Wednesday 11 July 2018
The finished salt pig and spoon
Mount a 3 inch square by 6 inches long blank between centres and turn down to a cylinder. Turn a spigot of both ends and then mount the blank in your chuck. Measure 1in from the tailstock end and part off completely. This piece will become the ring
Turn another spigot and part off another slice about 1/2 in long. This will become the base of the salt pig
With a 3/8 spindle gouge begin to shape the outside, but leave enough wood near the chuck to enable hollow out to take place. Here I am using a 3/8 spindle gouge to bore a hole down the inside of the piece. If you do not wish to use this method a Jacobs chuck in the tailstock with a suitable drill bit will do the same job. Remember, whichever method you use it is important to keep removing the tool or bit from the hole to release the shavings else they might bind
Having drilled the hole to the correct depth, use a spindle gouge to hollow out. Start with the flute pointing towards 11 o-clock and the tip of the tool in the hole. Swing the handle away from you in an arc. The shaving should come off the tool near the bottom of the left hand wing
Continue hollowing in this way until you have an even wall thickness of about 1/4 in. A round nosed scraper can be used to clean up the inside. Keep the handle slightly higher than the cutting edge and take gentle cuts
Use a parting tool or a skew chisel on its side to cut a small step in the base
When sanding the inside hold the abrasive as shown and only insert one finger. I did not seal or polish the inside
Remove the piece from the lathe and mount in a drill vice on the pillar drill. If you do not have a vice, make up a V block to support the piece. Using a 2 in Forstner bit on slow speed, drill a hole through the side of the piece
THE BASE: Mount the base in your chuck and clean up the face with a spindle gouge. Measure the diameter of the step in the bottom of the body of the salt pig and transfer this diameter to the base
Turn a slight taper on the edge of the base with the narrowest part of the taper finishing at the diameter you have just marked
Offer up the body and press it gently onto the taper. It should leave a slight burnish mark on the taper. I pushed harder than necessary, leaving a scorch mark so that it showed up better for the camera!
Now turn off the taper down to the burnish mark, ensuring the side is parallel. You should now have a perfect fit of the base into the body
For an effective hold on the piece, I used superglue to stick the base to the body and, when dry, turned the rest of the outside with a 3/8 in spindle gouge
Sand the outside, but remember there is a large hole in it, so keep your fingers flat or, preferably, back the abrasive with a cork block or a thick piece of stiff foam. I used melamine lacquer under a wax finish for the outside
THE RING: Use a narrow parting tool to part off completely, remembering to slightly concave the base so it sits flat
Mount the ring blank in the chuck and turn the first inch down to 2 in diameter – the diameter of the Forstner bit
Once this is done, you'll be able to turn a bead on the remainder
Continue the bead all the way round to the front and then open out the front into a funnel or trumpet shape. Bore a hole right the way through the piece and open up the funnel leaving the wall thickness around 1/8 inch
Sand and finish in the same way as the body
Use a narrow parting tool to part off. The photo shows my left arm close to the revolving chuck. My arm is resting on the headstock for stability and I am not as close as the photo appears and I am very aware of the chuck. You can, of course avoid this situation by parting off left handed and catching the piece with your right hand. Glue the tenon into the hole in the side of the body. You will find that it sits in the hole better if you sand two smallflats on the body at the top and bottom of
THE SPOON: Mount a piece 1 inch square by 6 inches long between centres and turn this down to a cylinder
Turn a ball at the tailstock end, using a 3/8 spindle gouge. Try to make this as spherical as possible
Using both the 3/8 spindle gouge and a skew chisel and working back from the ball, turn the handle of the spoon
Sand, but do not apply a finish and then part off by using a slicing cut with the skew chisel
This photo shows three home made wooden collet chucks. Basically, they are turned cylinders, hollowed out and have eight saw cuts down their length. A spigot at the bottom allows them to be held in my scroll chuck and a jubilee clip around its waist closes the collet
This shows the collet chuck in use, clamping the sphere of the spoon in place. Adjust the tool rest and revolve the workpiece by hand before switching on
Taking gentle cuts, hollow out the bowl of the spoon with a small spindle gouge. Remember the handle is flying round, but if you keep all parts of your hand behind the toolrest, you will avoid getting your knuckles or fingers rapped!
This is an interesting project that requires a fair degree of accuracy in order to ensure the separate parts fit together well and it also introduces turning on two centres using a very simple home made wooden chuck. When I was asked to make this project I wondered why this item of culinary treen was given the name salt pig. Some people say that the opening on the side resembles the snout of a pig and that is where the name came from. However an old Scottish definition of “pig” is a jar or pot made of earthenware.
I used sycamore for this project, but almost any wood will do. The ring on the side is quite delicate, so care must be taken when turning this piece and perhaps closer grained timber would be preferable. You could even use contrasting timber for this piece.
“You could even use contrasting timber for this piece”
Piece in situ, being used (PHOTOGRAPHS BY COLIN SIMPSON)