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Irritating tree stump -> cool gift idea

On a visit to Colorado, I came across this crystal in a "Rare Things" store. The funny thing about this particular crystal was the name- cavansite. My girlfriend at the time's last name was Cavin, originating from Cavan of Ireland.
Anywho, the name of the crystal comes from it being hydrated Calcium Vanadium Silicate. Ca-Van-Site.
You get the picture.

Well, I thought this would be an awesome gift for her, but it is EXTREMELY fragile. It was displayed on a bed of table salt in the store.
After some thought, I pieced this together when I got home.

I had recently cut a log of ebony from this stump-bush in the back yard that nobody likes. I also had saved some sand from Carmel Beach - some of the finest sand you may ever find, it actually squeaks when you kick it - from a trip to California ages ago.
Along with some plexiglass from the hardware store, access to a woodshop, and a dremel, this all came together.
 
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Step 1: The wood

Picture of The wood
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I don't have a picture of the log this started out as, but it was about 2 feet long, and 10 inches in diameter more or less. I started off by making some rough cuts with the table saw, cutting a section about 6 x 6 x 4 with 3 smooth cut sides and the last (front) rough bark. I then cut the bottom flat and the top at an angle tilting forward.
Most of this was done on a feel, and was not really planned out too much.

The outlined score in the center of the top is where I would carve a basin to put the sand bed and crystal. The to scores along to back and left side were to mark where I wanted to trim more off later.

Step 2: The basin

Picture of The basin
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I used a drill to hollow out the basin by just drilling repeated holes to a depth that felt right.
The first attempt at this was drilling from the fornt and back to get that chunk out, then I went on to perfecting the bowl.

Leaving a ledge for a cover, I drilled out what looked like a decent cavity, then sanded it out with a sanding bit for the dremel.

Step 3: The cover plate

Picture of The cover plate
I wanted to cut a piece of glass for this, but lexan was just as clear (though not as resilient) and easier to work with.
To get the shape right, I laid a piece of paper over the top of the wood block, and traced the opening with a pencil.

I cut the general outline out of lexan (plexiglass) with a cut-off wheel on the dremel. After laying it on the basin's ledge to make sure it fit, I made a few adjustments to make it fit better, and then sanded down the edges.

Step 4: Finishing touches

After sanding the basin smooth and fitting the lexan, I went back to the shop and cut the sides again as I wanted. I also sanded the sides, top, and bottom one last time.

Step 5: Assembly

Picture of assembly
I considered using the sawdust from the cutting as the bed since it was so soft, but the sand offered a better contrast to both the blue and the wood tone. The saw dust, of course, blended right in with the wood.

I also carved a little personal note into the side and stained the letters to show up. I did not stain any of the rest of the wood, because I wanted a real natural look with some slight modernization cut into it.

There is also a chunk missing near the ledge to provide a way to pick up the lexan.


This was mostly a personalized gift because of the name and all, but would work great for anyone I imagine. You can put whatever you want in it; I think uncut, natural looking gems and crystals and such would go best with the whole "nature theme" of it.
this is quite pretty. cheers!
Super cool and beautiful! Great instructions too.
LinuxH4x0r7 years ago
Nice! Very professional looking. Can you post some better pics (try macro)
DeLorean4905 (author)  LinuxH4x0r7 years ago
Well these were the best I took, and my ex actually has this thing now... lol I really wish I had taken some shots of the log, and during the process of cutting and such. Although this thing kinda got away from me at one point- the jointer threw it across the room. ...after it bounced off my forearm. I still have the scar. haha
Damn exes!