Birdhouse Ornament

Dale Nish, one of the principal architects of the turning revival, shares some turning techniques.
By Dale L. Nish
Pages: 88-93

From the December 2004 issue #145
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Birdhouse Christmas ornaments have become very popular the last few years, and they are excellent gifts for family and friends. Back in 1993, I saw a birdhouse ornament made by Ray Huskey from Gatlinburg, Tenn. I was intrigued by the possibilities of this small project as a gift for our grandchildren and friends. Since then, I have made birdhouse ornaments each year for the past 10 years. Each year I make a different design from a variety of woods, and I turn 40 or 50 for Christmas. No, we don’t have 40 grandchildren, but we do have 18. The rest of the ornaments go to family and friends, and a few go for sale. So far I’ve turned a total of 400 to 500 ornaments.

Typically the ornaments are turned in groups of 10 or 12, usually from a variety of colorful or unusual woods. After the bodies and roofs are turned and finished, I match the tops and bodies for interest, contrast or color. The perches and finials are usually made from the same species, such as ebony or pink ivory, but any straight-grained and dense hardwood would do.

From the December 2004 issue #145
Buy this issue now