Out of the scrap pile and into a gift #2: Arched Candle Holder

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Blog entry by sras posted 12-17-2009 07:05 PM 2112 reads 1 time favorited 4 comments Add to Favorites Watch
« Part 1: Convert random scraps into end grain boards (cut first - design later) Part 2 of Out of the scrap pile and into a gift series Part 3: Arched Candle Holder - It's all about adapting »

I changed the title of this series since this next entry uses wood I don’t think I could ever throw away (it used to say “burn bucket” instead of “scrap pile”). I have had these this planks of cherry for a long time. They are about 24”x3.25”x1/8”. This is another case where I do not have a design, but I’ll figure it out as I go…

Thin Planks of Cherry

I had cut them for a project that didn’t work out and they have sat ever since. I decided to make an arched votive candle holder. I have looked at a couple examples at galleries and here on LumberJocks and I liked the idea. At first I thought I would need a form for clamping the strips. Then it occured to me that this was not part of a larger project and I did not need to match an exact curve. Just bending the planks over a piece of wood should do the trick. So I grabbed a peice of scrap about 1.5” thick and played with it.

Hand bending

The cherry bent easily – no heating, soaking or steaming would be needed. The next step was to come up with a clamping method. If I were to do an arch, I would not want to change the shape at the ends. But wait! The cherry bent very easily and a “camel back” arch would look pretty cool. Now I could clamp the ends parallel to the workbench. Time to glue it up and use lots of clamps.

Clamped up

At this point, I’m pretty pleased. I have a unique shape, no fancy forms and I think the final design should be pretty good. After waiting a full day, I took the clamps off. There was no perceptible springback. The shape looks pretty good!

Clamps off!

Closer inspection shows some gaps. Rats! I probably needed to use stronger clamps and work out from the center and let the ends slide more. It’s not the first time I’ve done a clamp up like this and I should have done better.


That’s enough for now, the next step will be trimming the sides and hoping the gaps get trimmed off. If not I’ll have to come up with a plan to hide the gaps. Luckily I have some more thin cherry to work with. All part of designing as you go…

-- Steve - Impatience is Expensive

4 comments so far

View zlatanv's profile


691 posts in 3771 days

#1 posted 12-17-2009 07:25 PM

I’m a big fan of design as you go, only used a written plan one time, (Norm, adirondack chair), most everything is dictated by wood on hand. Less frustrating if it doesn’t come out like the plan. I finally started using up scraps, the collection has been getting to big, saved the hardwoods and started to burn the scraps of pine and a bunch of oak flooring to short to plane. Need the room. Looking forward to the finished product.

-- Z, Rockwall, TX

View sras's profile


5232 posts in 3666 days

#2 posted 12-17-2009 08:00 PM

Thanks Z,

I am little ahead of the blog, so I should be able to get to an update pretty soon. Still have some features to figure out …


-- Steve - Impatience is Expensive

View OhValleyWoodandWool's profile


970 posts in 3657 days

#3 posted 12-17-2009 11:19 PM

Can’t wait to see the finished piece

-- "All you need in this life is ignorance and confidence, and then Success is sure." Mark Twain

View stefang's profile


16807 posts in 3871 days

#4 posted 12-17-2009 11:26 PM

This type of design-as-you-go woodworking is a lot of fun. Enjoying your blog. Looking forward to the next one.

-- Mike, an American living in Norway.

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