This glass was made from a block of salt block purchased from the cooking store and turned on the lathe. I had made a bracelet from the block about a month ago but wanted to try something a bit more complex. There were enough pieces left to make a glass...
Step 1: Cutting the Blocks
The salt cut every easily on the band saw. It held together much better than I originally thought it would. I cut a 4" square for the base and a 5" square for the bowl of the glass
Salt Is Corrosive
Fair warning to anyone wanting to try this. IT IS VERY HARD ON THE TOOLS. I spent 3 hours cleaning up all the salt from the shop, and I still got some rust on cast iron surfaces and tools.
Step 2: The Base Section
Turning Salt On The Lathe
I needed to make three pieces. the base, the stem and the bowl. Of the three, the base was the simplest, so I started there.
I drilled a 3/8 hole and mounted it on my bottle stopper mandrel. This is all turned with a small detail gouge. By the end of the first piece, I was COVERED in salt!
With one piece down, I'm pretty sure I can make the other two bits required. On the to bowl section!
Step 3: The Bowl Section
I needed a way to hold the bowl on the lathe to allow me to hollow it out without breaking the salt to bits. I though briefly about holding it in my 4 jaw chuck, but after some trial and error, I ended up hot gluing it to a wooden face plate. I was a little less than sure that it would work.
Once mounted, and held securely, hollowing when pretty fast. Now, the salt is very FRAGILE so you can only go so thin. I got it down to 3/8 of an inch or so before I decided not to go any more...
Step 4: Finally, Some Failure
The Stem was a pain!
Of the three parts this turned out to be the most difficult. Who knew?!
I went through three pieces of salt before successfully making the stem. The material is just so brittle at this thin diameter just couldn't hold together during the shaping process. In the end it was thicker than I imagined, but worked well for the overall look.
Step 5: Sanding & Assembly
Sanding is a bit of a misnomer. A rag with water is enough to dissolve the salt and create a smooth surface. I used sand paper as it just sped up the process. It took about 10 minutes or so to get three gleaming smooth pieces.
I had no idea how to attach the pieces. I tried wetting down the joints thinking it would adhere to itself. I ended up going with epoxy, which worked beautifully.
Completed Salt Glass
All in all it was a success and a good bit of fun.... well, save the cleanup.