Walnut and Maple Tealight Candleholder

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Project by Jonathan posted 05-27-2010 02:14 AM 3663 views 13 times favorited 8 comments Add to Favorites Watch

This 5-tealight candleholder was made from hard maple and walnut.

The strips of wood were crosscut and ripped on the tablesaw before glue-up with Titebond III and 5-clamps. The maple was 5/4 and the walnut was only 4/4, so I ended up cutting a strip of the walnut to set it on edge so as to be as thick as the maple, turning the edge grain to face up.

Measurements are as follows:
Overall length: 10-1/2”
Overall width: 2-11/16”
Overall thickness: 1-1/16”
Each strip of maple is 15/16” wide
The strip of walnut is 13/16” wide
The 45-degree chamfer on the bottom is 3/32” deep
The candle holes are 1-1/2” wide and 9/16” deep

A tealight is about 1-1/2” wide, so I drilled the center of the first hole 1-1/4” in from the side. From the center of each candle hole to the next center is 2”. There is exactly 1/2” spacing from the edge of the candleholder until the first candle, and also exactly 1/2” between candle edges.

The holes were drilled on my drill press using a 1-1/2” forstner bit. A tealight candle is about 9/16” tall. I wanted them to be just below flush with the surface of the wood. The forstner bit I used was close 9/16” tall on the sides before it met the shaft, so I basically drilled until the top of the bit was almost flush with the surface of the wood.

I used the belt sander to quickly smooth out a couple of light elevation differences. It was then hand-sanded up through 400-grit paper. I freehanded a 45-degree chamfer 3/32” deep on the bottom to keep the edges from getting dinged, plus to give it a lightly floating effect above whatever surface it sits on. All other edges were given a very slight roundover just to remove the sharpness. nothing major. It has soft rounded edges, rather than sharp edges.

The finish is 3-4 coats (bottom/top) of spray-on Zinsser Bull’s Eye Seal Coat dewaxed shellac. It was the first time I used the spray-on shellac. I will definitely use it again and only had a slight run on one end, trying to take care of the end-grain soaking everything up.

I already have other wood combinations and sizes planned for future versions of these. This was an enjoyable and easy project to complete in a short amount of time and made a great gift that travels well for my visiting mother-in-law who packed it in her suitcase and took it back to Michigan today. This would also be a great project to use up smaller pieces of wood.

New techniques, tools, etc. on this project:
I had not yet used my chamfer bit in the router.
I also used the spray-on (dewaxed) shellac for the first time here.

Things I’d do differently:
Lighter coats of shellac so as to avoid build-up/running on the end-grain.
The chamfer is not perfect and I did burn one little spot near a corner trying to get the chamfer right. I continued going slightly deeper several times, but finally decided to stop because I didn’t want the chamfered edge any more pronounced than it was.

-- Jonathan, Denver, CO "Constructive criticism is welcome and valued as it gives me new perspectives and helps me to advance as a woodworker."

8 comments so far

View a1Jim's profile


113825 posts in 2666 days

#1 posted 05-27-2010 02:20 AM

Nice holder and good wood combination

-- Custom furniture

View thatwoodworkingguy's profile


375 posts in 2019 days

#2 posted 05-27-2010 02:32 AM

Nice wood contrasts

-- ~Eagle America~ ~Woodcraft~

View donjoe's profile


1360 posts in 2120 days

#3 posted 05-27-2010 03:17 AM

Nice job on the tealight holder. Looks good.

-- Donnie-- listen to the wood.

View Paul2274's profile


330 posts in 2201 days

#4 posted 05-27-2010 03:58 AM

Nice wood choices and the wood burned signature is a nice touch too.


View Popsnsons's profile


350 posts in 2070 days

#5 posted 05-27-2010 05:25 AM

Looks great! Nice job on the spacing.

-- Pops ~ In So Cal...

View Ken90712's profile


16034 posts in 2277 days

#6 posted 05-27-2010 10:12 AM

Looking good!

-- Ken, "Everyday above ground is a good day!"

View albachippie's profile


715 posts in 2124 days

#7 posted 05-28-2010 12:25 AM

Great job with a pleasing wood combo

-- Garry fae Bonnie Scotland -

View stefang's profile


14940 posts in 2423 days

#8 posted 06-07-2010 11:57 AM

Very nice Jonathan.

-- Mike, an American living in Norway.

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