Picture of Easy Homemade Wooden Tea Cup Without A Lath
13, 8:23 PM.jpg
Hey everyone so here's just a quick instructable about how I made this teacup without using a lathe. All I used was a drill a sand belt and sand paper. Enjoy!
Thanks so much for the feature on my first instructable! Have fun trying it out! :)
Remove these adsRemove these ads by Signing Up

Step 1: Getting Your Wood

Picture of Getting Your Wood
13, 8:23 PM.jpg
If you look at my finished product you will see that it's got a funky grain to it. This is because it's what's called a burl. I'll let you look it up if you want to know more but they have the cool wood grain patterns. For my cup I cut off a chunk of this recently dead cedar tree in my back yard.

Step 2: Rough Shaping

Picture of Rough Shaping
13, 8:23 PM.jpg
The next step is to saw off any protrusions and make it as semi circular as possible. I just used a regular saw and a clamp for this step but you can do it how you see fit.

Step 3: Belt Sanding

Picture of Belt Sanding
13, 8:23 PM.jpg
This next step could probably be skipped depending on how symmetrical you cut your burl, but this definitely makes things easier. All I did was run it against the belt sander to fine tune the shape a bit more.
1-40 of 139Next »
ewalk1 year ago
Is there an alternative to walnut oil? Not allergic to all nuts but I am allergic to walnuts
You can use this stuff called butcher block oil or mineral oil.
Any oil will do, you are creating a waterproof coating that gets absorbed into the wood grain/fibers. Just use a TINY bit, and rub it in like mad.
rgerber1 ewalk1 year ago
When I was in HS many moons ago I made a large salad bowl out of maghogany, my shop teacher told me to use vegetable oil on it,, and that is all I use,, I wash it once in awhile in soapy water and rinse clean, I let dry then re-apply the oil, have not died yet... hope that helps,, I would think any edible oil would work just rub it in well..
mulrich125 (author)  rgerber11 year ago
Yup one reason I chose walnut oil over vegetable oil though is that it goes bad much slower so less reapplying, although its more expensive. Happy woodworking, Matt
grape seed oil will be very good, haven't heard of there ever being an allergic reaction to it.
mulrich125 (author)  ewalk1 year ago
There are many actually! I chose walnut for its properties but there are many similar food safe finishes you can use. I suggest going looking at finewoodworking's article on food-safe wood finishes, That will have all the info you need and more, Happy woodworking! Matt
ctuck1 year ago
Could you expand on your method of applying the beeswax? I have a wooden cup that I made that I want to seal. Just been unsure how.
mulrich125 (author)  ctuck1 year ago
Sure I can! I simply warmed up the beeswax a bit in my hand and then pushed in onto the surface a little bit like coloring with a crayon. Then lastly I just went over the cup with a paper towel and a little bit of pressure to get the coat even. Thats it! :) Happy woodworking, Matt
AngusSpiers1 month ago
Hey I was wondering if you could help me out, I've made a spoon and am thinking of covering it with walnut oil and bees wax but it is meant to be a tea spoon so it will have to put up with boiling water. I was wondering will the Finnish melt off when it's being used or would it be ok? If you could help me out I would be really
grateful. Thanks
zfollette1 month ago
Wonderful job!
JimT33 months ago

Wow, great job on the teacup! I would love to make more things out of wood. I don't have a dremel, like you speak of, so I might need to get one if I ever decide to get serious into it!

KirstieLynn6 months ago

Beautiful! Just found your instructable through Pinterest, I think I might try to make one myself!

bpark10001 year ago
Your cup will crack and split as it dries in the house unless you treat it with polyethylene glycol solution (sold by wood suppliers to "freeze" wood into the green state).

When you "turn" the outside, you can hold the work on the drill as you explained, but let the belt sander do the wood removal. This way, the cutting forces are low and the risk of the work flying off are also low.
mulrich125 (author)  bpark10001 year ago
Actually the tree was dead and not in the green state, its been months with no signs of cracks or splits thankfully. Thanks for the information though! Happy woodworking, Matt
Polyethylene Glycol is poisonous , and an ingredient of anti freeze . One of the reasons you do not leave old antifreeze out where critters or kids can get to it , the stuff is actually sweet tasting . And it will kill them .
Great cup !
bpark1000 aebe1 year ago
It is NOT poisonous. Do not confuse POLY ethylene glycol with ethylene glycol (which is in antifreeze and poisonous). Polyethylene glycol is even added to common foods such as cereal. You can buy it for treating wood.

