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What are weed pots? My definition of a weed pot is a small turned vase like shape about 100mm high and approx 50mm in diameter at it’s widest point, it should have a small diameter hole drilled into it from the top, say 6-8mm in diameter and reaching almost to the bottom. The purpose of these pots is purely ornamental and can be used to display some form of artificial flowers or my preferred items to display are dried grasses, they should not be used with anything that requires water, wood and water do not make for a good outcome.

Above, some weed pots in various timbers including two laminated ones, seen here, some with their grasses included.

Now to get on and make the weed pot.

Just follow the steps as shown in the pictures and text below, this will show you what you need in tools and equipment, also

a step by step guide on how to do it.

 

The first thing to decide on is, How am I going to hold it? my preferred method would be by using a hot melt glue chuck.

The backing disc held in the chuck, trued and grooved, ready to accept the blank.

You will require something to glue your blank on to, for this cut a disc of any wood about 100mm diameter and  fix this to the lathe, it could be with a screw chuck, or a face plate and screws, or if your chuck will allow, straight into the chuck, (my preferred method). You will need to true up the disc in both directions, eg, edge and face, once you have done this put a series of grooves in the face, about 3mm deep and 5mm apart, I have

provided a picture of my own set up, see below.

 

The blank, this one is Zebrano,

It measures 100mm x 50mm x 50mm.

Ready for the hot melt glue.

 

Tools and equipment required,

1/2” spindle gouge, 1/4” bowl gouge, parting tool, hot melt glue gun, 8mm drill bit, chuck with morse taper.

Hot melt glue applied to one end, be generous with this.

The blank now positioned on the backing

disc, bring up the tail stock for support, apply some slight pressure and lock off, the blank will be ready to turn as soon as the glue cools.

The first thing to do is to make your blank into a cylinder, do this using the 10mm bowl gouge or  the 12mm spindle gouge, keeping the bevel rubbing.

The inside taper in the top of the weed pot is created firstly using a parting tool going in as shown at an angle of approx 10 degrees whilst the tail stock is still in use. Take several light cuts, stopping just short of the revolving centre, and leaving a pip in the middle.

Pull back the tail stock to remove the pip, use a 10mm bowl gouge and taking the lightest of cuts pare back the pip until you are level with the taper, Now with a very sharp tool take a very fine cut from the outside to the centre, making sure you keep the bevel of your tool running at all times, remember you are cutting against the grain on a long overhang with only the glue to hold the work, so take it easy!

The centre hole needs to be drilled next, use a 6-8mm drill bit held in a chuck on a morse taper  and mount into the tail stock, bring the tail stock up to the work and lock it off, then with the lathe running wind the tailstock in until the drill reaches your required depth, in this case about 75mm deep, clearing the drill bit when required.

The top of the weed pot, showing the newly drilled hole.

Return the tail stock into the hole to continue the shaping process. Start by making the base cut using a parting tool, this should be done about 3mm up from the glue joint and go in approx  half way, as the arrow is showing.

A second parting tool cut now needs to be done next to the cut just performed, this cut will determine the diameter of the actual base, so needs to be about 75% of the widest diameter, as shown with arrow one.

Now cut a taper at the other end, this will determine the diameter of the top of your weed pot, arrow 2. Use the 10mm bowl gouge or the 12mm spindle gouge for this.

1

2

1

2

3

4

The shaping of your weed pot should now be done, for this I use a 10mm bowl gouge, working always with the grain, that being in this case from thick to thin, or if you like downhill. I would suggest that you do your cuts in the order I have indicated by the numbers on the picture and following the arrows. 1, may require several light cuts, 2 & 3 may require to be alternated until the profile is reached by taking several cuts in each direction, 4, taken last should only be one cut. This is only the rough cut, but you should be able to see the finished shape at this point, now it needs to be refined.

The next stage, refining the rough cut, for this I used a 12mm spindle gouge, very sharp and with the bevel continuously rubbing repeating the cuts as in the previous picture, taking them in order from 1, through 4, two light cuts in each direction were taken to reach the desired shape and quality I was looking for, as shown above.

The weed pot now sanded, the outside shape can be sanded with the tail stock still in situ, only removing it to sand the fluted top last. The sanding system I use for these small items is J-Flex sanding cloth, starting with a 120 grit, then a 180 grit finishing off with a 240 grit, don’t press too hard and keep your cloth on the move. Finish off with some wire wool (0000 grade, very fine) it’s now ready to be polished.

Before you apply any polish you will need to seal the wood, for this we use Mylands Cellulose Sanding Sealer,

Apply with a brush, fairly liberally all over and before it gets a chance to dry wipe off the excess right away with a paper kitchen towel. All this is done whilst the work is stationary, it will be dry in a matter of seconds, but do check first before starting the lathe in order to flatten with wire wool (0000) apply a gentle pressure to all areas until it all feels smooth. The top coat can now be applied, we are going to use Mylands Melamine Lacquer, with the lathe stationary put some lacquer onto a cloth or paper towel and rub it onto your weed pot trying to get it evenly all over, rub it in until dry, (a few seconds), check that it is dry, and then switch on the lathe, with a clean piece of paper towel burnish the entire surface, apply a gentle pressure and you should see the dullness of the lacquer change to a soft glow, continue to do this in all areas, keeping the pressure even throughout, once this is done a coat of Beeswax or Black Bison Polish can be applied, simply wipe on, allow to dry, (a few minutes) then buff up with a soft cloth with the machine running. Now part off your weed pot, angle the final cut slightly towards the top creating a slightly concave base, you will need to do the final stage of this one handed as your other hand will be required to catch the pot as it’s released, remove the final pip with a sharp chisel and sand , seal and polish the base. Your pot is now finished.

The finished weed pot.

The wood is Zebrano from Brazil.

If you would like to know more about or purchase any of the products mentioned above just click the links below.

J-flex sanding cloth.

Steel wool,

Beeswax & Black Bison Polish.

Sanding Sealer,

Melamine Lacquer.

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Hot melt glue.