Everything is awesome!

Ok, so here’s the next build for my pay it forward gifts. My excellent friend Shawn, whom I’ve known since college, recently started putting together some old Lego kits. He even went so far as to restore the clear Lego pieces which apparently age due to a fire retardant. I’m sure said retardant also probably causes all types of horrible health problems like making appendages you want to keep fall off. Anywhooooo…….

I decided that Shawn needed some candle holders. But not just any candle holders. LEGO HEAD CANDLE HOLDERS!!!!!

So, first we make a test piece out of pine. We glue up some wood pieces into a blank and make something that looks like a 3 year old made a Lego head…..or maybe someone who spent lots of money to go to art school to learn Cubism. I don’t know….

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Next, we cut it down a bit to make turning it on a lathe easier……or to make it more Cubist. I don’t know……

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Now we turn it and get nice smooth geometry.

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Test piece successful. Move on to production with oak and poplar.

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And some lathe pictures.

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By the way, never buy that variable speed mini lathe from Harbor Freight. Turning poplar was a major pain. Oak was impossible. I took mine back and did the rest on the big wood lathe at TechShop Pittsburgh.

Next we cut the top and bottom to length. I made the pieces longer originally to give me working room on the lathe. Then we drill a hole for the candle with a forstner bit. Now sand, stain and coat it with polyurethane.

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Wait! “Why are there now five?” you ask. Well, yours truly screwed up the grain orientation. I should have assembled the blank with the grain running top to bottom. This gives the final piece the appearance of being one piece of wood. Live and learn.

Now we cut out some adhesive vinyl on a vinyl cutter and transfer it to the heads.

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Awww….aren’t they a cute couple? And here are the previous 3 versions that I’m giving to my kids.

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Overall, I’m pretty happy with the results. I had a lot of tear out on the top and bottom of the wider sections. It’s difficult to get at that part, and it was also my first time doing something like this. If I were to do this again, I’d probably spend more time making shallower cuts on those sections to get a smoother finish. Ironically, the poplar had more tear out than the oak. I’ve read that oak usually has a bad reputation for tear out.

So, Shawn, I hope you get many years of use out of your Lego head candle holders.

Author: Tinkering Engineer

Any day you don't end up in the ER needing stitches is a good day.