Picture of Salt Cellar with a pivoting magnetized lid.
This is a salt cellar that pivots open and closed with a metal pin and holds its-self closed with the use of a couple rare earth magnets.
Its made from Ash, and finished with a 3 stage buff and a food safe wax. It pivots at one point with a metal pin and stays closed using 2 rare earth magnets.

This wood was harvested from a local tree that fell down a few years ago at a school next door. Tree cutter guys are awesome when you show up with some frosty beverages for them. They cut a few nice blocks for me.

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Step 1: Grab your wood and mount it to the lathe.

Picture of Grab your wood and mount it to the lathe.
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Find a block of wood for your salt cellar.
Whatever size you want to make is up to you. Keep your counter space or cooking area in mind.
Mine is going to someone who cooks a lot and has a large kitchen with lots of counter space and an island. I didn't even measure it until I finished it, but the finished dimensions are  6 1/2" diameter by 2 1/2" tall from top to bottom.

When you are choosing your block add at least 1" to what you want your finished product to be. You have to form a tenon for the chuck to grip to the bottom of the cellar as well as allow for the parting tool thickness to part the top from the bottom.

After you have chosen your block of wood mark centers on the top and bottom by using a ruler from corner to corner. This does not have to be perfect. just get it as close as you can. I don't think the block I had, had any square edges on it at all.

After you mark the centers, you can cut the corners with a miter saw it you want or you can use your band saw or even a hand saw. Cutting the corners will make it a little easier to turn in the beginning.
I first mounted it to the lathe using a Spur center and the live center in the tail-stock. Use a hammer place the drive spur in the center of the bottom of the cellar until the teeth are about 1/8" deep into block.
After you have it mounted sharpen your gouge, crank up the radio and get ready to have some fun!

Step 2: Rough turn it and flatten the top and bottom

Picture of Rough turn it and flatten the top and bottom
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Remember to start out slow. My block of wood was so badly out of round that the lowest speed setting was still to fast at first...
I started with the gouge roughing the outside to get it  round and take away some of the vibration. As you go, you may be able to up the speed a little at a time.
Then using a parting tool I "trued up" (flattened) the top and bottom. Then using the parting tool and the skew I formed a tenon for the chuck. The tenon size depends on your chuck. I also made several trips to the sharpener during the rough turning of this piece, this wood was very dry and hard.

Step 3: Finish turn and sand the outside and top of the cellar

Picture of Finish turn and sand the outside and top of the cellar
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After it is mounted to your chuck it is time to finish turn the outside and the clean up the top of the cellar. I used a skew to finish turn the outside to the finished dimension. Then using a round nose scraper I smoothed the top of the cellar.

You need to mark a line on the side of the cellar to separate the lid from the bottom. I marked about a third of the finished height  for the lid. After you have a nice visible line you can begin the parting of the lid from the base.
I only went about 1/2" deep to begin with. Remember to make a "relief cut" as you use your parting tool. A "relief cut" just makes the parting groove 1/16" wider than the parting tool. This helps with the dust flow, binding of the tool as well as heat buildup.
After you have a good defined separation of the lid from the the bottom of the cellar you can finish sand the top as well as the outside.

Step 4: Cut the lid of the salt cellar

Picture of Cut the lid of the salt cellar
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Its time to fully separate the lid from the bottom. This can be done a couple different ways. You could use a band saw. You could continue using the parting tool. I reversed my lathe and used a small trim saw.  This works great if you have a lathe with reverse...

Step 5: Rough out the inside of the bottom and finish sand

Picture of Rough out the inside of the bottom and finish sand
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Rough out the inside using a bowl gouge and once you get it close switch over to a round nose scraper and a straight scraper for the bottom and sides of the bottom of the cellar. The inside doesn't need to be perfect as it will be filled with salt most all the time and no one will see it except you and the person you are giving it to (unless it's for you) :)

Step 6: Finish cut the bottom and the underside of the lid

Now its time to take the bottom of the salt cellar off the lathe and remove the tenon as well as smooth  the underside of the lid. This requires a set of Jumbo Jaws for your chuck. I have a Nova chuck and Nova Cole Jaws. There are several great instructions on a shop made set of these, do some searching for "Shop made Cole Jaws".

Once you have your Jumbo Jaws installed mount the lid to the chuck with the unfinished side facing out.
I used my round nose scraper again to finish smooth the underside and then finish sanded all the way to 400 grit.

Next mount the bottom of the cellar to the chuck with the tenon facing out.
I used the scraper to smooth the bottom. one thing to remember here is "This needs to be a nice flat cut. I find it easier to remove a little more material from the center of the bottom and leave a rim that is nice and flat. Once you have it smooth, finish sand the bottom all the way thru 400 grit. a good way to tell how flat it is, is by using a straightedge or a ruler. Lay the edge of the ruler against the bottom of the base and see what is sticking out  and what is not, by looking at the gap. I used my steady rest in the last pic in this step to show how I made the bottom slightly concave and left a rim around the outside edge. unfortunately the camera doesnt show it that well so you will have to take my word for it. :)

Step 7: Time to buff it.

Picture of Time to buff it.
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You do not have to buff this, you can finish the outside however you want but whatever you use on the inside needs to be food safe, or left unfinished.

I use the three stage buffing method
First the "Tripoli" wheel
Second is the "White Diamond" wheel
Third is the "Carnauba wax" wheel
This is the finishing step so, go slow and take your time. Do a thorough job with all three step, buffing the grain in all directions.

The last thing I did is add a food safe finish. I have found this finish to work well.
Just wipe on and wipe off! It leaves it protected from moisture and gives it a nice warm glow to the grain of the wood.

