Canadian Woodworking

Rustic Log Candle Stand

Author: Paul Ross
Published: December January 2007

This candle stand is quite unique, with the base appearing rather natural and rugged, seemingly untouched, while the top is a smooth, turned surface.

The contrast between the tree’s rugged shape and its cleanly cut design is heightened with the three off-set candle holders. One could hardly look at this piece without wondering how on earth it was done. The candlestand is turned from a piece of 5″ x 13″ juniper log. Working with Juniper is a pleasure because of the lovely scent it gives off.

The process of turning this candlestand is simple. Split the log into three pieces, turn each piece, and then re-assemble. Before splitting the log, use a pencil to mark the line at which the turning will start on each piece.

Mark stock then cut into three pieces

Drill candle holes

Make shearing cut with spindle gouge

Trim the end with skew

Shape the cup with spindle gouge

Smallest of the three sections completed

All three sections completed

Glue and clamp sections


• Bandsaw out the three pieces. I chose to make each piece a different length.

• Using a drill press, drill a candle hole in each piece. I drilled the centers of each piece slightly offset in different directions. The drilled holes will serve as one center end when mounted on the lathe.

• Start by turning the longest piece first. Begin your cut at the pencil line by making a pummel (a transition from the rough stock to the round section).

• Use a ½” spindle gouge ground in the shape of a fingernail. It is best to use this tool in a shearing cut, travelling downhill in the direction of the flute. Use the spindle gouge to cut the coves and roll the beads.

• Shape the cup using a spindle gouge.

• The end of the cup needs to be cut clean and this also can be done with a spindle gouge. However, a cleaner cut can be obtained by using a skew. Trim the end by simply lifting the toe of the skew into the wood.

• You can glue up all three sections at once, or glue them up in sequence.

• I applied Tung Oil to the candle holder – you can use whatever finish you like. This is an ideal candle holder for the cottage, or anywhere that you want to achieve that natural, rustic look.

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