Egg Cups and Stand

Chris Child turns a simple stand in sycamore with four egg cups to match

Egg Cups and StandIn the past, egg cups made out of wood have always been a bit of a problem due to the finish being destroyed by regular washing. With the development of durable waterproof finishes, those days are over.

One of the best of these finishes is an acrylic sealer plus top coat. I apply two coats of sealer with a brush or cloth which is then rubbed down with fine silicon-carbide 'webrax' (a product like a nylon pan scrub). After the two sealing coats have dried, you can even apply a finishing coat with an aerosol. This egg cup stand was made in sycamore, a lovely creamy wood, easy to work and ideal for beginners.

Egg Cups


Screw the block onto the screw chuck then turn the block to a cylinderAfter drilling a hole in the end of the 50x50x8mm block, mount it on the lathe using a screw-chuck and turn it to a cylinder using a roughing-down gouge.


Hollow out the egg cup using an axis position on the toolrest Slice the end flat with a skew chisel or small 1/4in bowl gouge and hollow out the cup with a 1in round-nosed scraper. Start in the centre each time you make a cut and work out to the rim, using a position on the toolrest as an approximate point of axis.

As you cut further away from the support of the toolrest, the scraper may start to vibrate against the work face. This effect can be minimized by making sure that the scraper is sharp and reducing the amount of cut. I like to grind my scrapers with a 40° angle on the bevel so that I can then hone the edge sharp using an oilstone. Test the size of the hole from time to time by popping in a real egg; when you're satisfied, sand the inside of the cup, before starting work on the outside shape.

Shaping the Outside


Make a parting cut with a thin parting tool to define the bottom of the egg cup, and then form the foot of the egg cup using a beading and parting tool.


Use odd-leg callipers to mark out where the stem meets the bowl

Part down to fix the diameter at the base of the cup
Mark the intersection point where the stem meets the bowl of the egg cup and part down to fix the diameter at this point. Once these important coordinates have been determined, you're ready to form the main shapes of the egg cup.


Shape the bowl of the egg cup on the outsideUse a 1/4in gouge to shape the outside of the egg cup's bowl, and check the wall between your finger and thumb from time to time to make sure that the curve is smooth, and that you're not getting the walls too thin. The stem is trimmed to the desired shape and thickness with same tool, working with fine even cuts, with the bevel of the tool always resting against the work surface to prevent the edge from snatching and digging in.


Unscrew the finished cup and repeat the process fothe other threeAfter sanding and polishing the egg cup, part off the finished work by cutting, almost but not quite, to the screw, leaving a small section of waste in the chuck.

To make sure that the set of egg cups are all the same, I've as many as four calipers, each one pre-set to the diameter of part of the workpiece. These are laid out on a board which rests on the bed bars of the lathe, so that they're ready to hand for each stage of the process.

Egg Cup Stand


To hold the150x150x20mm disc of sycamore onto the lathe, use the screw chuck again, but this time you'll need to support the work with a wide diameter back-plate as well. With my masterchuck, the main outer ring performs this function by being brought up against the back of the wooden disc.


Flatten the underside of the tray using a round-nose scraperUse a round-nosed scraper to flatten off the disc.


Mark out the positions for the four feet using the chuck as an indexing deviceMark out the four positions for the ball feet; I used the four holes of the chuck's outer main ring as an indexing device.


Cut the bead around the edge base with the beading and parting toolReverse the work and form the fillets and bead on the rim of the disc, using the beading and parting tool as if it were a scraper, except that instead of holding it horizontally, tilt it slightly upright at a cutting angle. This technique could not be simpler, but it does rely on the sharpness of the tool for a clean cut.


Remove the waste then flatten out the surface between bead and centreCut the waste out from the floor of the disc with the scraper and then improve the finish by feeding the beading and parting tool laterally, maintaining a depth of cut the thickness of a whisker. Leave a small island in the centre to provide a base for the column of the stand.


After unwinding and re-setting the disc on the end of the screw chuck, you can cut the hole for the centre column's dowel joint, using a miniature square scraper. Don't reduce the screw chuck's hold on the work too much - you can always finish off the hole with the finished base held in the cushioned jaws of the bench vice.

The Column


Turn the detail on the central column using the beading and parting toolMake the central column which serves as a handle for the egg stand by turning a 25x25x120mm cylinder of sycamore with a roughing-down gouge. You may like to sketch the design on the side of the cylinder first before marking out the lateral positions of the mouldings. Make a V-cut on each intersection point with a skew chisel and form the convex shapes of the stem with a beading and parting tool.


After sanding and polishing, part off the work with the skew chiselThe small radius below the spherical top of the column is made with the small 1/4in bowl gouge, which is then used to form the taper of the main stem. Part down at one end to create the dowel so that it forms a nice fit into the hole in the tray. Care taken with the fit will make the final assembly much easier.


After sanding and polishing, slice the work off with the skew chisel.

The Ball Feet


Turning the ball feetThe ball feet are turned out of four small 22x22x26mm square blocks of wood, all of which have been pre-drilled with a 1/4in hole so that they can be fitted onto the screw chuck. You can see a conical section of darker wood which limits the length of the chuck's screw, and also projects the work out slightly, so that it can be more easily accessed. When turning the corners down, care is needed to avoid dislodging the work, so you may need to use a smaller tool than the usual 3/4in roughing-down gouge. Shape the ball with the beading and parting tool and part down at the end nearest to screw chuck to form a dowel.



After drilling the required holes in the base of the tray, assemble the stand by applying a drop of glue to the dowel on each of the ball feet and then gently ease the column and feet into their holes.