Wooden bases part 2

Following on from my earlier ‘Wooden base pt1’ post, where a base was made from scrap timber, I wanted to try and make a couple of slightly better versions, using a different holding method, specifically for a couple of bottles I had in mind. The first one was a nicely shaped traditional ‘real ale’ brown bottle with the the very bottom removed. For the second, I also had a salvaged milk bottle, which I hadn’t yet seen or thought of any design to suit it stubby size.

tealight hurricane

First I needed some nicer wood for the base. I had seen these inexpensive thick oak coasters of around 100mm square and thought they would be great for bases. The other key item I had bought earlier was some horseshoe nails. These are a great looking item used in stained glass work. I had seen a design using flat metal with soldered tops to act as retainers, but I thought these would be just as good, and certainly look the part.

I had already cut and finished the bottles at the size I wanted, and was very satisfied with the end results. Using the Dremel again, I repeated the routing process as in part 1, with a 37mm recessed circle in the centre for a tea-light, and a 2-3mm channel forming a crosshurricane candle for the airflow underneath the bottle edges to create the draw. As the real ale bottle was at almost full height, with a narrow neck, I thought it best to have the four vent points rather than just two to hopefully maximize the airflow, particularly as a pillar candle can fill the bottle. The wood was then sanded down, and a couple of coats of dye were applied.

The bottle was placed centrally in position, and marked a starting point for the horseshoe nail on a diagonal line between the centre and the corner of the base. The nail was tapped in without penetrating the bottom face of the base, leaning it back slightly to allow for easier placing of the bottle onto the base without the glass edge hitting metal all the time. About 10 degrees seemed fine. The process was repeated on the opposite corner, allowing for only 2mm or so play between the bottle and the two pins. I figured it would want to be as tight as it dare be, allowing for a small amount of expansion from the candle heat. The other two pins were nailed in position using the same method. In the finish, once warm, the bottle and base lifted up together as one. Time will tell if it proves too tight when very warm, but I think it’s fine so far. I’ve shown the brown beer bottle with both a tea-light and a larger pillar candle inside. Both work well, and look quite good in a fireplace setting.

milk bottle light

Overall, I’ve enjoyed a foray into using the combination of wood and glass together, despite my quite limited ability at woodworking. Using the horseshoe nails gives a slightly country or rustic feel to the darkened oak base. It would be interesting to have a similar go on a timber section with some tree bark on the edge. I’ll be using some of the joinery contacts I’ve got at work for some wood offcuts, which might prove easier to router neatly than 100mm squares, but it’s been good to try the nails and general idea. I want to try cylinders from ‘top and tailed’ wine bottles next, with an idea to make a wall-mounted votive type of design , similar to sanctuary or tabernacle lights you see in churches. I know the glass cutting part isn’t going to be a challenge, having done this quite successfully already, but we’ll have to see how I get on with improving the woodwork and metalwork skills first! The ideas floating around in the mind anyway. I can picture what it could potentially look like already, which for me is unusual and quite a good start!

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