Introduction: DIY Wooden Beer Mug (No Lathe)

Full video of the mug build is below which can be found on my Youtube Channel, followed by materials list / tools list and a full set of written steps that you'll want to have to build your own version!

Step 1: Gather Materials (and Beer!)

My friend had two old shelves (wood species unknown at this point - maybe Mahagony) that he didn't want. I thought it would be fun to convert one of them into a wooden beer mug. So I did!

MATERIALS

TOOLS

VIDEO / AUDIO EQUIPMENT

Step 2: Milling Lumber - Round 1

The wood I had acquired was previously finished with some type of oil, so the first steps were to remove that finish so that the wood would be returned to useable lumber and glue-able! I only removed what I needed to keep as much thickness as possible. The result was wood about .70" thick.

Step 3: Milling Lumber - Round 2

Next I could rip my pieces into strips at 3.5", then cut those 3.5" strips into squares. I think I ended up cutting 9 total squares. I also cut four pieces at 4.5" long that would later become the handles. You'll see them in the next few steps.

Step 4: Glue Up - Round 1

You can see how I glued up all the squares to form the "mug" blank, and the longer pieces to form handle blanks. I used Titebond II wood glue for this (food safe, water resistant), and let it dry overnight. I was careful to make sure the grain of my wood all ran the same direction as well for the "future mug" blank.

NOTE - I glued up two sets of handle blanks (two pieces each), incase I messed up later on. These are not four piece glued together, they are two pieces glued together, just clamped up together.

Step 5: Designing Your Mug

The next step was to find the center using two diagonal lines, followed by marking out two circles using my compass. Since I don't have a lathe, I can't turn this piece on the inside and outside.

Instead, I'll be hollowing it out with a forstner bit, and rounding off the outside using various methods detailed later. My forstner bit is 2.125", so that is the size of my center circle. Then I just measured about .50" outside of that to create a parameter for the outside of the cup. Simple enough right?

Step 6: Drilling Your Hole (Lots and Lots of Drilling!!)

Then I spent a good amount of time boring a hole using my power drill. Without a drill press this was a lot of work and probably took me three total fully charged Ryobi Batteries to complete (I need new ones!). I ended up drilling about 5.5" deep.

You can see in the last two photos the depth at which I dug. That is an 8.4 oz. can of soda (for reference), so the cup probably holds 10 oz total. So yes, it won't be enough for a full beer but I can only do so much with what I have!

Step 7: Basic Shaping - Round 1

This next step can be done many ways as everyone has access to different tools, so hopefully you can do it with one of the below methods!

The whole point is just to remove excess material so that it is easier to round out the outside of the mug later on with a belt sander. I chose to use an angle grinder with my ARBORTECH TURBOPlane Blade, but it can also be done with the following tools / techniques

  • Miter'd band saw cuts
  • Miter'd table saw cuts
  • Miter Saw cuts
  • Hand carving tools
  • All belt sanding (takes the longest)

Step 8: Basic Shaping - Round 2

After rough shaping, I could move to my stationary belt sander and begin rounding out the edges.

I was using 120 grit sand paper at this point which wasn't course enough, so this took longer than expected. 40 or 60 grit would speed things up for you. I was pretty excited at this point with how the grain was starting to look!

I also flattened one side to where the handle would eventually be glued to just to have flat clean glue-able surfaces.

Step 9: Making the Handle

Next up was shaping the handle, the design and drawing of which was completely freehanded and not based on anything but the idea that it should look and function like a handle. It could be round or square, big or small, thin or thick - just do what you want - it is your project!

I then moved to sanding all faces of it, including rounding the interior and exterior edges as well as flattening the ends that would later be attached to the mug.

Step 10: Final Sanding (Wet and Dry)

I then wetted everything down and gave it one final sanding at 220 and 320 grit. I did this to both smooth it out as well raise the grain on the wood so that when it did get wet eventually, it would remain smooth.

Step 11: Glue Up - Round 2

Then I glued my handle to my mug using Titebond II Again. Only glue here - no screws (obviously!), no joinery.

Just apply a solid amount of glue, spread it out, and push and hold it firmly to the mug surface for a few seconds for it to set. Then clamp it up.

The glue joint, if clamped and tightened properly, would be strong as hell.

Step 12: Finishing!

The last step was two fold.

First, I applied mineral oil to finish the cup and bring out the color and grain (looked awesome!).

Second step was to take wood glue (food safe and water proof) and rub a few layers of it on the inside of the mug to help protect the interior.

NOTE - This by no means is the only way to do this, it just made the most sense to me based on what materials I had at my apartment. I'll let you know how the glue sealant holds up...

Step 13: All Finished! Go Enjoy a Beer!

Then I was finished! I think it is pretty awesome! Grain looks great and the directions of which it runs looks fantastic, the shape is basic but fun looking, and it functions great!

If you want to know any materials, tools, or have any general questions answered, you can check out the second step or contact me via my website, thecuttingbored.com and I would be happy to do answer them.

As always, thank you for reading! I would be so grateful if you could please subscribe to my Youtube Channel for future projects. I put out videos every few weeks.

Cheers!

Zach

Comments

author
thegrimbarian (author)2017-09-16

Thanks for answering me. That dowel suggestion is another good idea. I thought if I used a bottle of the correct circumference I could keep the holes in line; The thing is to get a hole boring drill bit large enough. I also need to buy a sander belt like yours. Or clamp the work and sand it with my hand held sander.

author
thegrimbarian (author)2017-09-13

This is the best idea I have seen yet for making mugs; and vases, bowls? No end to it. I have tried drilling down the inside of logs but the end grain is very hard. I will definitely try this when I have the time. I don't own a lathe and don't fancy working one. I wondered if it would be possible to cut the slices to size; or as close to; to save some of the sanding?

author

Thanks. I think there are a few things you could alter to the approach if you did it.

First, you could use a higher grit sandpaper on the belt sander (I used 120 as that is what it came with on the belt but something around 40-60 would have been much more appropriate for this much material removal) and then use finer grits later on.

The second option is to, as you suggest, pre drill each hole, and then use a dowel or something equivalent to the width of your hole to line them up and glue up, negating the need to drill a massive hole and it would make the depth at which you could drill your hole not an issue like I had. A drill press would make quick work of this if you have access to it.

author
thegrimbarian (author)2017-09-13

I just thought of something else. What if you drilled each segment before you glued them together?

author
DeenooS (author)2017-07-12

Really awesome idea, specially that you can recycle materials.What about the glue? Won't it dilute? Is it safe to drink?

author
TheCuttingBored (author)DeenooS2017-07-13

Thanks! Fun to up-cycle!

And no - the glue should be fine. It is water resistant and FDA approved food safe.

author
JorgeS181 (author)2017-07-07

nice cup , like viking! it the glue works in the interior of the cup?

author

yea! feels robust! the glue does work - I'd do TiteBond III in the future if I had it, but TB II worked great for this project!

author
joen (author)2017-07-06

How is it to drink out of? It would seem to be a bit uncomfortable with a thick squared off brim. Otherwise it is nice to see how it could be made without a garage full of woodworking tools. Well done.

author
TheCuttingBored (author)joen2017-07-06

Super easy - if you watch the vid - I'm legitimately drinking from it - and it feels no more uncomfortable than a big stein you might drink from. Looking back at the project - there are so many other ways to make it as well without big tools that would be fun to do - but this will have to suffice for now. Thanks for watchin!

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Bio: I'm a DIYer and creator likes to build, capture, and share my creations. Thanks for watching! Zach aka The Cutting Bored
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