Mortar & Pestle From Solid Surface
Mortars are becoming increasingly popular tools for the kitchen. At $30-60 a piece, when my son suggested that it would make a worthwhile turning project I became interested. Of special interest is the materials that the Mortar & the head of the Pestle is made from… solid surface.
I have been wanting to try turning some solid surface material ever since I made a pen from it. In this project I found that a “skewy gouge” type of tool works best. Solid surface, like most hard plastics like to be scraped rather than cut. Tradition gouges can be hard to control. Scrapping and sheer cuts will remove allot of material as well as leave a smooth surface. The tool used is made from a 1/2″ round piece of water hardened steel, ground by laying it on the grinder face until it is hollow ground. Then grind the bevel like a gouge. Lastly harden and temper it using shop blacksmith techniques. The bevel is not important on this tool as it operates as a scraper. The linked videos show the tool technique better than I can explain it.
PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE —WEAR GOOD EYE AND FACE PROTECTION! Not just your glasses!
I can promise you that the shavings and chips from turning solid surface materials hurts, getting it in your eyes can result in serious eye injury.
The mortar is made from laminating multiple pieces (6) of 4x4x 1/2 inch scrap counter top material.
Solid surface can be glued using corning glue or simple CA. First prepare the surface by sanding it flat. I use a piece of adhesive backed sandpaper stuck on a pieced of solid surface. Scribble with a pencil on the surface , then sand both sides of each piece by hand by rubbing it on this flat surface. Check to see that the sanding removes the pencil marks evenly across its face.
After glue-up in a clamp, I mount the square blank in a large chuck and turn it as shown below.
The Pestle is made of two sections. The nose is made from 4 pieces of 2x2x1/2″ sections laminated together using the same gluing techniques as the Mortar. The nose is turned with a 1/2″ tenon.
The handle is made from a 1x1x5″ Cocobolo blank. One end has a 1/2″ mortise drilled in it to accept the nose.
Glue the nose to the handle with CA and then mount it between centers for turning.
Videos of the project can be viewed at the turnedoutright video channel:
Project Story Board
Mouse over the photo to read its caption!
If you are using SketchUp for woodturning visit the Modeling site where you can get free plug-ins, like the “automatic cut list” generator.