Wood Goblet Art

Find Wood Goblet Art on Facebook

The Step-by-Step David Sullenger
Handcrafted Wooden Goblet

By David Sullenger

Each goblet is handcrafted to bring out the unique beauty of each piece of wood, from selecting the wood to choosing the shape to choosing the layers that bring out the greatest beauty.

Step One: Select the Wood Branch

The same kind of wood, tree, even branch will have a unique look. Each tree is shaped differently based on location and light. Even the same branch will be affected by tertiary branches that offset grain pattern.

Most of the wood is local. I choose each piece of wood, often from down trees around Orange County. Friends collect for me. Locally I use three types of eucalyptus: Iron Bark, Silver Dollar, and Red Gum. Italian Cypress, Chinese Elm, and Sycamore are found here, too.

Sometimes a client will bring wood from an heirloom tree to make a memorial, like when a tree from their front yard has to be removed. They'll have a goblet made from the tree their kids used to swing from.

One of my favorite trees is mesquite, which is hard to come by my branches come from Palm Springs and Arizona.

Step Two: Cut Ends and Mount on Woodturning Lathe

One of the first decisions is to shape the basic form and whether to leave a natural edge.

Step Three: Shape the Goblet on the Lathe

The lathe turns the wood as I apply sharp chisels and gouges to peel off small shavings from the branch. As I remove a 100th of an inch at a time, I'm looking at the way the rings form shapes and choosing the most attractive place to stop.

Step Four: Establish the Goblet Base

Step Five: Shape the Outside of the Goblet Bowl

I shape the outside of the goblet bowl. I don't measure these forms and I don't use templates in creating these forms.

This is what separates my work from most other wood turners who use rulers, calipers, and templates to reproduce identical copies. Some even use computerized replicating lathes to produce nearly identical "cookie cutter" goblets. These goblets are much thicker and heavier and less attractive then mine.

Step Six: Shape the Inside Bowl

Once the outside of the bowl is formed, I hollow out the inside. Usually the "bowl" walls are 1/8 of an inch thick, which can't be done on a duplicating lathe.

Step Seven: Sand and Seal Inside Bowl

The inside bowl is sanded and sealed with an acrylic resin.

Step Eight: Sand Outside Bowl

After the resin sets up, I carefully sand the outside of the "bowl." This brings out the final patterns of growth rings and beauty marks of the wood.

Step Nine: Taper the Stem

Once the outside of the bowl is complete, I taper the stem to the base. My stems are a quarter of an inch or less, smaller then a commercial machine-made goblet cut from a block.

Step Ten: Shape the Base

Step Eleven: Sand and Seal Outside of Goblet

Step Twelve: Sand the Finish

After the resin sets I sand the finish to 1500 grit.

Step Thirteen: Buff

I buff with red and white compounds to remove scratches from the finish.

Step Fourteen: Beeswax and Buffing

I apply beeswax to the finish and do a final buffing to a fine luster.

Step Fifteen: Separate the Base

Finally I separate the entire goblet from the lathe with a special woodturning gouge while it is still turning.

Voila! A finished Goblet!

People who aren't woodcarvers won't necessarily see all the steps, but I find that a certain piece resonates for each new owner. Somehow people are feeling some of what I do when I shape each piece.



Crafted from downed branches or tree limbs, often provided by friends and customers, these goblets give new life to so-called "green waste."


Unlike expensive, fragile wine glasses, wooden goblets are incredibly durable and may be passed from generation to generation.


David's highly polished finished pieces are one-of-a-kind masterpieces that reveal all the natural beauty of the wood.


Handcrafted wooden vessels are "forever" memorials for once-in-a- lifetime special occasions.


Read the Articles where David shares how he sculpts each piece and tells how to take care of yours.


For special events, new products, and online additions see Facebook.

Tree branches into goblets

Contact David by phone (949) 295-2558 or email info@woodgobletart.com