Five Pomander Designs archive

Tuesday 16 August 2011

Nick Arnull presents five different designs for a variety of functional and decorative pomanders

Gallery

The pomander used to be a very popular item but today is one that we seem to view as more decorative than functional. They can vary greatly in design and size, often simply shaped and yet extremely decorative. Personal vinaigrettes were hung around the neck or from a belt.

It could also be something of considerable size that is used to sweeten the scent of an entire room or even a building.

If you have never turned a vessel or box then this is a great way to begin, allowing the creation of thin walled vessels for decoration. Turning something a little bit different allows the practice of the techniques without turning at a larger scale. The vessel is basically a hanging box with a slightly loose fitting lid, which allows the wood to move and therefore makes it easy to replace the pomander's contents.

Brass lid pomander

This brass lid pomander is a simple item to create and the finished size of the piece measures 120 x 60mm (4 3/4 x 4 3/4in). To start turning the pomander, you need to begin by mounting the correct sized blank on a screw chuck. You can then start to shape the outside at the bottom to create a chucking method - I used a small spigot - and you can then sand and seal the turned area.

Reverse chuck the piece and finish shaping the top, creating a detail at the opening for the inset top to fit into. There are many designs and sizes of lid available. With the opening set begin to turn out the interior of the vessel using hollowing tools or a long-grind bowl gouge. Finally, sand, seal and polish the item using your preferred finish.

Time taken & cost

Time taken: 45 mins

Cost: £5 (plus £2.50 for lid)

Tools used

Parting tool

10mm (3/8in) spindle gouge

10mm (3/8n) long-grind bowl gouge

Small round skew chisel

Square-end box scraper

End grain hollowing tool

Hanging banksia nut pomander

To create the hanging banksia nut pomander begin by cutting the ends from the nut to create two flat ends, then mount the nut between centres and turn.

Decide at what point the nut will be divided, leaving enough material for the natural edge and the spigot; this will act as the union between the top and the bottom. You then need to make round at each end, creating spigots to fit into your chuck before parting in two.

Mount the larger piece into the chuck and turn the outside, or alternatively, drill the centre to create the opening. Sand, seal and lacquer the outside, then reverse the piece onto a jam chuck, or if the opening is the same size, use the chuck and it can be held with the jaws expanded.

Finish turning and shaping the bottom of the pomander, keeping the tailstock in place as long as possible to add stability when turning. You can then sand and finish the form. Mount the lid into the chuck and turn a spigot to fit into the opening of the bottom previously turned. Drill a small hole at the centre right through the top – this is where the hanging string will pass - you can then turn the top profile and sand and finish as before. With the pieces complete, place a small eye at the inside bottom of the base and tie the hanging cord to it, then pass the string through the hole in the top. Tie a loop at the end of the string and you can then find a suitable place to hang the pomander.

Time taken & cost

Time taken: 60 mins

Cost: £3.50

Tools used

Parting tool

Spindle roughing gouge

10mm (3/8n) spindle gouge

Small round skew chisel

Square-end box scraper

Hanging vessel with holes

The final dimensions of this pomander are: top: 30 x 70mm (1 1/8in x 2 3/4in); vessel: 80 x 100mm (3 1/8 x 100mm); finial: 20 x 35mm (3/4 x 1 3/8in). This is a variation on the previous item, but this time I have used English sycamore (Acer pseudoplatanus) to turn the body but have added contrasting timber to add visual interest to the top and the finial at the bottom - the body is turned as before. Turn and sand the vessel then mark a line 20mm (3/4in) from the opening. Divide this by 12 and drill 8mm (5/16in) holes around the outside and into the vessel bottom; leave the vessel base a little thicker. Reverse chuck the vessel onto a jam chuck, finish the shaping of the outside and drill an 8mm (5/16in) hole into the bottom followed by a 2mm (5/64in) hole that passes through

the wall and into the inside - this will eventually pass through the lid/top.

Next, turn the lid, mount between centres and make a spigot that fits the opening of the vessel, then drill to 2mm (5/64in) and dish the centre, then sand and finish. Reverse chuck the top. This can be done by gripping it into a chuck or using double-sided tape. The hole drilled previously will allow accurate centring; you can then turn the top, sand and finish. Turn a small finial with a 8mm (5/16in) spigot to fit into the hole at the bottom - this will cover the knot at the end of the string used to hang the pomander.

