Woodturning a Small Wine Glass

This is a great spindle turned project and this small wine glass will make a great gift. Try out different embellishing techniques on the finished project.

The photo above (same as the middle at left) shows one I turned in late 2017. I dyed it black and highlighted the grain of the Ash with a pearlized white cream filler. It won a ribbon at a local county fair.

I have settled on this small wine glass form after a bit of experimentation. The size utilizes 10/4 (or 2.5″) kiln dried lumber and the shape is pleasing with proportionate size stem and foot.

After finalizing on this small wine glass form I create a template complete with dimensions. I then photocopied the pattern and glued it to a piece of stiff cardboard stock and cut out the shape leaving the negative template.

The blank for the small wine glass is 6.5″ long by 2.25″ in diameter. I have already rounded it, added a tenon and mounted it in a four jaw scroll chuck. The template shows that we will get a 5.5″ tall wine glass from this blank.

Since I made the template I use it to mark all the major transition points of the small wine glass. One of the most important transition points is the maximum diameter mark which I am marking above. It divides the cup portion into 1/3rd and 2/3rds.

Since this is spindle turning always cut ‘downhill’ with the grain and so the first step is to clean up the end and then define the inward curve of the top rim of the glass.Then cut from the max diameter line down towards the stem transition to define the cup shape.

Again, using the small wine glass template to guide you where to cut – look for the high spots. Take careful cuts and aim to ‘tuck’ the bottom of the cup of the small wine glass at the correct transition spot where it meets the stem. This will be refined later after hollowing.

Here I am shear scraping to take out the minor bumps and refine the shape of the cup of the small wine glass.

Again I compare the cup shape I have turned to the template. Compare this photo with the one above and you will see the cup has a much better shape now.

I use a Morse taper drill bit to start the hollowing process. I find that starting to drill requires a very slow feed rate at the beginning to establish the center of the hole. Once there is a divot the size of the drill bit flute then drilling can proceeds much quicker.

This Morse taper drill bit is 3/4″ diameter. I drilled to a 2″ depth. Be sure to hold the bit lightly (in case it slips and spins) and pull towards the tailstock when you are retracting the bit. Be careful it will be hot at the business end.

The hollowing process is relatively quick with this tool. Review my Hook Tool Tutorial YouTube video

This overhead view of the hook tool in use shows that the handle needs to swing left to right as the hook cuts from the bottom to the rim. This is just opposite of traditional bowl turning with a bowl gouge.

Seeing inside the turning while hollowing is always a problem but not anymore with the Magnetic LED Micro Light.

Since the hook tool has limits on getting across the bottom of the cup, the T1 HSS Teardrop cutter mounted to the Half Round Bar by Tod Raines Tools is used to finish the bottom and shear scrape for a fine finish.

Since the cup is getting thin I support the outside of the rim with my fingers as I lightly shear scrape the inside. This technique helps avoid chatter. I also adjust the speed to change the harmonic frequency which sometimes helps in eliminating chatter marks.

Because I have the Magnetic LED Micro Light setup on the tool rest there is a clear view into the end of the cup as I continue shear scraping.

At this point I have completely finished and sanded (to 600 grit) the cup inside and out. I have a 1/2″ spindle gouge to complete the wine glass cup at the transition to the stem.

I know where the bottom of the cup is so I proceed to ‘tuck’ in the bottom of the cup down to a point where I make the transition element to the stem of the small wine glass.

The cup to stem transition is a simple fillet-cove. This take a little patience and some gentle cuts with the tip of a pointy spindle gouge.

Here I am using a fingernail ground spindle gouge and I am getting a few catches. Dang, it’s frustrating. I am a little out of practice. The caption is from the YouTube video of this project – the link is at the end of this article.

I proceed to mark the bottom of the foot to begin with the parting tool. I also compare the template to the shapes and transition points to ensure I am close to replicating the final form.

Starting the parting process now just gives me a target of where the foot of the wine glass will be and then I am better able to judge where the stem-to-foot transition fillet-cove-fillet will be.

Here I am using that same pointy spindle gouge as before. It has long swept back wings and I use the wings kind of like a skew to shear along the stem to make very fine and light cuts. This smooths out any ripples along the stem.

Before this final parting down to 1/8″, I have completed sanding all facets down to 600 grit.

I take some slack out of the tailstock and cut the turning free by cutting the small 1/8″ nub with a small hand saw.

And there you have it, a small wine glass. These are not functional although I suppose you could make them so with an appropriate finish. I like them as display items.

Here is the one just made with two others I have made. These are great forms for embellishments such are color (dye), burning, carving, etc.

I hope you give this project a try. If you do, please share a photo of your turning with me. Thanks.

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