"I'll be Gnome for Christmas"

I find these guys running around in my shop at Christmas time.

A simple project and a very popular gift.

Most turners make these from multiple parts [head, body, hat, tassel, nose] but these are made from only two pieces of stock [body & knose]. The nose is also turned from a remnant of the same wood. This design makes them much easier and faster to turn.

This is scrub [Gambel] oak a wood that is indigenous to Utah. I harvest this wood from the neighbor’s fall clean-up.

Multiple wood stain colors are used to highlight the elements of the single-piece Gnome.
The beard is made from faux fur.

The band on the hat is burned into the surface by first outlining the band’s area with a wire pulled tight around the circumference. Then a piece of walnut is held against the wood between those marks to burnish the band’s interior. Both are done while turning at high speed.


Ah, want a cool little project. Will have to try my hand at making some of these. For attaching the nose did you leave a tenon and drill a hole to insert it into body?

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I drilled a 1/4" hole in the body.
Turned a nose with a 1/4" x 1/2" tenon.
The beard has a hole punched in it [with hole punch] through which the nose is glued to the body.

I use a drilling tool that I made some time ago that mounts in the banjo.
It allows me to accurately drill horizontally and on the center of a lathe-mounted object.

I set the bit on the lathe’s center and lock the lathes index at the place (circumferentially) where I want the hole.
The tool is driven forward into the target with a hand drill that provides the rotation.

You can of course just set the tool rest at the right height and rest the bit on it as you drill into the piece.

Alternately you can use a drill press but I found it difficult to get the hole straight on an irregular shape.

I originally made the drilling tool for drilling radial holes in turnings but have found it universally useful.


I would love to figure out how to generate toolpaths for the little 4 axis CNC to do those things!


Lord I’m glad my wife wasn’t in here when I opened this… This would have had to be my next project… Never coming back to this discussion lol. But that is really cool, and seems somewhat simple, but looks great at the same time.


Come on @ Jason_Harrison you definitely need to add a wood lathe to your garage. I’ll keep my eye out for a good deal on a used one for you. :wink:


@NedMan funny thing is, I have a brand new one in my garage… Never been used lol


a new but unused lathe… an addiction waiting to happen!

“To turn or not to turn …that’s a silly question!”


Baby steps… Ill be getting a 3d printer as some point lol.