Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Jam jar and scrap wood salt cellars

Hi Everyone,

Well, it's a really warm day here in Minnesota-I would venture to say hot even but neither sleet nor snow nor hot afternoons can keep your's truly out of the shop. Right? Right!

Here's the story behind my latest adventure:

I was sitting on the couch in my living room the other day when I had an absolute flash of genius-what if I rounded up all of the empty jam jars I've been hoarding to use for screws and other stuff and made them into salt cellars? I wouldn't have to turn the bottom of the cellar and I have lots of little scraps of wood which as we know I'm always searching for something to do with them.

So I sprang into action this afternoon and got busy. Here are the photos of this momentous occasion:

Since salt cellars are usually small in size, any small-sized container like a jam jar or even a really nifty can will work perfectly for the box portion of the cellar:

Get any scrap of wood and mark it off. I'm using a really wild grained ash wood scrap here:

And I've taken it over to the drill press and drilled a tenon in one side to use to mount this critter on the lathe:

And then I band sawed the blank into a rough circle. Hmmm...looks like a big wood cookie:

Ahhh, now the fun begins. I mounted the blank on the lathe and trued up the sides and face and then I cut down the edges and created a 2" wide mortise in the center so I can both mount this side on the lathe and then later use it for a small knob on the top of the lid:

I flipped over the lid (I flipped my lid! Woo Hoo!) and turned a lip on the underside that will fit into the jar. This doesn't have to fit snugly, in fact if it's a little loose it's easier to get off the jar with only one hand when you're cooking:

Here it is so far:

I put down the camera and finished turning the lid. I sort of sculpted the top a little and created a small knob in the middle:

Here's a side view:

 And here it is oiled and finished and ready to be filled with sea salt:

I know what you're going to say next-how long did this take? About 45 minutes from beginning to end. 

This makes a nifty present for your favorite cook and hopefully reduces the pile of wood scraps in your shop. As we know mine just keeps growing and growing.

Well it's hot and I need a cool drink and I'm going to check on the cats. They've gotten into my little pile of birch bark for the linden wood box and had a field day with it.

Bon Appetite,



  1. looks great and very nice idea with scraps - I was a bit confused by your write up though. In it you seem to be reversing the concept of a mortice and tenon. The mortice is the female part and the tenon is the male part.

  2. Hi!

    Where did you find that big wood drill? How many inch is that one?



  3. Hello Esa,
    The drill bit in the photograph is a 2 1/4" diameter Forstner bit. I purchased it at a wood working business in the US called Wood Craft. As you are in Finland, I'm sure you can find this type of drill bit in Finland or either in Germany or England.