Weekend Projects – Kitchen Storage Tubes

Monday 9 July 2018

I feel sure we all have cupboards full of dried food packets; I know this is a problem often encountered in kitchens today. The packaging is often flimsy and spillages can occur as the resealable tapes often lose their stick.

I have designed a series of food containers that can be varied in height and diameter to cope with the various products in your store cupboard. I have kept the design simple and used acrylic tubes for the inside of the containers to provide a food safe environment for the dried foods to be stored in. I have used English beech (Fagus sylvatica) for the wooden components and lids. The seals are made using simple non-toxic rubber 'O' rings which are easily available; they are set into a small groove in the lid/bung.

The timber could, if you choose, be decorated with the names of the products stored using a pyrography machine or even carved into the surface using carving gouges, but the choice is up to you.


The method described here explains the process for making the 100mm dried food container. The process is the same for the different sizes. See drawings for variations. Begin by cutting the acrylic storage tubes to length as per the drawings. Using a fine-toothed blade on your bandsaw – 6tpi – reduce the speed to the slowest setting. Wrap the tube with masking tape to help reduce the risk of chipping at the edge

Turning the base


Centre and mount your blank to a faceplate using the tailstock to centre the blank and double-sided carpet tape. True the base and create a 50mm dovetail recess to fit onto your chuck


Next, you need to reverse chuck the blank and true the edge and face using a 10mm spindle gouge


Create a 7mm long spigot using a 6mm parting tool to fit snugly inside the acrylic tube


Radius the corner to soften the edge of the base using a 10mm spindle gouge then shear scrape the surface with a 10mm round skew chisel


Sand through all the grades of abrasive to a good finish. Apply a food safe oil then burnish the surface to remove the excess oil


Reverse chuck the base and hold the spigot in large jaws to remove the chucking method. Dish the base with a 10mm spindle gouge. Sand and finish the base


Mount your blank between centres and make round using a 32mm spindle roughing gouge, then create a 50mm spigot to fit into your chuck


Accurately mark the internal diameter of the acrylic tube on the end/edge of the blank – I did this with a pair of dividers


Plunge into the wood inside the previously marked line using a 3mm parting tool; this will set the diameter of the opening


Using a spindle gouge, drill a hole into the end grain. Alternatively, this can be completed using a drill bit mounted into a Jacobs chuck held in the tailstock


True the outside to a diameter of 115mm – this needs to be parallel


Soften the top edge using a 10mm spindle gouge and refine the surface with a 10mm round skew chisel


Next, you need to remove the waste timber from the centre of the blank using a 10mm long-grind bowl gouge working from the centre out; this will allow the timber to be removed easily


Refine the inside wall with a 20mm square-ended box scraper to allow the acrylic tube to fit snugly inside the tube. At this stage, take care to produce a good cut from the tool as the wall is beginning to become thin


You can now sand, seal and finish the wooden tube


Using a soft pencil, mark 60mm from the top along the side of the tube then part through at this point using a 1.5mm parting tool. Lightly hold the piece as the tube parts from the waste wood

Turning the top ring


Repeat the previous stages but this time add a shoulder using the square-ended box scraper. Turn a recess the same diameter as the tube; this needs to be 7mm deep; this ledge will stop the tube sliding through the wooden ring. Sand and finish as before, then measure 25mm along the side and part from the waste timber


Remount the ring onto the chuck using the recess previously turned as the chucking method. Do not over-tighten the chuck jaws as it will crack the wooden ring. Now soften the inside top, as this will become the opening of the container

Turning the top/lid


Mount your blank onto a wooden faceplate using double-sided carpet tape then turn a spigot 15mm long; this will need to fit loosely inside the wooden ring at the top of the tube. Next, using a small round-nosed scraper, create a groove which will later be fitted with a non-toxic 'O' ring, to create the seal for the container. Fit the 'O' ring and check the fit inside the top ring as you need to get it just right – it needs to fit but not be too tight


You now need to dish the centre using a 10mm long-grind bowl gouge, then sand and finish


You can now remove the blank from the lathe and remount in the chuck using the spigot that was previously turned. Next, you need to soften the top edge of the piece to match the detail on the base of the jar. You can now sand and finish


Assemble the jar using silicone adhesive to join the components together, then allow to dry


The completed kitchen storage tube should look like this. You can now turn the remaining tubes