Banksia Pod Turning

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Project by Thomas Porter posted 02-26-2007 08:51 AM 24251 views 4 times favorited 23 comments Add to Favorites Watch

I saw one of these on a shelf at a local Rockler so I decided I wanted to try to make one. This is my first real attempt at lathe work.

-- Thomas Porter, Phoenix, AZ,

23 comments so far

View Don's profile


2603 posts in 4538 days

#1 posted 02-26-2007 08:59 AM

Nice work, Thomas.

Where’s the Banksia from? These grow everywhere in Australia.

-- CanuckDon "I just love small wooden boxes!"

View Thomas Porter's profile

Thomas Porter

127 posts in 4492 days

#2 posted 02-26-2007 09:01 AM

It’s from a local Rockler store. I didn’t ask them where it came from originally, but it may have come from down under… who knows. I just see them from time to time in a bin and always wondered how they turned. Messy… but easy. Nice aroma.

-- Thomas Porter, Phoenix, AZ,

View dennis mitchell's profile

dennis mitchell

3994 posts in 4675 days

#3 posted 02-26-2007 03:29 PM

Interesting piece. I wonder how big they get?

View Dollarbill's profile


91 posts in 4499 days

#4 posted 02-26-2007 04:25 PM

Thomas, I always wear my mask when turning Banksia seed pods. Makes lots of fine dust but are very beautiful when finished.

I also slab them out and pour Kraft Kote in the holes and use them in the handles of my trout fishing nets. NICE.

Don, could you send ma about 100 of them?

Dennis, they get to about 9-10” long and 6” in diameter.

Nice work Thomas.


-- Make Dust

View Mark A. DeCou's profile

Mark A. DeCou

2009 posts in 4767 days

#5 posted 02-26-2007 04:36 PM

I don’t think it will hold water. Ha. Very nice form, and nice use of the pod. Just a suggestion, you might go back and post some encyclopedia information on the seed pod, such as where it comes from, and other biological facts. It would be interesting to read more about it.

Looking at your first real lathe work, I don’t think it will be your last. Nice job.

I know a guy in Sedona ( that uses pinecones embedded in black epoxy to make segmented turnings, just truly amazing. He’s been picked many, many times for the Smithsonian Art & Crafts Show. If you are ever in Sedona, I’m sure you would love seeing his studio. I’ve not been to his studio, just have seen his work in a show. He grew up in the area I live in, and is the guy the locals all talk about that left here and “made it”. In his gallery page, picture “09” is one with pine cone. Note, picture “08” is “chip board”, makes a great way to use scraps of OSB plywood. He’s a real master, the best at turning I have ever met, and just a hop & skip from your place.


-- Mark DeCou - American Contemporary Craft Artisan -

View Shawn's profile


225 posts in 4514 days

#6 posted 02-26-2007 06:41 PM

nice project, Mark, great website, those turnings are unreal.

-- Cheers

View Bill's profile


2579 posts in 4522 days

#7 posted 02-27-2007 03:06 AM

Nice turning Thomas, though I have to admit the first picture looked kinda creepy. I thought you had an octopus all wrapped up and ready for turning!

-- Bill, Turlock California,

View oscorner's profile


4563 posts in 4672 days

#8 posted 02-27-2007 05:30 AM

Did you have trouble with the seeds? I saw a woodturning show where the host warned of the seeds flying out of the pod while turning and that he used a dental tool to pick the rest of the seeds out.

-- Jesus is Lord!

View scottb's profile


3648 posts in 4688 days

#9 posted 02-27-2007 05:43 AM

I’ve seen those in the Rockler catalog… been wondering what to make of the so called “alternative turning materials” and what I could come up with myself. (after seeing pens made from corn cobs and ornaments made from a pinecone.
I’ have a bag full of pinecones ready to epoxy, just to try my hand at those.

-- I am always doing what I cannot do yet, in order to learn how to do it. - Van Gogh -- --

View Thomas Porter's profile

Thomas Porter

127 posts in 4492 days

#10 posted 02-27-2007 07:23 AM

There weren’t any seeds in there that I could see, but one strange thing that happened when I started turning it is that once you get passed the superficial layer or skin of the nut there are small hair-like things underneath. It’s really fuzzy. Looks almost like felt or velvet. It turns off after you dig in a 1/4” or so.

-- Thomas Porter, Phoenix, AZ,

View Don's profile


2603 posts in 4538 days

#11 posted 02-27-2007 07:58 AM

There is a fair amount of information available on using Banksia Pods as a turning medium. Here’s one.

And here’s another.

-- CanuckDon "I just love small wooden boxes!"

View jockmike2's profile


10635 posts in 4608 days

#12 posted 02-28-2007 09:59 PM

Very nice piece Tom. Keep up the good lathe work, skys the limit. jockmike

-- (You just have to please the man in the Mirror) Mike from Michigan -

View mot's profile


4926 posts in 4397 days

#13 posted 08-04-2007 05:08 AM

Man, I’d like to turn one of those. Pretty cool! Don, you’ll have to bring some next time you visit Canuckistan!

-- You can discover more about a person in an hour of play than in a year of conversation. (Plato)

View PanamaJack's profile


4483 posts in 4438 days

#14 posted 08-04-2007 05:25 AM

Beautiful turning Thomas.

-- Carpe Lignum; Tornare Lignum (Seize the wood, to Turn the wood)

View WayneC's profile


14358 posts in 4458 days

#15 posted 08-04-2007 05:26 AM

They probably have some at Lee Valley. I’ve got one to try. It was a christmas present. I know that Craft Supplies and Woodcraft carry them.

-- We must guard our enthusiasm as we would our life - James Krenov

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