Walnut and Pink Lyptus Tealight Candleholder

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Project by Jonathan posted 07-23-2010 08:12 PM 2810 views 3 times favorited 5 comments Add to Favorites Watch

This is a tealight candleholder that I finished yesterday as a 40th birthday present for my aunt, made of 4/4-walnut and 4/4-pink lyptus, and finished with Zinsser Bullseye SealCoat dewaxed shellac. It holds 7-tealight candles.

The dimensions for the piece are as follows:
Overall Length: 16”
Total Width: 4-3/32”
Thickness: 47/64”
Walnut Width (each strip): 1-1/32”, for a total of 2-1/16” of walnut
Pink Lyptus Width: 2-1/32”
Cove Bit Depth: 3/16”

I used Titebond III to glue it together, along with 10-clamps (I probably got a little carried away).
After glue-up, I ran it through the drum sander to remove the leftover glue and to attain an even thickness.
Handsanded everything, with a very slight roundover to the sharp edges and corners from 120-150-220-320-grits.

I used a cove bit for the bottom edge, which I did freehand with the router, to a final depth of 3/16”.

I used a 1-1/2 forstner bit to drill the holes for the tealights on the drill press. If you start in the center of the board and drill your first hole there, then you can space each hole 2-1/8” out from center-to-center and that will give you evenly spaced candles, with the edges being 11/16” apart. The outer edges will only be 5/8” from the candle, so you’ll be 1/16” short there.

Before I applied the shellac, I woodburned the message “Happy 40th Birthday!” into the back, along with my brand.

I finished it with a couple of coats of Zinsser Bullseye SealCoat dewaxed spray-on shellac, rubbing it down between coats with a brown paper bag, then once again rubbed it down after the second coat.

I didn’t really bother to sand or make sure finish got down in the holes, since I figured there will always be candles in them.

Sorry I didn’t take the best pictures here. For me, it always works best if I take the pictures outside in good sunlight and a bit of fill flash, or if I take them early in the morning in our kitchen, with some fill light. These pictures were taken late last night.

(If you look closely at picture #2, you can barely see the serving tray I’m working on right now. Just a blurry teaser shot.)

Things I learned from this project, or new techniques or tools used:
Working with Pink Lyptus (or just lyptus) can be trying. It is quite prone to splintering, especially along any cut lines. Also used the new drum sander on this. I’ve barely used this thing, but would be hard pressed to give it up! If you ever get the chance to use or obtain a drum sander, I would highly recommend it! And if you already have a drum sander, I’m sure you know exactly what I’m talking about!

Things I’d do differently next time around:
I would’ve like to finished it differently, but was in a last-minute rush to get this finished before it left town on its way to Chicago for the birthday party on Saturday.

-- Jonathan, Denver, CO "Constructive criticism is welcome and valued as it gives me new perspectives and helps me to advance as a woodworker."

5 comments so far

View stefang's profile


16809 posts in 3873 days

#1 posted 07-23-2010 08:49 PM

Good work Jonathan. I was expecting for it to hold 40 candles though, Lol.

-- Mike, an American living in Norway.

View jack1's profile


2131 posts in 4566 days

#2 posted 07-23-2010 08:50 PM

Nice project. I’m sure your Aunt will love it!

-- jack -- ...measure once, curse twice!

View Jonathan's profile


2609 posts in 3589 days

#3 posted 07-23-2010 09:35 PM

Thanks guys.

Maybe I’ll just add a few more candles to each consecutive candleholder and we’ll see how many is too many?!

I’ll see what I can do for you, Mike. ;-)

This was going to be one of the fundraiser items for my wife, so now I’ll probably have to make a replacement! Oh well, I’ll have all the clamps and glue out for the soap dishes tonight or tomorrow, so what’s one more thing to glue-up, riight? Maybe I’ll make the replacement a touch smaller, say 12” in length instead of 16” That’ll be a good size for a 5-tealight holder.

On a sidenote, I have been thinking of some more creative ways to make candleholders. Maybe I’ll throw one of those up here sometime in the not-too-distant future? Maybe after I’m finished building the fence and retrimming the garage and building the bookcases and… oh heck, I’ll just have to fit one or two in there somewhere.

-- Jonathan, Denver, CO "Constructive criticism is welcome and valued as it gives me new perspectives and helps me to advance as a woodworker."

View Dusty56's profile


11852 posts in 4226 days

#4 posted 12-05-2010 07:40 AM

Nice design and wood combo : )

-- I'm absolutely positive that I couldn't be more uncertain!

View Umpire20's profile


20 posts in 3594 days

#5 posted 01-16-2015 01:58 AM

Very nice Jonathan. I just made 2 individual candleholders today for my wife. She saw something in a Shaker Catalog & asked me to do them for her.

I see you’re from Denver. I lived in Castle Rock for almost 10 years but am now in NM.

You mentioned your drum sander. I just ordered one last week and should have it next week. I got the SuperMax 19-38. I’m very excited about my new tool. Can’t wait for its arrival.

-- Steve, New Mexico, USA

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