Things You'll Need
- Soft river stones (sedimentary and certain metamorphic rocks)
- Drill press
- Masonry bits
- Diamond core bit
The water of baths and spas remind us of natural waterways, such as rivers and streams. The rounded stones from the bed of a river are a perfect addition to a bathroom, spa or even a stone hearth. The smooth, curved form of the stones evokes the shaping force of moving water. A creative combination of round river stone and candles binds the two elements of stone and fire to create an interesting candle holder. There are a number of different ways to make a candle holder, but two river stone candle holders are given below.
Bored River Stone as Candle Holder
Large, round river stones can be bored to create hollowed candle bases. The stones must be adequately large, providing at least 3/4 inch of stone on all sides of an incision. Softer stones, such as limestone, must have 1 inch of stone on all sides. This width protects the stone from cracking or breaking near the bored openings.
Install a masonry bit into the drill press. The bit must be as wide as the proposed candle, otherwise a diamond core drill must be rented to cut the stone. Diamond core drills are extremely efficient to cut through stone, however they are expensive and can be dangerous. Follow the instructions provided with the machinery.
Secure the stone to the drill press or below the diamond core drill. Use vise grips to anchor the stone. A disposable plastic sheet or tarp may be placed under the stone to collect rock dust produced and excess water provided while drilling.
Start the drill press or diamond core drill. If a drill press is used, provide a small steady stream of water over the contact point between the drill bit and stone. If the diamond core drill is used, turn on the water supply to the drill. Drilling stone creates a great deal of heat from friction. Water cools a drill bit as the machine bores into stone. Some may prefer to use motor oil to lubricate and cool a drill press bit, but the oil may stain the stone.
Drill the stone extremely slowly. A slow bore reduces the heat buildup and creates a finer surface on the incision. Patience is very important through the process; damage to the stone or operator can easily occur if the stone is cut too hastily.
Drill all the way through the stone. After the bore is completed, remove the stone from the vise grips and apply a layer of felt to the underside of completed stone. Although the river stone has been rounded by the flow of water over its surfaces, the new hole running through the stone's center has sharp edges, and it could scratch furniture or finishes.
Stacked River Stones as Candle Holder
Small, round river stones can be stacked like bricks to create a candle holder. Take a number of small river stones, and arrange them to create a base for a candle. Stack the stones, and match surfaces of the stones to create better connections. The stone assembly should wrap at least two thirds around the base of a candle.
Wipe off the surface of the stones with a wet cloth, and allow them to dry. Fasten the stones to one another with epoxy. Use the epoxy sparingly, and be careful with the unset adhesive--it is toxic and can bind almost any two surfaces. Once the epoxy has set, it is harmless.
Apply felt to the bottom of the assembled river stone candle holder. The stone can mar furniture and chip finishes if handled too roughly.
Ryan Crooks is a licensed architect with 15 years experience in residential, institutional, healthcare and commercial design. Crooks is also an instructor, teaching architecture to high school and college students. He has written hundreds of articles for various websites.