Wednesday, December 21, 2011

It Is Better To Light One Candle...

...than to sit and curse the darkness.

Well that's so true, but up here in Alaska on the shortest day of the year, with only 5 1/2 hours of sunlight, we like to light more than one.

Here's an easy project that is instantly practical. I made the first three-light holder at my son's request. The four-light was made specifically for Advent. The wood is a 100+ year Doug Fir 2x4 (and a real 2" by 4" too) salvaged from my friend Dave's attic remodel in Cincinnati. It was heavy, and hard as a rock! It was also just right for this project - thanks Dave!

First I transferred the angle for the ends from the original, did the lay-out, and cut the ends:

Then I bored the holes:

I scribed a line in from both sides to create the side bevel:

I wasn't trying to match the angle from the ends, as I think it looks just fine when they are not the same.

I chalked the side for easier visibility and stared hogging off wood with the scrub plane:

I'm not sure why, but the surface looks flat in the photo, but trust me, the scrub was set pretty coarse and the grooves were deep.

Once I got close to my line, I switched to a cambered #6:

The final smoothing was done with a #5 1/4 "junior jack" plane.


With oil and wax and next to the original:

And with flaming wax:

This is a fun project for that special piece of wood you've been hoarding (come on, admit it, we all do it...) that also works fine with a nice chunk of 2x4. It's also a good project for kids.

Have fun and light a candle - or two, or three...


  1. What a simple but fantastic project. Proportions look perfect. And that last picture with the candles all aglow looks really cool. :)

  2. Dan, nice project, and I hope you and the family have a very Merry Christmas and Happy New Year.

  3. Don't forget, Dan, this could be a great confidence-building project for someone who is new to using hand planes and hand saws.

    If you do pick some nice reclaimed fir or QS SYP or white pine, then you will quickly feel like a HAND PLANE GOD as the shavings almost jump off the board and onto the floor.

    If you don't want to scrub most of that off, you can try your hand at sawing it off and then cleaning up the cuts with your smoothing plane.

    Bonus: Your shop smells like a Christmas tree!

    You could adjust this to be a votive holder, as well, by making bigger and more shallow holes...

  4. Jamie - Thanks! Yes, it's a fun reminder about simplicity (as are candles themselves) - quite often less is more...

    Rick - Thank you, you too!

    Ethan - Thanks for the ideas - I especially like the votive possibility.

  5. Merry Christmas Dan! Hope all is well with you and your family!
    Best Regards,
    Party Joe

  6. Hey Joe! Merry Christmas to you too!

  7. Nice little project, actually your projects always look good. I am going to make a candle holder inspired by yours, and I liked the little box with the sliding lids too.
    Merry Christmas and Happy New Year.
    Ian Waltenbery

  8. Dan, a really nice simple project and well documented. Your photos are always very sharp. Do you mind me asking what camera you use? I would suspect you are not using a point-and-shoot; it looks like the work of a good SLR with external flash. Thanks for the post.

  9. I like this, might have to get my appretice to have ago. See what he thinks. Would go nicely with some lathed bowls.


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