to see what you make with it :-)

  2. I do think that the porous grain structure of oak has caused me some problems with splintering. Some other woods with smoother grain structure, like mahogany and maple, turn really easily for me. But my main problem is likely dull chisels.
    Thanks, I am happy to try turning something from bog oak if you want to send it. I never turn down free stuff. You can send it to
    Book of Shadows
    1100 Clarendon Ave. S.W.
    Canton, OH 44710

  3. Yeah, sometimes oak has those micro cracks that annoy me. That is something I noticed about oak. But nowadays I am better at choosing the right turning blanks without them.
    I will definitely send you some bog oak then. Penblank size. Should be perfect for your pendulums :-)