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Turn a straw stem goblet

Updated on May 24, 2016

Turning a straw stem wood goblet

Turning wood goblets is a project that is fun to do. The best part is you can go from blank to finished product in a short amount of time.

Straw stem goblets are just a bit trickier than a normal wood goblet being that the stem is so thin. It takes very little to break a straw stem goblets stem. Most time they are 1/8" thick. If you want to try turning one it would be advisable to leave your stem a bit thicker for a first try.

I've heard of people leaving their stems 1/32" but I don't go that thin. A stem that thin more than likely will break the first time it's picked up.

Mount your blank

To start find a blank (billet) and mark both ends like the picture. I usually use an awl to get the center points started so it's easier to mount between centers.

You can also mount one end directly into your chuck like I have done in this picture.

Using a roughing gouge or a bowl gouge round the blank. If you wanted to you could cut off the four corners before mounting the blank. This saves a little time but I normally just turn the billet round.

Roughing out

Once your billet is round you can rough out the cup portion. Once you have your outside cup shape it's time to remove the tailstock so you can hollow it out.

There are a number of ways to hollow the cup portion of the goblet but I prefer a 1/2" or 3/4" round nose scraper. Keep the scraper VERY sharp and take light wispy cuts.


Now that were all hollowed you can sand the inside of the cup. You want to do this now while the stem is thick. Do it later and you might not have a goblet at all.

Once your cup is all sanded find a piece of styrofoam and jamb it in the cup. Now bring your tailstock back up and run your live center into the foam. This will keep the goblet stable while you continue turning. Some people use paper towels but styrofoam works better.

Final shaping

Do your final turning and sanding. Be very careful as your stem gets thinner. One slip now and for sure you will need to start over.

At this point your ready for finish. If its going to be a decorative piece you can use any finish you like. If you plan on using the goblet finish it with a 2 part epoxy finish such as system 3 clear coat.

Part the goblet off and finish the bottom by hand.

I don't always use the same finish on goblets. What the goblet is going to be used for dictates the finish.

If the goblet is going to be for decoration only I prefer a lacquer finish due to lacquers high clarity. The only problem here is if your wood is an oily exotic a lacquer finish could fail due to the oil content in the wood. In these cases I prefer to use an oil finish like Danish oil.

In cases where the goblet will be used a 2 part epoxy finished can be used. The epoxy finish is the only finish that will hold liquid.

The general rule with finishes is that they are all food safe after 30 days.

Ebonized oak straw stem goblet


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