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Thread: Looking for ideas on a ornament request from a friend

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
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    Elkhart, IN
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    184

    Looking for ideas on a ornament request from a friend

    An old friend from high school saw some of the toothpick holders recently that I had at a craft show (pictures below)and she made a request and I'm looking for ideas on how to accomplish it. Here is her message to me regarding the request - "My boys always called my dad "papa with a toothpick" cuz he always had a toothpick in his mouth. After he passed last year I ended up with his Corvette. There were tons of toothpicks in the center console. (Seeing them made me cry) anyway I was wondering if you could make a Christmas ornaments that could double as a toothpick holder. I could have a special place to put dads toothpicks and pull it out at Christmas for the tree? Does this make sense?"

    Anyone have any ideas? (i don't have the skill for doing a threaded box)

    Thanks
    Ricc

    these photos are the toothpick holder that inspired her request

    Maple_mahogany#2.jpgMaple_mahogany#3.jpg

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Location
    Carterville, Illinois
    Posts
    331
    Put a hanger wire through the center of the stem holding the tooth pick tray, and attach the wire to the bottom of the body of the holder. The part holding the tooth picks will slide along the wire, which will have a hook at the top to hang it from the tree (or a loop for a ribbon). This way you can still open it up to get to the tooth picks.

    By the way, nice tooth pick holder. I made one of these for my wife some years ago, and she still likes to use it.
    The hurrier I goes, the behinder I gets.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Nov 2007
    Location
    Fort Pierce, Florida
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    3,442
    Instead of making the center part come all the way out make it such that it only comes out as far as you show in the picture. Drill the hole from the bottom with a step to stop the lift. use a ball (instead of teardrop) on the top with an eyehook in it for hanging. You might have her send you some of her Dad's toothpicks and you could glue it up so that it is not functional, just a display piece.
    Retired - when every day is Saturday (unless it's Sunday).

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Feb 2008
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    E TN, near Knoxville
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    3,092
    Ricc,

    If you want a threaded ornament do you know anyone near by who could help by cutting the threads? You don't even need much skill with a jig but they are kind of expensive. (I use the Baxter threading jig and can recommend it if you have too much extra money or if the commission is large! I got it when the price was much lower than today.)

    Our good friend John Lucas makes ornaments as threaded boxes. Here are some recent ones he made if you want some design ideas. (I have the 4th from the right, made from cherry - it would easily hold toothpicks.)

    lucas_gift_ornament_496582_3.jpg lucas_gift_ornament_496582_1.jpg

    Since the toothpicks will probably be keepsakes I suspect the easy access a traditional toothpick holder gives would not be needed. I might try make a normal lidded box (ornament) with a friction-fit lid, then devise some way to keep it from falling apart if the lid loosens. The wire Tom mentioned might do the trick nicely.

    Another idea which could look more like a "traditional" turned ornament: make the top finial a knob that would turn a long thin bolt which extended through the lid and down to a nut embedded in the bottom of the box. The bold could extend through the bottom of the box too, with the nut hidden in the bottom finial. This could be easier to reassemble since you could turn a tapered hole in the bottom to guide the bolt into the nut.
    Unscrew the knob and pull off the box lid to see the toothpicks. A piece of small-diameter all-thread would probably work better of a bolt since it could easily be epoxied into the knob. Put a tree hanger on the top of the knob.
    To keep down the weight I would use a lightweight wood such as basswood, buckeye, or eastern red cedar and turn thin. You can get basswood and buckeye at most carving shops. Buckeye or cedar would probably look better than basswood.

    You might find out how many toothpicks will be in each ornament - a smaller diameter would also be lighter weight.

    Another wild idea if she will go for it: use one or more toothpicks as design elements in an ornament, perhaps inside an inside-out ornament?

    Hey, how about an ornament with wooden top and bottom but with a clear glass or acrylic tube between them with some of the toothpicks inside, always visible, sort of a permanent toothpick display case? They would stay clean and never get lost! I would consider this idea if I wanted a keepsake ornament. Could make the lid with an antique-looking brass hinge and clasp made for a small jewelry box.

    Back to threaded boxes: I know some people turn rings from threaded PVC fittings and glue them into wooden boxes to avoid threading the wood. Also, I think one of the woodturning suppliers sells various sizes of threaded brass inserts to make boxes. Not long ago I saw a post on another forum about these. Some people use these not to because the lack of threading skills but because it is difficult or impossible in a bunch of woods! (It is also a far easier way to get the grain to line up perfectly.)

    OK, I'm out of ideas now...

    JKJ

    Quote Originally Posted by Ricc Havens View Post
    An old friend from high school saw some of the toothpick holders recently that I had at a craft show (pictures below)and she made a request and I'm looking for ideas on how to accomplish it. Here is her message to me regarding the request - "My boys always called my dad "papa with a toothpick" cuz he always had a toothpick in his mouth. After he passed last year I ended up with his Corvette. There were tons of toothpicks in the center console. (Seeing them made me cry) anyway I was wondering if you could make a Christmas ornaments that could double as a toothpick holder. I could have a special place to put dads toothpicks and pull it out at Christmas for the tree? Does this make sense?"

    Anyone have any ideas? (i don't have the skill for doing a threaded box)
    Ricc

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