Picture of Spice Jars on a Wood Lathe
I made these tiny wooden spice jars on the wood lathe at TechShop in Pittsburgh.

These were more or less a project for experimenting and practicing on the lathe, and, as a result, the process of making each jar was slightly different.

We don't have a chuck for the wood lathe yet, which made this project a bit more of a challenge. I worked around the problem with a faceplate, scrap wood, and some wood glue.

I used Forstner bits to hollow out the containers while they were still on the lathe.

I made it at TechShop.
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Step 1: Materials and equipment

Picture of materials and equipment
In the course of this project, I used...

- hardwood blank (the piece i used was two pieces of mahogany glued together - take a look at the picture)
- scrap wood
- wood glue
- screws
- sand paper (100, 150, 220, 400)
- mineral oil

- wood lathe
- face plate
- Forstner bits
- turning chisels
- measuring implement
- f-clamps

Step 2: Preparing blanks for turning

Picture of preparing blanks for turning
How I did it...

1) Rounded entire stock as one piece.
2) Cut stock into 5 pieces of equal length on the articulated miter saw
3) Cut squares of scrap wood, marked centers
4) Glued, centered, and clamped hardwood blanks onto scrap wood squares
5) Waited 24 hours
6) Centered and screwed glued wood onto faceplate

What I should have done and why...

If I were to redo this project, I would have rounded each of my 5 blanks individually. Cutting the stock to length after I had rounded it meant that each cut wasn't entirely square. As a result, my blanks didn't sit square on the scrap wood I glued them to and I had to true them. Basically, I could have conserved more material and made these jars a bit wider.

If I had a chuck...

I could have skipped all of this gluing nonsense.
Klem671 year ago
Nice work. I have turned a few of these myself and use a friction fit. You can make it tight enough that it is pretty close to air tight. Here is the book I used to learn how to do this. He also has a video but the book was a great resource for me. I hope it helps. These are a lot of fun to make.
kleinjahr1 year ago
Nicely done.On end turned boxes,generally, it is a suction or friction fit, wood to wood. I've yet to get that right myself. You could use a properly sized O ring or perhaps a rubber band inset.
JMRaphael1 year ago
Beautiful work! You might achieve an airtight fit using deer hide if you cut a small slit leading perpendicular to the edge of the jar, along the notch. The ends of the deer hide could be inserted in the slit. A small hole drilled at the end of the slit would provide a hole for a peg to friction anchor the deer hide. An example of this process (using sandpaper instead of leather) can be seen at the following instructable: http://www.instructables.com/id/Drum-Sander-for-Pillar-Drill-Drill-Press/ start the video around 3:14
blkhawk2 years ago
WUVIE2 years ago
My husband actually makes these, so I know all the work that went into these. I'm not sure who the recipient will be of these spice jars, but I'm here to say that I absolutely love mine, they are a special treasure that beats anything purchased from a store.

Love the Instructable, love the rounded lids. Great job!
These look great! This is one of those things I imagine fancy kitchens have :D