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Thread: Turned Salt Boxes

  1. #1
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    Turned Salt Boxes

    A nice discussion on turned salt boxes is in the General Woodworking Q&A section here.

  2. #2
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    Let's bring it over here for a bit. The WS ones are finished in oil. What kind would you folks think is appropriate; mineral, danish, etc?
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  3. #3
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    I think so Jim. Lots has been said about food-safe finishes, but here we are fighting the caustic effects of salt. The outside could be anything that looks nice, but, as above, we would have to finish the inside so the salt doesn't react with it.

  4. #4
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    Hmmm, I was going to use a friction polish on the outside. Seems simple enough.

    For the inside, I was just going to leave unfinished. I'll sand it up to 320 to get it nice and smooth.

    Was just headed out to the garage to look for some suitable wood.

    I'm thinking though that I'll probably have to do a glue up...
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  5. #5
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    Making boxes on the lathe is probably my favorite thing to do. When I plan on using them for food, I leave the inside unfinished.

    I use boxes for everything from loose tea and herbs to sugar or vitamins.

    On the outside, I use my favorite finish, or can use your favorite as well.

  6. #6
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    Why this didn't strike me is beyond me Ron.
    I'm still in the skill enhancement phase, and these are perfect for finishing, hollowing, and fabrication skills.
    Those are some really great ideas Ron and I agree with unfinished, but would salt pick-up moisture and warp the unfinished interior of a salt box?

  7. #7
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    I'm starting to get into the box mode. But I can't figure out how to get the smell of the wood out if used for food purposes. My english walnut is very fragrant, one would think salt, tea or herbs will take on the scent. Any ideas on how to neutralize the scent/oder?
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  8. #8
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    I haven't placed salt in a box yet, but I would think it shouldn't be a problem.

    A box with a good fitting lid is air tight so moisture form the outside shouldn't be able to enter.

    Like all boxes, the wood should be dry before finish turning them. Even though there is still some moisture in the wood I'm guessing it shouldn't be a problem. I'm going to have to give this a try.

    Imparting flavors can be a concern. I would never make a box from camphor that will be used with food. Having your food taste like Vick's Vapor Rub would be horrible. I've had success with maple, elm, birch and Russian olive. With bubinga, black walnut, and cherry, I kept the lid off for a month or two and when it passed the sniff test I deemed it usable. The bottom line is you need to pick the right wood. Just because aromatic cedar looks nice doesn't mean you should use it with food.

    I've also used wax on the inside to seal out the wood's smell. Kiwi clear shoe polish at one time contained Montan wax (harder than carnuba). Lately, I stated using "Turtle Wax Platinum Series Paste Wax" which contains both carnuba and montan wax. Once it passes the sniff test I feel comfortable using it with food.

    BTW, I also love to cook.

  9. #9
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    Great hints Ron. I like the idea of a wax interior, and I agree they can be air tight. I'm thinking two set of magnets would really make it close tight.

    I love to cook also, but to keep my shop from getting an inferiority complex, I am buying as many tools for the shop as I have in the kitchen.

  10. #10
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    Paulownia is sometimes used for the cases for moisture sensitive instruments. If I was to turn a salt box I would use Paulownia without a finish.
    Barbara

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