Holiday Presents: wine bottle balancers, candle holders, menorah

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Project by AaronK posted 11-20-2009 11:24 PM 4274 views 7 times favorited 6 comments Add to Favorites Watch

This being my first holiday season as a somewhat established woodworker, its fitting that i mass produced a set of gifts for friends and family. The wine bottle balancers (14) and candle holders (23) are based on popular designs i saw in others’ projects. The menorah (just 1 for my folks) is just an extension of the candle holders, of course. A set of heart-shaped ornaments (12) made of the same 5-ply stock will follow, with pics i hope.

Details: wood is cherry, oak (either a light red or dark white), and mahogany (reclaimed!). I used the quarter-sawn faces of the oak and mahogany for the wine balancers and menorah. Much of the cherry is also the quarter-sawn face, although that wasnt intentional. Finish is 3 coats Minwax Antique oil (wiping oil-varnish blend), followed by rubbing in paste wax with 0000 steel wool. I rushed the wax coating on after only 2 days of drying the last finish coat, which made some of the finish look odd in spots – hardly noticable, but nothing to be proud of.

This was my first time using each of these woods. Notes: I like the look and feel of the cherry more than i expected to. It’s almost buttery – almost like walnut, but with less fragrance. The oak is much nicer than the red oak i used previously, especially quarter sawn, and especially on the end-grain parts. I like how its reminiscent of bamboo. I did NOT like working the mahogany. Even that sparkly quarter sawn face to me felt very lifeless. Also, it didnt machine well – it was slightly furry feeling even at its best.

In terms of tools, this project required the purchase of a set of forstner bits (the Grizzly H6334) which worked out quite nicely, and drill press (those 2” bits have a lot of throw!). That worked out well for me, wouldnt you say? ;-)

6 comments so far

View Richard's profile


113 posts in 3412 days

#1 posted 11-20-2009 11:56 PM

Very nice. I am in the same boat. This is my first Christmas that I am making all my gifts.

View pommy's profile


1697 posts in 3688 days

#2 posted 11-21-2009 12:00 AM

I like these very much can i ask what angle do you set for the wine bottle balancer

-- cut it saw it scrap it SKPE: ANDREW.CARTER69

View dustyal's profile


1294 posts in 3471 days

#3 posted 11-21-2009 12:32 AM

I’m just starting out with woodworking… and you gave me an idea. I have a bunch of small hardwoods… why not laminate them into boards and THEN figure out what to make. I like your gifts… they will be well received.

Well made, too…

-- Al H. - small shop, small projects...

View AaronK's profile


1506 posts in 3461 days

#4 posted 11-21-2009 01:20 AM

The wine bottle balancers are a bit long – 9” or so. I wanted to keep the proportions somewhat balanced as they are wide – 4.5”. The hole is about 7” up and rounded over with a 1/8” radius. The angle i found to be good was about 37ยบ. I mention all these things because all those dimensions will impact the final angle. The best thing to do is to make it all first, then experiment with the bevel angle since its easy to fix.

View scrappy's profile


3507 posts in 3427 days

#5 posted 11-21-2009 05:34 AM

Great gifts and great info on the ballancers. I like the look of your wood choices together.

Great job. Keep it up.


-- Scrap Wood's the best...the projects are smaller, and so is the mess!

View Bud's profile


45 posts in 3281 days

#6 posted 11-22-2009 11:06 AM

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