Custom built Candle Stick Holder for the Gloucester Cathedral

Custom built Candle Stick Holder for the Gloucester Cathedral.

From time to time we get some very unusual requests, for example we were contacted recently by one of the custodians of Gloucester Cathedral, who had been charged with the task of arranging for the manufacture of a 6 foot high polished Oak Candlestick Holder. Now this commission was given to the local worshipful master craftsman wood turners.

Now you would have thought that making a wooden candlestick holder would be a fairly straightforward project, however this was not to be the case as there are many aspects that have to be taken into consideration. The main requirements being the construction of the Candle Stick holder is governed by the weight and height of the candle, in this particular case the candle is 70mm in diameter and it is 5 foot tall. Now what the designer has to ensure here is that the base is wide, thick and heavy enough to support the candle.

The main construction of the entire candle stick holder is made up of sections of seasoned oak which has been glued together, each section has been lovingly turned by hand on a wood turning lathe, passing through the centre of the sections is a 15mm diameter stainless steel threaded type bar – therefore in the event of the candle stick being knocked over the fixture would not split and come apart.

The last part to be manufactured by the wood craftsman was the top bowl profile, now at this point in time this is where contact was made with Metspin’s design team. A visit was arranged to discuss the task ahead. Now this was to be an interesting challenge for all concerned, the cathedrals representative and his lady wife both arrived at our company’s offices at the appointed time – Tea and Biscuits were served, in keeping with good old English, traditional customer hospitality.

After a brief exchange of pleasantries it was down to business, it was explained to us that to finish the build of the Candlestick there was to be a polished brass liner which would take the shape of a bowl, with an outer lip profile, but in its centre there had to be a female insert that passed down into the centre of the top head of the candlesticks main oak body that would hold the candle base rigid and firmly in place.

Now one of the most important requirements was that because of the height and weight of the candle, it was extremely important that the entire assembly was upright and rigid. We therefore suggested to our visitors that the best way forward would be to manufacture a female insert that would be a push fit into the top oak profile, that had a base in it that had a 16mm centre hole in it, as this would allow the 15mm tie bar to pass through it which would allow the whole assembly to be firmly held together. We also suggested that the sleeve for the bottom end of the candle should have a two degree tapper on its outside, so that as the candle was lowered into its receiving fixture, the candle would come to rest perfectly straight without any side movement.

The final task was for us to spin the brass bowl detail, to do this we first made a loss wax impression of the inner profile, from which we could then create a DXF file, from which we could then use to CNC machine the required tooling profile to the exact profile.

We now come to the final tricky bit of the construction of the holder. Now our customer was proposing to soft solder the inner sleeve spun bowl together, however we managed to persuade him to abandon this idea as this would cause possible distortion and many other unwanted problems. We advised him that if we made the bowl with a right angle inner flange, this would hold the bowl or profile perfectly. This meant however that we would have to machine a landing on the centre female insert; this was going to be a bit difficult but not impossible to do. Our customer was, to say the least “Overjoyed” with our suggestion and instructed us to pursue this proposed method of manufacture.

Over the coming few weeks we finally achieved our goal, the brass spinning along with all the machined parts all went together perfectly. Our customer was informed that everything was finished and ready for his inspection and collection, as with most other custom projects we send photos of our progress to our customers, from these photos our customer can see their requirements taking shape. On many occasions there are times when ones customer would like to alter or change dimensions, or feature, to improve the overall finish of their project – with this particular commission all aspects have far exceeded our customers’ expectations. The only remaining task for him to complete now was for him to come and see and inspect the finished project.

On the day of our customer’s visit we built up the bowl assembly and placed it in our reception area under a spot light, as soon as he entered the reception area his commission was displayed in all its glory. He was very pleased, to say the least, with the results – being a craftsman himself he wanted to meet the team who had made his brass candlestick bowl and holder, to express his gratitude and to compliment them on their craftsmanship which is a lovely gesture and appreciated by all concerned.