Step 8: Finish the cellar by attaching the lid

The lid is attached by a metal pin at one point that allows the lid to turn open and closed. I also incorporate the use of rare earth magnets to keep a tight lid on it.

The first thing you need to do is find a metal pin. I used a bolt. I cut the head and the non threaded portion off using a hack saw. Then I used a file and sandpaper to clean up the edges.
Then find a drill bit the same size (snug but not to tight). Be sure and use a scrap block of wood to drill a test hole and see how it fits the pin. (remember not to tight but not to loose either)
Using my drill press I drilled a hole in the top of cellars edge. Dont drill though, just go deep enough to take about two thirds of the pin, leaving a third of the pin exposed.

This is a little tricky, but the next thing you do is mark the spot for the bottom of the lid. Remember to line up your grain as you do this. the best way I have found to do this is to remove the pin completely and line up the grain. Then use painters tape kind of give it a holding point while you replace the pin in the hole and use a marker mark it up good. and quickly replace the top to the correct position and press into the pin. This should give you a decent enough visual as to where to drill.
After you have your mark on the lid, using the drill press, drill about half way through the lid on your mark. then replace the lid and see how it fits. the pin should not stop it from closing completely. It should be gap free. so If you need to drill the hole deeper, do it on the base of the cellar rather than the lid.

Once you are comfortable with the way the lid fits you can now glue it to the lid and  drill the holes on the opposing side (180 degrees) of the pin holes for the rare earth magnets.
Start with the bottom of the cellar and remember to not drill too deep yet (we want a tiny bit of the magnet sticking up a little higher).
once the magnet is in place on the bottom piece of the cellar using your marker color the top of it and again quickly close the salt cellar and press down to make a corresponding mark on the bottom of the lid. after you have your mark you can now drill it deep enough to fit the magnets flush.
Glue them in place and let the glue set before closing the box.

Step 9: One more coat of wax to complete it.

Picture of One more coat of wax to complete it.
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I coated it once more with the food safe finish and hand buffed it to completion. It turned out nice.

I hope the cheff likes it!

Thanks for looking!
i like the magnets idea and agree with ctx1985 about your woodworking, you're good!
SlickSqueegie (author)  Dreamchronic1 year ago
Thank you DreamchronicLabs. These comments make my head swell and my cheeks red. lol
ctx19852 years ago
Looks amazing! You have some serious woodworking skill! Just out of curiosity, is carpentry your career?
SlickSqueegie (author)  ctx19852 years ago
Thank you very much. No, I'm no carpenter. Though, I can do that stuff.
I'm a commercial/residential window cleaner.
You should become a carpenter by trade! You could make millions with that talent!
SlickSqueegie (author)  ctx19852 years ago
yeah, but then it becomes a job. I don't want to go to the shop and "work" This is my hobby. I appreciate the compliment though...
Yeah I know what you mean. Well it's definitely a good hobby!
kewrw282 years ago
This is one of the coolest things I've ever seen! Just a side thought...maybe a false bottom inside?? Just a thought. Thanks for sharing.
SlickSqueegie (author)  kewrw282 years ago
Thanks, Cool Idea! I may have to incorporate that!
SlickSqueegie (author) 2 years ago
you could also use a transfer punch, or you could grind a point on the pivot pin and do the same thing. The marker worked fine and It was quite simple once you get the grain lined up properly. Thanks for the tip. :)
SlickSqueegie (author) 2 years ago
then keep following me. I'm currently editing my first turning video. Very crude, but I have little to none experience with video making/editing. so Its going to be a long road... I hope to post it soon.
Treknology2 years ago
I like the finished product but, being technically minded, the heading and the first photo led me to believe that the lid was only attached by magnets.

I should further extend congrats on the effort you expended to match the grain of the lid and bowl as closely as you did.
SlickSqueegie (author)  Treknology2 years ago
Thank you, It is a lot tougher than I though it was going to be lining it up as good as I got it. Thanks for noticing. and you are right about the heading, I re-wrote it.
SlickSqueegie (author) 2 years ago
Thank you Semma101. I think typing these Instructables out takes more time than making the projects.
spiny2 years ago
outstanding work !
SlickSqueegie (author)  spiny2 years ago
Thank you Spiny.
Gorgeous :). Thank you for sharing.
SlickSqueegie (author)  Tarun Upadhyaya2 years ago
Thank you, and it was all my pleasure! Thanks for the kind comments!
kishank22 years ago
nice wood work project :)
SlickSqueegie (author)  kishank22 years ago
Thanks a lot! I appreciate these compliments very much!
sunshiine2 years ago
I love this! Thanks for sharing and do have a splendorous day!
SlickSqueegie (author)  sunshiine2 years ago
Sharing this was my pleasure. Thanks for looking!
rimar20002 years ago
SlickSqueegie (author)  rimar20002 years ago
Thank you Rimar.
gb44772 years ago
SlickSqueegie (author)  gb44772 years ago
Gorgeous! I shopped around for one of these for several months, couldn't find one that wasn't too small, and/or less than the $40 range.

Great work!
SlickSqueegie (author)  bobcatsteph32 years ago
Thank you very much.. wow I cant believe they are that expensive!
bajablue2 years ago
Another gorgeous woodworking work of art!!!
SlickSqueegie (author)  bajablue2 years ago
You are very kind blue. Thanks for the great compliment.
Spydamonky2 years ago
Beautiful, I think I will make one!
SlickSqueegie (author)  Spydamonky2 years ago
Have at it! It is practical and a fun project.
RushFan2 years ago
Love it. Very well done.