Monday 9 July 2018
The finished pestle and mortar
HOW TO MAKE THE MORTAR: Cut a 150mm (6in) x 75mm (3in) blank on your saw. Belt sand the blank, keeping it square on all six sides
Attach a scrap board to a faceplate ring and mount on the lathe
Accurately centre your blank on the top face
Cover the back with double-sided tape. Rub it well to well to ensure adhesion
Remove the backing from the tape and mount onto the faceplate using the centre to accurately place the piece. Apply pressure to make it stick
Mark the position of the bowl 19mm (3/4in) from the edge
Drill the bowl to depth. I used a 10mm (3/8in) spindle gouge
Turn out the centre of the bowl. When you no longer have a hole in the centre, you are at final depth
Round over the top corner with a small bowl gouge and once finished with the gouge…
…Shear scrape the inside to create a fine surface finish
Hand or power sand to create as smooth a surface as possible
Sand the top face with a sanding block in the direction of the grain
Apply a finish of your choice. I applied a coat of vegetable oil and allowed it to soak in
Apply a second coat and remove any excess with a paper towel
Turn on the lathe at its slowest speed and sand with oil inside the bowl. This will force oil deep into the grain of the wood and act as a lubricant and grain filler. The wood may darken a little
Carefully and gently remove the piece from the faceplate. Try each corner separately while holding the piece with the other hand
After cleaning off the tape, sand the sides and round over the corners to make the piece hand friendly
Apply a coat of oil and allow it to soak in. Repeat this step and then wipe dry
HOW TO MAKE THE PESTLE: Centre your blank and rough to round with a spindle roughing gouge
Start to shape the handle
Shape the bottom with a 10mm (3/8in) spindle gouge. Leave room to part through
Fine tune the main shape with a round skew chisel or spindle gouge
Shape the top of the handle, again leaving room to part through
Part in at the top and bottom with a 1.5mm (1/16in) parting tool to define the final length
Reduce the lathe speed then sand and oil. Remember to sand with the grain
With the handle complete, cut through the top and bottom with a fine tooth saw
Hand finish the top and bottom and apply a coat of your chosen finish as before
This pestle and mortar was requested by the kitchen commander – my wife Jane!
I did not want to make another round-bottomed bowl so this gave me a problem; how do I make a turned product that is not completely round?
The solution was to leave part of it square. An added bonus was that it would be more stable in the kitchen.
I kept the design simple as too much decoration provides an ideal home for germs and debris. I would also recommend using a tight-grained timber to avoid dirt traps such as sycamore
(Acer), fruitwood, maple (Acer campestre) and beech (Fagus).
For the finish, I used vegetable oil as it is durable, it is readily available, and can be easily re-finished when it becomes grubby.
For this project, I chose to use English sycamore
(Acer). For the mortar, the timber size was 150mm (6in) x 150mm (6in) x 75mm (3in). For the pestle, I used a piece of timber 150mm (6in) x 25mm (1in).
“To leave part of it square… it would be more stable”
PHOTOGRAPHS BY JANE ARNULL
Health And Safety
– Protect your eyes and lungs at all times, and work at a speed that you feel comfortable and safe
– Always reduce lathe rotation speed when using wood that is not round and alternative chucking methods that you are not familiar with
– Keep the tool rest between you and the work. Never let your fingers cross over to the other side
Click an image to enlarge