Wooden Mason Jar (carved From a Cherry Log)




About: I got an old sewing machine when I was just a kid, and I've been hooked on making stuff ever since. My name is Sam and I'm a community manager here at Instructables.

This is a 12-inch-tall wooden mason jar carved from a cherry log.

This was made as a gift for my wife. She hates mass-produced, made-overseas home decor stuff, so our house is decorated with all sorts of homemade items like this.

It could be used as a vase, but it will very likely end up on display in a corner somewhere filled with wheat stalks, reeds, knobbly sticks, or some other earthy things she finds out on a trail somewhere.

It took about 10 hours to complete, but was worked on over the course of a few months.

This project requires access to a decent sized band saw, some clamps, and some power carving tools.

I hope you enjoy this, and are inspired to go make something!

Step 1: 360 Degree View

Here's a look all around the finished jar.

I especially like the unique characteristics of the wood on display, such as the multi-toned grain, the angled checks, and that dark swath of bark. Those are the actual highlights of the piece to me.

One perceptive member of our community spotted an owl peaking back through the wood grain in one of these photos. Can you see it?

Step 2: Start With a Decent Log

The log I used for this project was from a 25-year-old cherry tree. When the log was cut several years ago, the ends were properly sealed so it dried without any severe checking.

Using an old mason jar I eyeballed some proportions, and cut a 12 inch section of the log on my band saw. The log was 7 inches in diameter.

Step 3: Break Down Log

The log was broken down on the band saw as shown in the photos. See photo notes for details and dimensions.

I'm using blades made for use on green logs, so they are slightly thicker and fairly aggressive.

Step 4: Glue Up the Pieces

With these pieces cut, I glued them all back together matching up the grain and checks.

Duct tape was wrapped tightly to clamp the two side pieces together, and then clamps were used to glue the top and bottom discs in place.

Step 5: Powever Carving Tools

I bought this Foredom woodcarving kit a couple years ago, and absolutely love it. I also use my small Black & Decker rotary tool finer details. As far as rotary tools go, this pair has been great.

See photo notes for info on the bits I used for the is project. The red and blue ones are Typhoon brand burrs.

Step 6: Rough Out Basic Shape

I began by removing larger amounts of material with a combination of the band saw and a small pull saw (photos of this approach are shared in the next step, as the same process was done two different times.)

Additional material was removed with the large red burr shown in the last step to create the round bottom of the jar, and to begin the taper at the top.

The bottom of a lip was formed using the flat, disc-like rasps shown in the last step.

Step 7: Carve Threads and Finish Lip

The top of the jar was cut down further using the band saw and a small pull saw, and then the threads and lip were carved. See photo notes for details.

Note the neat dimpled texture on the sides of the jar. This was done by quickly running the large flame-shaped burr over the entire jar.

Step 8: Carve Lettering

The design for the lettering was sketched onto the jar, and then the surrounding material was carefully removed with a small carving bit.

The raised areas around the lettering were then carved down to make a smoother transition.

Step 9: Cut Opening in Top

The opening in the top was removed by drilling a tight circle all the way around with a drill (the thickness of the top ring was just a bit too much to be able to do this with a jig saw.)

The rough inside edges were then carved down and smoothed out.

Step 10: Carving Completed

The completed jar got a very gentle sanding with 220 grit sandpaper, just to remove a few sharp edges.

Care was taken to not remove any of the dimpled texture created with the flame-shaped bit earlier on.

Step 11: Finishing

The jar was stained with golden oak colored oil-based stain. I somewhat regretted this decision, as I think leaving it unstained and just giving it a clear coat would have looked better. Oh well, that's what I get for not pretesting on some scrap!

The jar was then coated with about a dozen coats of semi gloss spray lacquer, both inside and out.

To lighten up the letters ever-so-slightly color-wise, I sanded them gently with 220 grit sandpaper. I then rubbed them with my hands until they absorbed a bit of my natural oil, and I called it good.

That's it. All done!

Step 12: Details

Here are a few close up shots of the details. Not perfect by any stretch, but my wife likes it!

Step 13: Parting Thoughts

Thanks for taking a look at my wooden mason jar.

I'd love hear any feedback in the comments below!

Hey, what should I make out of the other half of the log? I'm looking for a completely original, one-of-a-kind idea . . . but inspiration hasn't struck yet. Any thoughts or suggestions are welcome!



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    116 Discussions


    2 years ago

    What a great amazing work of art!!! I really love it because

    I like the jars as well. Thanks for sharing!!!!


    3 years ago

    Wow, that looks amazing. Thanks for sharing


    3 years ago

    OK 4th ible I am in love with. If your marital status changes, I'm just saying. J/K. Love my best half too much but really enjoying your ideas!!


    3 years ago

    this is brilliant, I wish I could work with wood like that!


    4 years ago on Step 11

    Beautiful job! I had expected to see most of the shaping and hollowing done on a lathe. The fact that you did this with hand tools and other carving tools is amazing to me!

    1 reply

    Reply 4 years ago on Step 11

    Thank you! I think that's a common expectation with this . . but since I've got no lathe, I had to figure out a different way :)

    Thank you for your thoughtful comment, I appreciate it!


    4 years ago

    I don't know why I love this project so much but I'm thinking of my mom and two sister in laws that love canning. It's such a simple object but you can tell how much effort it takes. I don't have access to a bigger bandsaw. I'm thinking I can get away with a hole saw and chisel to the bottom. The plus is it'll be seem less. Thank you for the idea. If mine turns out half as good, I'll be thrilled.

    1 reply

    Reply 4 years ago on Introduction

    Hey, glad you liked this!

    Best of luck with yours, I'd love to see how it turns out! (Good or bad, it'll be a great experience I hope!)


    4 years ago on Introduction

    Beautiful! About 20 years ago when I was in Orange Co CA there was an artist that carved menswear from wood, so a pair of dress pants hanging on a hanger, or a tie, or suit jacket, just normal stuff, but carved out of wood. He was a pro artist and your Mason (Wood) jar is just as gorgeous!

    1 reply

    Reply 4 years ago on Introduction

    Thank you very much!

    I love all of YOUR projects . . . so much awesomeness!


    Reply 4 years ago on Introduction

    Holy cow! I just looked at all of your Instructables, and my mouth is stuck hanging open. You're just like, uber cool! Definitely following you!


    4 years ago on Introduction

    As someone who uses the mason jars for "various liquids", this is DEFINITELY something I'm going to try. I don't have anywhere near the talent you showed on here, but it's worth trying to make one!

    2 replies

    Reply 4 years ago on Introduction

    Hey, thank you!

    Let me know how it goes if/when you make one; I'd love to see how it turns out!


    Reply 4 years ago on Introduction

    Most definitely! Dont think it will look as good as yours, but hopefully it's a reasonable facsimile