Tired of making the same old shaped bud vases?  Try your hand at making a 3 axis bud vase.  Once you get the procedure down its not to difficult to make and the process can be used for all sorts of items.  This walk through uses 3 axis's but you can make as many as you want.  The sky is the limit and of course the size of the blank.

Step 1 

Mount the turning blank

Start by taking a square blank and mark the centers and mount it between centers.  For this post i am using a 3×3 inch turning blank that is 8 inches long.  

Step 2

Shape the blank

Now turn the square blank into a cylinder and cut a tenon on one end to match the jaws of a 4 jaw chuck.  If your cylinder is not even diameter put the tenon on the larger diameter end.

Step 3

Mount the blank into the chuck

Now remove the blank from between centers.  Remove your drive center and install your 4 jaw chuck.  Mount the tenon into your chuck.

Step 4

Drill the hole

Now comes the time to drill the hole for your tube to hold the water.  Select an apropreate forstner bit and drill a hole in the center the depth of the tube plus 1/4 inch.

Step 5

Define your shape

Now comes the time to rough shape the bud vase.  Give it a flowing shape being carful not to get to thin in the neck.  You want a 1/4 inch or greater wall thickness since the next steps will be removing some material.  Keep a little extra wood at the top for the point of your live center.  This will get removed at a later step.

Step 6

Mark the axis points

Next step is to mark all your axis points.  Use a compass set to 120 degrees to work around the top marking all your lines.  Then make a circle to mark all your intersections around the middle of wood that is left.  Transfer these lines to the bottom side not shown I remounted into the chuck and used my tool rest to mark the outer edge of the bottom side.  Transfer the marks to the center of the bottom.  Make a circle on the bottom to mark the intersections and number all the axis points on both sides.

Drive center talk

A little talk about drive centers.  To do this you need a drive center smaller then the one that comes with lathes.  The one that ships with lathes is to wide to complete this task.  Trust me I tried.  One option if you have old drive centers that you can spare is to grind one down on an angle to the point leaving a 1/16th of an inch left on the spades.  I started by doing this to one of my stash of drive centers from old lathes that I no longer had.  It worked ok but would occasionally mill a circle it took to aggressive of a cut.  I broke down and bought a mini drive center that is 3/8th diameter this works out a lot better and was not to expensive.  I paid around $20 for it.

Ground down drive center

3/8th drive center

Step 7

Mount for turning axis 1

Time to mount between centers.  Put your tailstock to position 1.  Set the point of your live center so it barley is sticking out from the end.  This is so you do not put to much pressure against the side and blow it out.  Put the drive center onto position 2 and tighten your tail stock up until the bud vase is held firmly.  Offsetting the vase by one position will give you a spiral pattern going up the vase.

Step 8

Turn the axis's

Time to turn the 3 axis's.  Place your tool rest and turn the vase by hand a couple times to make sure the rest gets close to the widest portion of the base and the top.  Now turn the lathe on to about 400 rpms and start turning from the widest points outward.  Your stop points are close to the line on the top and the tenon on the base.  Repeat for each axis by repositioning the points one position at each end.  Move the tailstock side to position 2 and base position to 3 for axis 2.  Then the tailstock position to 3 and the base to position 1 for the axis 3.

Step 9

Cleanup and sand

Now that you have all axis's turned all that's left is cleaning it up.  Start by mounting it back on the chuck and parting enough material off the top to remove the point marks from your live center.  Then part the vase off your tenon.  Finally hand sand with the grain to clean up all the tool marks and smooth out the corners between axis's.