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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!
Edit:
Thanks so much for the feature on my first instructable! Have fun trying it out! :)
 
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Step 1: Getting Your Wood

Picture of Getting Your Wood
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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
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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
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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.
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ewalk1 year ago
Is there an alternative to walnut oil? Not allergic to all nuts but I am allergic to walnuts
pudtiny ewalk1 month ago

The process for making walnut all removes the common allergen, altough I full understand you may not want to take the risk. Any food oil except olive oil would work. Olive oil has a tendency to go rancid. I tend to use sunflower oil.

pmshah pudtiny1 month ago

As a matter of fact only oil that does not go rancid is Cotton Seed oil. Believe me from 50 years of cooking experience.

hdaniel-1 ewalk1 month ago

Even though it's not an oil, the best I've found was propolis. No need for anything else. Just melt raw propolis in a pot (do this outside maybe; it WILL smell. Personally I like it, but my wife doesn't) and apply. It's the best sealant, (like natural epoxy) it's not just food safe, but extremely beneficial (antimicrobial, antibacterial, boosts immune system and many more) and it will stay applied for a long time, just like synthetic lacquer or varnish.

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.
acoleman3 ctuck1 month ago

best wood finish i've found is boiled linseed oil and beeswax. melt the wax and add the same amount of oil, then stir until it's well mixed. just be sure to let it sit for a few days until the linseed oil hardens before you actually drink from it.

Actually, the best I've found was propolis. No need for anything else. Just melt raw propolis in a pot (do this outside maybe; it WILL smell. Personally I like it, but my wife doesn't) and apply. It's the best sealant, (like natural epoxy) it's not just food safe, but extremely beneficial (antimicrobial, antibacterial, boosts immune system and many more) and it will stay applied for a long time, just like synthetic lacquer or varnish.

I'm sure that's a fine finish for anything that's not near food. However, these days, instead of boiling, metallic catalysts are added to the oil. I suspect they're toxic. Unboiled linseed oil shouldn't be as toxic, maybe not toxic at all. Or you can use flax seed oil, generally meant as a dietary supplement. The latter two apparently take much longer to dry. I cut open flax seed oil capsules to seal our cutting board. Seems to work fine.

I have used walnut oil as a finish on some picture frames. Goes on easy, dries relatively quickly, at least compared to some other oils, and has a pleasant color which ages into another pleasant color after a few years. I THINK it's darker and maybe a bit yellower, but I don't have a sample to look at.

as i said.....it's not food safe until it's dry. once the waxes harden, it locks everything in. besides, i've read the msds and from what i know from researching water additives, drinking municipal tap water is just as dangerous as drinking from a cup treated with boiled linseed oil.

now, i will not discuss this any further and get involved in a mindless debate. you don't want to use it? fine, don't use it. but don't try arguing with me about it and try proving me wrong. i won't have any of it.

kd1uc acoleman31 month ago

From my experience linseed oil never completely dries. It appears dry but ...

From my experience boiled linseed oil is fantastic for tables, chairs- pretty much anything humans contact. However, it does contain Cobalt driers, which may be carcinogenic (it's not well researched, but cobalt compounds have been carcinogenic to animals in toxicity tests). Either way, I would go for the stuff labeled "Raw linseed oil" which doesn't contain the driers and not have any worries.

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
darthbindy1 month ago

If there will be boiling tea in it, is there a possibility it will melt the wax off?

beautiful!

manuka1 year ago
FWIW elm wood, which has an interlocking cross grain that resists cracking, is esteemed for the likes of thin walled fruit & salad bowls. Grain detail is superb, but working ii is like chiseling marble & the wood may be a beggar to hand craft this way.
lr10cent manuka1 month ago

Also, don't try splitting elm to get the right sized chunk of wood. Elm is very resistant to splitting, which I guess is related to its resistance to cracking that you mention. At times, I've had three or four wedges stuck in one modest sized, short log. (Like, two feet long.) That was back when we were still cutting down elms that had succumbed to Dutch Elm disease, so there was enough for fire wood. I wonder how many elms there used to be in the neighborhood I moved to several years ago.

Totally impressed at your creativity. You have made a delightful object and did not use the tools I would think of using. Congratulations!

You can also use wax with mineral oil. Sweet project make sure people, make sure you don't make one for someone who is allergic to nuts or even cedar!

I am not allergic to either, so feel free to send one this way!!!

nice job

beautiful job! I'm also wondering if you'll get some cracks, but...well, time will tell.

BTW, you should be able to do a one-step/last step beeswax & walnut coat by melting the beeswax in a double- boiler and mixing in enough walnut oil to make a thick goo, though it may take longer to dry. The "double boiler" I usually use is an empty tomato can in a saucepan of boiling water that I've taken out to the studio. I've got a hotplate for bigger jobs, but I'm always leery of fire hazards like this.

iaincwil1 month ago

fine job but I think I will use the lathe! I will have a go at making a few of these make nice gifts for crimble time

JoeI21 month ago

I've been making (in my spare time) a guitar. To sand and shape it, I've been using a side grinder with 60 grit metal flap disc wheel from Harbour Freight. Go easy it will take the wood off fast if you aren't careful.

rainbowhoff1 month ago

very cool!

Great project, I will try next winter.

imboox21 month ago

Forstner bits would work great.

AngusSpiers3 months 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
zfollette3 months ago
Wonderful job!
JimT35 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! http://www.gbwoodcraft.com/ourservices.php

KirstieLynn8 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.

http://www.rockler.com/polyethylene-glycol-peg-green-wood-stabilizer
mulrich125 (author)  bpark10001 year 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 .
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