Power Carving a Salt Cellar From a Branch

Check out how Michael made this quick and easy project from a slice of a tree branch! This salt cellar utilizes some simple, light duty, power carving techniques and can be completed easily in one sitting. This same technique can be used to create vessels of all sizes in shops where you don’t have access to a lathe.

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Step 1

I started by taking a piece of branch that was about three inches long, and I found the Forstner bit that was the closest to the outside diameter while still leaving me with a little bit of a ridge. I drilled out a bit of material, and then I gradually decreased the size of the bit to create a series of steps on the inside of the piece. 

Step 2

Then I used my flex shaft with a rasp on it to carve down the ridges of the steps and create a bowl shape. I filled the cracks with a little bit of CA glue and sprayed it with activator. I then sanded off the extra. 

Step 3

I switched to a flap sander and finished hollowing out the inside, and then I used a piece of sandpaper to finish the sanding process. I noticed that some of the bark was starting to lift off, so I applied some CA glue there as well, used activator, and repeated this process until the gap was filled. I then removed the extra CA glue from the surface of the piece with the rasp again.

Step 4

After I had a shape that I liked, I took a small piece of scrap wood and drew the rough shape of the spoon. I brought the piece over to the belt sander and rounded off the edges, and then I used a flap wheel to finish shaping it. Once I had a look that I was happy with, I applied a generous coat of mineral oil to both the salt cellar and the spoon. 

Step 5

Once that was dry, I came back and applied a nice, healthy coating of beeswax butcher block conditioner. I let it sit for about 20 minutes, and then I buffed off the excess by hand.

The Final Result

This was a pretty fun build. I created a small vessel using minimal tools, no lathe, and we got into a little bit of basic power carving, too!

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