Follow This Simple Guide to Make Your Own Japanese Pine Goblet
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Goblets are one of the best things ever created by humans. Not only are they functional, but they also look amazing as display pieces too.
Rather than buying a commercially made one, why not try your hand at making your own from a piece of scrap wood? If this sounds interesting, follow this simple guide to create your own goblet masterpiece.
However, as you can imagine, you are going to need some stuff before you get started.
Tools and equipment needed
- Scrap piece of wood like pine (old log, branch, etc)
- Clear varnish
- Lathe sculpting tools
- Mini lathe
- Belt sander
Step 1: Choose your piece of wood and prepare it
The first step is to choose your piece of wood to make the Yamabiko cup from. In this case, the creator has selected a small piece of a pine log.
Once you have made your choice, and have an idea in mind of the final design, it is time to get on with the project.
The first port-of-call is to prepare your wood-turning tools. Sharpen them as necessary.
Next, secure the wooden log with a suitably sized lathe chuck bit, and secure the log into your lathe. Secure the other end with the tailstock of your lathe ready for turning and carving.
Step 2: Begin to carve your piece of wood
Turn on your lathe, and then begin to carve out the rough shape of the goblet. The design is completely up to you, but you can use the example one here as inspiration.
For this particular goblet, you want to remove all the bark, and also define a disc shape to one end of the log. This will be used to hold the log in place using a larger chuck later.
Next, switch out the main headstock chuck with a larger one and securely grip the pine log once again using the disc you carved out earlier. Secure again using the tailstock.
Turn on the lathe once again, and continue shaping your pine goblet. Try to keep your carving tools steady and move them back and forth in a smooth and predictable motion.
You want to produce a roughly cylindrical piece of wood with as smooth as possible sides.
Next, grab a woodworking chisel, and begin to carve the inside of the goblet from the tailstock end.
Remove any excess bits of pine and then remove the tailstock. Next, widen the inside of the goblet to the desired size and depth.
Once happy, round off the edges of the lip of the goblet to the desired angle and curvature too.
Grab some sandpaper, and smooth out the inside of the cup too. Continue using various grades of sandpaper until perfectly smooth,
Clean off any dust, and other debris, using a wet rag or wet wipe, as needed.
Step 3: Thin the rim and walls of the goblet
Next, add a light source pointed directly at the lip of the cup. This will work as a visual aid to help guide the next step.
Moving back to the outside of the goblet rim, begin to trim off slivers of pinewood until the rim is partially translucent. You should be able to see the light bleeding through the wood when it is at the correct thickness.
Once at the desired thickness, you can then trim off more of the lower part of the goblet to match. Take your time, and take off thin slivers at a time. Use sandpaper for finer control when thinning the walls of the goblet too.
Continue working your way down the main goblet cup body as required. Use a mixture of chisels and sandpaper as needed until a uniform thickness has been achieved along the full length of the goblet cup.
Reposition the guiding light as needed as you move down the body of the goblet's cup. Keep moving down the goblet until you have the size and shape you want.
Step 4: Shape the base of the goblet
With the main goblet cup more or less complete, we can now move on to the base of the goblet. Mark out the position of the base of the inside of the cup on the outside of the goblet.
Once complete, begin to work the base of the goblet as you did for the cup. Continue to trim, and shape it, as desired.
Ensure you also move the guiding light to point towards the bottom of the goblet's bowl to help you shape the bottom of the cup too. Continue to remove thin slivers of the pinewood as before.
Sand down as needed too.
Continue thinning the pinewood and then move on to form the neck of the goblet once you have reached the full depth of the goblet's cup. Thin down to the desired diameter, but ensure you don't trim off too much material.
Too thin, and the final goblet will be very brittle.
Work from both ends of the neck to form the design you want. You can add concentric rings, or other features, as you see fit.
As for the rest of the goblet, use a combination of chisels and sandpaper to get the gross shape and finish you are looking for.
Once happy, you can then begin to whittle down the very bottom of the goblet using a wedge-shaped chisel. Keep removing wood ensuring the very bottom is a flat, and level as possible.
Step 5: Separate the goblet from the pine block and treat the wood
Continue trimming off material until the goblet can be removed safely from the source block of pine. You will want to prepare to catch the goblet so it doesn't fall uncontrollably once free.
Once safely removed, you can begin to clean and treat the pine wood. Gently apply a layer of water to all parts of the goblet, inside and out.
Take your time, and ensure you remove any dust or other debris completely. Leave the wooden goblet to dry for a few days before moving on to the next step.
Going outside and staring at wind turbines is optional at this stage.
Step 6: Clean up the base of the goblet
Next, grab your goblet and begin to work the base using a belt sander.
Hold the goblet steady, and work the base back and forth to remove any excess wood. You want to make it as smooth as possible.
You are basically trying to polish the base of the goblet as much as possible. If you have included a well in the base of your goblet, you can polish that part using power tools.
Use a variety of grades of polishing bits to make it as smooth as possible. Finish by hand using sandpaper too.
Next, use a mixture of fine-grade sandpaper (400 and 600) and polish the entire surface of the goblet once again inside and out. Feel the texture of the goblet at intervals to check that it is as smooth as desired.
Take your time. You don't want to spoil the cup now after all the hard work you've put in thus far.
Step 7: Varnish the goblet
With the main preparation complete, you can now finish the goblet. Grab your clear varnish and apply an even and complete coverage to all exposed surfaces of the goblet.
Use a mixture of brushes and clean rags to do this.
You may need to apply a few layers and be sure to remove any drips or legs that may form. You want a complete and thin layer over all surfaces of the wood.
Once the varnish has cured, your wonderfully hand-spun pine goblet is now complete. Now you need to decide whether to actually use, or just display your masterpiece.
If this project has whetted your appetite for woodworking, you may want to try your hand at another piece? How about a resin and driftwood vase?
Award-winning artist and engineer Dan Morrison talks to us about the design process of his whimsical and functional statement pieces. According to him, his work is a celebration of architecture and engineering.