Time taken & cost

Time taken: 90 mins

Cost: Sycamore - £3; blackwood offcuts - £2

Tools used

Parting tool

Spindle roughing gouge

10mm (3/8in) spindle gouge

10mm (3/8in) long-grind bowl gouge

Small round skew chisel

Square-end box scraper

End grain hollowing tool

Drilled & slotted hanging pomander

The final dimensions of this pomander are as follows: finial: 20 x 80mm (3/4 x 3 1/8in); vessel: 75 x 90mm (3 x 3 1/8in); and lid: 75 x 20mm (3 x 3/4in).

This pomander is made in the same way as the previous one but it has a different decoration applied to the outside. To start, simply mark two lines 25mm (1in) apart then divide it around the circumference by 12. Drill 6mm (1/4in) holes at the top and bottom then, using a small circular saw mounted into a multi-tool, cut vertical lines between the holes before sanding the slots and applying a finish of your choice.

The bottom finial is turned in the same way as before. Drilling it at the centre will allow you to glue the hanging string in place; it then passes through the body and lid as before. The pomander can now be hung in a location of your choice.

Time taken & cost

Time taken: 120 mins

Cost: £2.50; walnut offcuts - £1

Tools used

Parting tool

Spindle roughing gouge

10mm (3/8in) spindle gouge

10mm (3/8in) long-grind bowl gouge

Small round skew chisel

Square-end box scraper

End grain hollowing tool

Ornamental pierced pomander

The final dimensions for this pomander are as follows: spindle: 20 x 95mm (3/4 x 3 3/4in); vessel: 70 x 75mm (2 3/4 x 3in); top: 20 x 50mm (3/4 x 2in); and finial: 40 x 20mm (1 5/8 x 3/4in). The body of this piece is made in the same manner as the previous items but is turned to a 2mm (5/64in) thick wall; this will be pierced using a piercing bit fitted to a flexible-shaft multi-tool.

Mount the base to a scrap wood blank using double-sided tape and turn the bottom with a small dovetail recess before reverse chucking. With the top turned, the centre can then be drilled with an 8mm (5/16in) hole - this does not need to go in too far, about 10mm (3/8in) - you can then sand and finish.

Next, turn the spindle with spigots at either end, create the details between, then sand and finish. Turn the lid, which can either be turned from a single piece of timber or a disc and spindle - the latter is the more economic method. Turn the top as in the previous items then drill an 8mm (5/16in) hole at the top, which will accept the finial. This hole does not need to go right through the lid. Finally, mount a rod in the chuck, create a spigot at one end and turn the details needed for the spindle - you can then sand and finish the form.

When all the components for the pomander are ready, assemble the item using a small amount of good quality wood glue. Allow to dry then add the lid, which should be a loose fit in this case.

Time taken & cost

Time taken: 240 mins

Cost: English walnut - £6.50

Tools used

Parting tool

Spindle roughing gouge

10mm (3/8in) spindle gouge

10mm (3/8in) long-grind bowl gouge

Small round skew chisel

Square-end box scraper

End grain hollowing tool


Woodworkers Institute

Tagged In:

Nick Arnull , Woodturning , decorative , pomanders , functional

About The Author

UK professional woodturner, author and demonstrator Nick Arnull produces decorative turned wood art and also turns spindles for furniture makers, cabinet makers, joiners and builders. He has demonstrated at symposiums all over the world and also offers tuition to those who are looking to improve their woodturning and explore decorative techniques.
Email: nickarnull@hotmail.co.uk

Health & Safety

1. Use Cynoacrylate adhesive on the end of the cord to attach a small piece of wire; this will make threading the cord easier
2. Keep designs simple
3. Vary finishes within a project
4. Apply a finish at the end if you are drilling holes and piercing
5. Ensure all pieces are sanded well before applying
a final finish
6. Use contrasting timbers to add a visual aesthetic

Health & Safety

1. Use a full-face shield when turning banksia nuts
2. Protect your eyes and lungs at all times, and work at
a speed that allows you to feel both comfortable
and safe
3. Always reduce lathe rotation speed when using wood that is not round and when using alternative chucking methods that you are not familiar with
4. Keep the toolrest between you and the work - NEVER let your fingers cross over to the other side
5. Ensure to protect yourself from dust when using rotary power tools

Diagrams Click an image to enlarge