Turn Your Old Scrap Wood Into a Magnificent Wooden Vase

This amazing wooden vase took 200 hours and a lot of elbow grease to complete.

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If you have a large amount of old wooden pallets, and other wooden planks, lying around, why not turn them into a beautiful wooden vase?

Sure, why not.

Like any project of this nature, you will need some tools and materials to get started. Be warned, however, this will not be a quick and easy build. 

complete wooden vase
Source: Jackman Works/YouTube

The creator of this piece invested a total of 200 hours in total, half of which, give or take, were spent on sanding alone! However, we think you'll agree that the final product is certainly worth the effort. 

This wooden vase is about 28 inches (71.1cm) tall by 16 inches (46.6cm) in diameter at its widest part. For a more complete guide see here.

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For this one, you will need: 

The first step is to grab the wood you need. You can either buy the materials you need or scavenge around for the bits of wood you need. 

wooden vase reclamined wood
Source: Jackman Works/YouTube

With the wood in hand, begin to cut and plane down to equal sizes and smooth down the surfaces, as shown in the video. You may need a nail remover to remove any stubborn nails from the reclaimed wood. 

Be careful not to damage the wood grain too much so you can maximize the amount of wood you can actually use. Sort the best looking pieces of wood and glue them together in a stack, as shown in the video. 

wooden vase nails
Source: Jackman Works/YouTube

Clamp them together using pipe clamps overnight to dry. For a vase of the same size, you'll need two laminated pieces around 10 inches (25.4cm) wide that, once dry, will be cut down into 1 and 1/8 inch (2.86cm) slices -- the reason for this is to standardize the sizes from a pile of random thickness slats. 

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If you look closely at the vase, you'll notice it consists of a series of concentric stylized rings of wood. These are what you'll be making next.

wooden vase mitergauge
Source: Jackman Works/YouTube

Each ring consists of around 20 segments. For this grab a MiterSet gauge and measure the appropriate angles as detailed in the video. Mark out the angles on your pieces of wood in order to form wedge-shaped pieces of wood using a saw -- again as shown in the video.

The number of segments will be entirely dependent on the size and diameter of the vase you intend on creating. 

wooden vase segments
Source: Jackman Works/YouTube

Next, it is time to build each ring. Glue and clamp using something like a hose clamp the wedge pieces as shown and allow them to dry overnight. For this vase, the creator finally produced 28 rings of varying diameters to form the overall form of the vase.

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wooden vase rings
Source: Jackman Works/YouTube

With the rings dry, sand down all surfaces to make them nice and smooth. Next, mark out on each ring the extent to which you want to carve out the wave effect on each ring. 

For this vase, the creator set the extent to around 1 inch (2.5cm) from the inside edge of the ring leaving around 2 inches (5cm) from the outside to carve out. Each wave is also around 1.4 inches (0.64cm) thick.

wood vase wave forms
Source: Jackman Works/YouTube

Now it is time to get power carving! Grap your Turbo Plane, or similar power tool and cut out the waves you marked earlier. Try to keep the carving in a nice smooth motion as shown in the video. 

For smaller rings, the concept is exactly the same, except that you'll likely need a small power tool like the Mini Turbo blade mounted on a Mini Carver -- as shown in the video. 

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wood vase carve
Source: Jackman Works/YouTube

Rinse and repeat until all 28 rings have been completed. 

For the bottom ring, you will also need to create a suitably sized plug to, well, plug the gap. After all, you don't see many hollow vases. Cut a piece of wood to size and glue it into place. 

Now begins a long period of rough and fine sanding and smoothing. This will be the lion's share of the work -- so considered yourself warned. 

Use a mixture of pure elbow grease and power tools to thoroughly sand and smooth down all edges of each ring. You can use a variety of tools from Contour Sanders to other rotary power tools to make the work easier. 

wooden vase sanding
Source: Jackman Works/YouTube

After completing this step, you may find that you have a plethora of voids in the wood. If desired, you can fill these with epoxy resin. Once cured, you will need to go through another marathon of rough and fine sanding. 

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Next, you may want to pre-finish the wooden rings before assembling the vase. After all, it will be pretty tricky to get into all the crevices at a later date.

The creator used 3 coats of wood sealer on all exposed surfaces. See the video for more details on this section. You can either eyeball this to leave a ring of exposed wood around the center or seal all surface and sand down the middle parts.

wood vase finish
Source: Jackman Works/YouTube

The next phase is to turn the vase in a lathe. Due to the intricate shape of the vase, and its weight, the creator prepared two sacrificial end plates for mounting and split the vase in two to make two roughly equally sized "bowls".

Glue, clamp, and screw the rings and faceplates together as shown in the video. Be careful to remove any excess glue using a variety of techniques, as also shown in the video.

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wood vase glue
Source: Jackman Works/YouTube

Now turn each half of the vase to make a nice smooth transition between ring sizes for the final vase. do the same for the inside of the vase to give it a nice smooth transition between rings sanding as necessary. 

Next, cut off the sacrificial endplates and glue, and clamp, each half of the vase together, as shown in the video. 

wooden vase glue halves
Source: Jackman Works/YouTube

Once the glue is dry, place the entire vase back into the lathe for finishing. This will enable you to machine the final shape and form of the vase, if necessary -- especially at the joint between the two former halves inside and out.

The creator made a special tool for this, but the vase he created is very large. For smaller vases, you can likely use garden variety tools as per usual. 

wood vase machine
Source: Jackman Works/YouTube

For this vase, the creator noticed that the edge of each wave had a fairly sharp corner. To rectify this, he used a Dremel with a sanding drum to shape the edges of each ring more smoothly. 

You will likely then need to complete another round of power tools and hand sanding of all Dremeled surfaces -- brace yourself!

Once complete, the final finishing process can begin. Due to the shape, you may want to employ the help of compressed air to remove any dust deep inside the rings and paint thinner and rag to remove fine dust from the exposed surfaces. 

wood vase finishing
Source: Jackman Works/YouTube

With that stage complete, being applying your wood sealer to all exposed surfaces inside and out. You'll likely need to do this with a variety of tools like rages and brushes to get into all the crevices. 

Next, the creator decided to ensure that the vase rests on the waves at the base rather than the "flat" center to improve its stability when standing. To do this he used a Turbo Plane to dish out the center.  

wood vase base
Source: Jackman Works/YouTube

The last, and final step (honestly) is to apply a final coat of varnish to the entire vase. To save time, and ensure a nice even coverage, use a spray gun to apply the varnish. 

Once dry, you can now proudly display your actual piece of art somewhere prominent in your house! Well done you. 

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