Tools & Materials
Evocative of classic holders cast in bronze and iron, these stately candlesticks can be made for surprisingly little cash—the balusters cost us just $4 and $5 each at a salvage yard. The finished product can transform your hearth or make a dramatic tabletop display. Here’s how to make them. (Note: If you’re using salvaged balusters that were once painted, wipe down and seal their surfaces to encapsulate any residual lead paint before you do anything else.)
Cut the Balusters to Size
Using a miter saw, remove the tenon of a baluster to create a flat bottom. Cut the top down to your preferred length, making certain that the diameter and depth of the top is large enough to accommodate a 1-inch-diameter candle (at least 1½ inches). If your baluster is tapered, shim up the end you’re cutting so that you get a square cut.
Drill a Hole for the Candle
Stabilize the baluster vertically by clamping it to the leg of a table. Find the center of the baluster’s top, and, using a ⅞-inch Forstner bit with your drill/driver, hollow out a hole about ¾ inch deep.
Clear-Coat the Balusters
Sand the balusters, then wipe them down with a tack cloth to remove dust. Seal the surface with a coat of polyurethane.
Stain and Seal the Base
Sand the 4×4 and 6×6 post caps, then use a clean rag to apply a stain that matches the baluster. Wait a moment, then wipe off any excess stain that hasn’t been absorbed, rubbing the rag in the direction of the wood grain. Apply more coats as needed. When the stain dries, apply a coat of polyurethane.
Assemble the Pieces
Drill a 3/16-inch pilot hole through the center of each post cap and into the center of the bottom of the baluster. Align the three pieces, stacking the 4×4 and 6×6 post caps and placing the baluster on top. Screw the pieces together with a 3-inch wood screw. Insert a candle in the top hole.