Mom’s birthday is coming up, so I decided to attempt to turn her some earrings…. These are made out of tagua nut. I bandsawed the nut in half — at which point I realized that there is a hollow in tagua nuts. Jim T. had told me this, but I didn’t realize how big the hollow would be. Luckily, I had some Inlace on hand, so I filled the hollow and let it sit for a day or two to dry. (Inlace is an inlay material made specifically for woodturning.) I sanded the bottom of the nut so that I would have a sturdy base to glue to a piece of scrap wood. (It was simple enough to face off the scrap of something previously parted off the lathe to use as the bases for each earring.) After gluing the nuts to the bases, I let them dry overnight. I should have held them on with rubber bands so that they would have been a bit sturdier. (I had no rubber bands though.) I had one pop off its base and I had to re-glue it and let it dry overnight again.
Turning the tagua nuts was easy enough. They turn very easily, but will burn quickly if you aren’t careful. Do not part them off of the bases until you have turned both of them. If your second one is smaller than the first, your only option is to turn the first a little more. I even left them on their bases to apply spray lacquer. While turning, stop frequently and look for more voids in the nuts. I had to apply CA glue a few times to each nut while turning. A few drops then hit it with accelerator is all it takes, but if you don’t apply CA, you run the risk of the whole thing blowing up and flying off of the lathe. Before parting it off, I used a drill chuck to make the hole for the wires. I didn’t have a drill bit small enough, so I carefully drilled through the top with a needle in the chuck. CA glue holds the wire loops into the top of the earrings. Most importantly, mom likes them. 🙂 The idea to turn this came from a magazine where someone turned a Christmas tree ornament the same way.