Turning Wineglass Stemware

Hand-turned Stemware is a classy way to impress your guests at your next occasion. We offer a full range of glasses. The glass is hand-blown and the stem has been pre-cut so it’s ready to assemble.
I’m going to turn a base for this standard-sized Bordeaux wine glass. All that’s needed for this project is a 3” x 3” x 4” blank, some standard turning tools and supplies and a piece of scrapwood. Now let’s go to the lathe and have some fun!

A group of different style wine glasses.
Finished wine glasses

Prepare the blank

Start by mounting the blank between centers. Set the lathe speed at around 2,500 rpm and turn it round using a spindle roughing gouge.

Turning a blank round with a spindle roughing gouge.
Rough the blank to round with a spindle roughing gouge

Using the long point of a skew laid flat on its side, turn a dovetail tenon to fit your chuck jaws.

Turing a dovetail tenon with a skew laid flat.
Use a skew to turn a tenon for your chuck

Now re-mount the blank in the chuck and square the end of the blank with your skew in preparation for drilling.

Squaring the end of a blank with a skew laid flat.
Square the end of the blank

Drill the blank

Each glass will vary slightly, so measure the stem and select the correct drill bit for a good fit. Mark the length of the stem plus a 1/4” with some tape on the bit to act as a depth gauge.

Marking the drill bit depth with masking tape.
Mark the length of the stem with tape

With the lathe running at 500 rpm, drill the hole while clearing the chips frequently.

Drill a blank up to the masking tape depth mark.
Drill to your depth stop

Turn the wineglass

Next, measure 3-3/8” from the top and make a 3/4” deep part at the line. This will establish the overall length of the stem.

Making a parting cut with a narrow parting tool.
Mark the bottom of the glass with a parting tool

Now we’ll turn the body to the basic shape using a 1/2” spindle gouge. I like to turn a flare where the stem accepts the glass for a nice clean fit. Take light cuts here and check the fit frequently. The glass needs to fit snugly in the stem for the best appearance.

Turing to shape with a spindle gouge.
Turn to shape
Turing a flared shape with a spindle gouge.
Turn a flare where the wood meets the glass
Testing the fit of the glass stem.
Check the fit

Finish turning the stem to final shape making sure you don’t go thinner than 3/8”. I turn the base to 2-3/4” diameter for a nice stable platform.

Refining the shape with a spindle gouge.
Finish turning your shape

Sand through at least 400 grit, making sure to remove any scratch marks.
Carefully start parting off the base of the stem from the chuck. Once you’re close, finish the job with a small hand-saw.

Sanding the blank on the lathe.
Sand through at least 400 grit

Next, mount a waste block and turn a tenon to fit the hole in the stem. Check the fit frequently, it should be nice and snug.

Turing a waste block tenon with a skew laid flat.
Turn a tenon on a waste block
Refining the waste block tenon.
Check the fit often and make light cuts

Bring up the tailstock for support and turn the base of the stem with a spindle gouge. Turn a slightly concave profile so it will sit flat on the table.

Squaring up the the base with a spindle gouge.
Square the bottom of the glass – turn it slightly concave so it’ll always sit flat

Sand and finish

Sand the base through at least 400 grit, getting rid of any scratch marks.Now take the stem off the lathe and hand-sand away the nub.
Now it’s ready for finishing. I’ll be using spray lacquer. It’s a nice, durable finish that looks great. You don’t want to use shellac or friction polish because any spilled alcohol will ruin the finish. I’ll use my drill chuck and bit on the lathe to hold the stem while I spray the finish. Spray light coats to prevent any runs in the finish. I’ll spray three coats, letting each of them dry for about ten minutes.

Adding glue the drilled hole.
Use epoxy to glue in the glass
The finished wine glass displayed on a table.

Now we’re ready to glue in the glass. Just mix a few drops of 2 part epoxy and mix thoroughly. DO NOT use CA glue because it won’t adhere to the glass. Now use a small brush or spatula and coat the drilled hole with the epoxy.
Attach the stemware, twisting back and forth to evenly spread the epoxy. Wipe away any excess epoxy and set aside to dry for 24 hours to fully cure.
We’ve now got ourselves a beautiful, hand-turned bordeaux wine glass for the next dinner party.

Supplies Used

Wineglass
Chuck and jaws
Spindle Roughing Gouge
Spindle Gouge
Parting Tool
Drill Chuck
Sandpaper
Spray Lacquer
Epoxy

9 thoughts on “Turning Wineglass Stemware”

  1. Is there a place or business where I can pay to have this repair done? Or, sell my red wine glasses with broken stems?

    Reply
    • It was actually 4″ – or very close to it. We took a lot of close-ups which often make the work look a lot larger than it is.

      Reply
  2. I have been making wooden wine glass stems for the past 15+ yrs but I use up all my scrap material in doing so. It takes more time but it is worth it.

    Reply

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