Constructed with 183 pieces of two of the very best African woods, African blackwood and pink ivory. Elena is a spectacular candlestick measuring 20.75 in x 6.25 in, (52.7 cm x 15.9 cm). Pink ivory of this intensity has become almost impossible to find and is correspondingly expensive.
Pieces of blackwood and pink ivory have been glued together at a 30° angle to make two boards. These will be cut into two of the rings for the base.
Here are the two boards seen from the end showing the 30° angle of their attachment.
Here are the two pieces from the top.
Cutting the segments for the large rings on my table saw sled.
I have used an eight-segment ring so that each segment will be as long as possible. This will accentuate the scalloped effect that I am after when the base is turned.
Here are all eight of the rings that will comprise the base. The upper two are made of the eight angled segments, the lower left two have 48 regular segments, and the lower right four have eight regular segments.
The eight rings glued together. A solid piece of blackwood will be glued on to the top and bottom.
This is the base almost completed. Notice how the two rings with the angled segments now have a curved appearance. See if you can figure out how the 30° segments give rise to this configuration.
Let's move to the crown. Here are the twelve staves with their compound miter cuts ready to be assembled.
This is the top pf the 12 staves having just been glued together. Note that there are no gaps between these segments. It took many attempts to get the miter saw set this accurately, and now I never change this saw's settings. I have another miter saw that I use if I have to adjust angles for other cuts.
This is the opposite small end of the glued-up crown, again showing the tight tolerances.
This is the crown from the side. A piece of pink ivory will be added to the top and a complex assemblage of four pieces of blackwood and pink ivory will go on the small end.
This is a slow motion video that shows me turning the assembled crown on the lathe. I like the pink and black shavings.
The completed crown.
I am drilling the hole in the blackwood twist to accept the 1/2" dowel that will strengthen the glue joint with the crown.
Drilling the crown to accept the dowel.
All the crown-to-twist and twist-to-base joints on all my candlesticks are secured by dowels.
Here Elena is mounted on the lathe for finishing. Since many rosewoods and other oily woods such as olive interfere with the drying process of polyurethanes, I coat them with a layer of shellac first.
The shellac is applied with a towel. I use surgical towels left over from my days as a practicing cardiologist. The alcohol in shellac dissolves some of the pigment of the oily blackwood and it gets on the rag. Alcohol was used in the old days to extract the sweet fragrances from rosewoods for perfume (particularly from Brazilian rosewood). Also seen well here is the scalloped appearance of the two sections of the base that are composed of the angled segments.
The candlestick after its first coat of polyurethane turning slowly on the lathe so as to dry evenly. It will receive 3-5 more coats. Eventually a hole for the candle will be drilled in the crown, the crown and base will be sanded by hand, and they will receive several coats of brushed-on polyurethane. Finally, the whole thing will go through three stages of buffing and waxing.
The final candlestick showing the very elegant base and crown, with an elongated double rope twist of African blackwood. To purchase Elena go to: Elena