When wood is cut "in the round" such as in this Instructable, it is prone to crack because if the different rates of shrinkage of the wood in different directions. When this wood is stored in the house in winter, it will dry further, shrink, and crack due to the low humidity. A small piece such as this will be easy to treat.
mulrich125 (author)  bpark100011 months ago

Been over a year no cracking! :)

aebe bpark10001 year ago
Low toxicity . Not what I was told when I was introduced to the stuff back in the '70's . I do understand about shrinkage , I work with green wood when I can , making walking sticks , and rarely now , treen such as the cup . Damp shavings or sawdust , packed with the piece into a plastic bag and kept in the 'fridge has worked . Anyway , thank you .
jango_fx1 year ago

i wonder if the oil and wax won't melt/dissolve when in contact with hot tea? i'd imagine drops of grease in my freshly brewed earl gray?

la2ur2en1 year ago

Absolutely love this! I wanted to make my boyfriend a cup for valentines day as he loves having his cookies and milk every night, and this is brilliant!

Seems simple enough, and much easier than I thought it would be without the lathe. :)

Hi mulrich125! That was a great project, wondering to do one too! Did you put coffee or hot beverage on this cup? Did you have any problems with wood taste or others in the drink? Thanks!!
Aspenflyer1 year ago
Excellent job. I think I'm going to try this after New Year.

Sam DeRose1 year ago
WOW! Beautiful! You've definitely got some patience that I dont have though, haha. How long did it take you to sand out the inside??
mcsk8rg1 year ago
first I thought u used a lathe

then was surprised !
even I use my rotary tool as lathe but never thought of doing something this big of siZe
I got inspired by ur idea if cutting ur screw head off n using drill

nice :)
alyons51 year ago
How did you apply the beeswax exactly?
bruce50001 year ago
to, things one( knut says) any instrutables comeing with hes way of doing it & to id like to make a shallow cuting bowl to use with a ulu knife can you help me out with how to ?
knut1 year ago
Regarding the bottom fixture: I once learned about gluing an extra piece of wood to the base having newspaper paper between. In this way we could finish the work outside and inside using the dril as a lathe. The extra wood could even have a bolt securely fastened as an axis. When the work is finished just put a knife at the paper and give it a wack and it splits in the paper. Sand away the paper and glue from the base and everything should be fine.

But your cup is very nice!
bruce5000 knut1 year ago
id like a instructable showing these way??
mulrich125 (author)  knut1 year ago
Since I made this piece I also learned of this method and I think its brilliant! Will definitely use it in the future thanks :) Happy woodworking, Matt
I learned it in primary school around 1960 and had almost forgot it, today most woodturners uses advanced jaws on the lathe instead of this old technology. We had a few hours of woodworking a few times every term in Norway in the 1950 and 60's. It is fun today knowing the old technology. The lathe we had was hardly more advanced than a dril in a fixture.
Wow, that is beautiful!
Love this. Really nice job!
A wood chisel would help get the general shape then you could sand it down as needed.
Absolutely beautiful! My best buddy showed me some wood bowls she had made a couple of years ago, and promised me one, too - someday... I think I may need to make my own. If one is using a wood with potentially toxic qualities, I wonder if the wood is sealed as you describe, if it would be OK to use for non-ingestion purposes, storing/showcasing small collectables, pretty rocks (my passion), fishing lures, and other small items. I love your work - thanks for sharing it with us!
mking371 year ago
Also, what kind of wood would you suggest if I was starting with a 4 x 4 x 4 block? Love the project, thanks
mking371 year ago
What Dremel attachment did you use?
jimmysymo1 year ago
I turn on a lathe ,but yours is really nice and looks smooth A good job done well.jimmy.
That's beautiful. I think I will try a Viking drinking vessel using this method. Many thanks for the Instructable.
That's really cool, but power tools aren't my cup of tea...
1-40 of 139Next »