Martial Arts Candle Holder

File this simple project under quick things to do with a couple of offcuts.

A martial artist friend of mine asked for a candle holder for the sword class she teaches at Cincinnati Taekwondo Center. Students are challenged to put out the candle flames with their sword without striking the candles. The holder needed to accommodate 7 candles and include a way to adjust each candle’s height (the tops need to be level for the sword strike).

Given the martial arts theme, my design needed a simple and clean Asian look. I used a couple of scrap pieces of walnut – a 29″ piece for the body of the holder and a 30″ piece for a base, which is simply glued and nailed on. I used a 1″ Forstner bit to drill holes for taper candles, leaving a 3″ space between holes.

I then created a simple candle-height adjustment system by drilling ¼” holes in the side of each candle well and inserting pegs made from ¼” oak dowels. The dowels make for a nice contrasting color against the walnut, which I think adds to the Asian look I was after.

I lightly sanded the candle holder and chamfered all the edges with a block plane. I finished it very simply with a coat of boiled linseed oil and called it done. After all, martial artists are going to swinging swords at this thing, so no need to be too precious about it.

If you’re not the sword-wielding type, this idea could easily be modified into a menorah or a modern-looking candle holder. Of course then you miss out on swords and fire, which are awesome.

Check out the candle-holder in action as a Cincinnati Taekwondo Center student practices extinguishing flames with his deft sword stroke.

– Scott Francis


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