Re-purposing Wood or What To Do When You Simply HAVE To Cut Something

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Blog entry by Mark Wilson posted 09-23-2015 01:56 AM 1756 reads 0 times favorited 11 comments Add to Favorites Watch

About a year ago, at least, I cut a Black Walnut board in two, turned one side 90 degrees and glued them together, so I’d have a nice thick piece to work with. I drilled a bunch of holes in it, cut it into a triangle, profiled the edges, and stuck it back in the box from whence it came, because I didn’t feel like making the pegs. (Short aside: After I finished this thing, I was walking in the house carrying it, talking to my Really Big Thithter in Montana on the phone. She asked what I was doing. So I tild her what I had in my hand. Told her pretty much what I just told you. She says, “You coulda used golf tees for pegs.” I said, “Now you tell me.”)

Inspired by Joe in GA, I looked around for a board-like piece of wood from which to turn something. This came out of the box. I poked a hole for the wormscrew drive, and immediately plugged said hole with a piece of Oak dowel. Then, I figured out how to find the center of a triangle. As it turns out, I didn’t need to plug the hole. I did so before I found the center.

I mounted it and turned an inny-outy.

I rotated it and began dishing it out.

I had forgotten that this was two pieces glued together until, in the dishing, the wood suddenly got a lot darker.

I tried to keep the indentation within the bounds of the triangle. But, alas and alack, it was just a hair off-center, and one side broke through. This is when it became, admittedly – for the first time ever – an ashtray.

What to do with all those holes? Lacking anything fancy, like silver or turquoise, I filled them with pulverized quartz.

Ground it flush.

Polished it up.

Took a couple of pictures, unfinished.

Wondered, for a minute, what to do about finishing it (it is an ashtray).

Walnut has an obnoxious habit of being difficult to polish. Where the grain turns on itself, the cloudiness just doesn’t want to go away. The more I sand and polish, the more evident the cloud becomes. So what? It’s and ashtray.

That doesn’t mean it can’t be pretty.

I reached for something I rarely use, and the clouds cleared up.

I know. I could have spent the day writing a symphony. But, this is what I did.

-- Mark

11 comments so far

View lew's profile


12938 posts in 4363 days

#1 posted 09-23-2015 02:38 AM


I work with walnut a lot. I’ll remember this tip!!

-- Lew- Time traveler. Purveyor of the Universe's finest custom rolling pins.

View DocSavage45's profile


8882 posts in 3450 days

#2 posted 09-23-2015 02:59 AM


I’d like to hear your symphony. :<)


You can cut some walnut on the saw to the dimensions of a peg. Then drill holes in a thick piece of metal to the dimensions for your pegs. round one end cut to length and pound the square piece through the round hole.

That is when you run out of golf tees?

-- Cau Haus Designs, Thomas J. Tieffenbacher

View BobWemm's profile


2746 posts in 2534 days

#3 posted 09-23-2015 03:10 AM

That is definitely different Mark.
Looks real good.


-- Bob, Western Australia, The Sun came up this morning, what a great start to the day. Now it's up to me to make it even better. I've cut this piece of wood 4 times and it's still too damn short.

View JoeinGa's profile


7741 posts in 2615 days

#4 posted 09-23-2015 07:41 PM

One man’s trash is another man’s ashtray ! :-)

-- Perform A Random Act Of Kindness Today ... Pay It Forward

View Mark Wilson's profile

Mark Wilson

2696 posts in 1671 days

#5 posted 09-23-2015 07:52 PM

Well said, Joe. Well said.

-- Mark

View Ocelot's profile


2375 posts in 3246 days

#6 posted 09-23-2015 09:52 PM

What do you do with an ashtray these days? Does anybody still smoke?

It’s a pretty thing anyway.


View doubleDD's profile


8972 posts in 2651 days

#7 posted 09-24-2015 02:01 AM

MMMMM, very different. The main thing is it turned out nice, looks cool and it has a name.

-- Dave, Downers Grove, Il. -------- When you run out of ideas, start building your dreams.

View Mark Wilson's profile

Mark Wilson

2696 posts in 1671 days

#8 posted 09-24-2015 09:30 AM

Yes, Paul, I do. I won’t use this, though. I have plenty of non-flammable places to put out my smokes.
Tom, I didn’t write it. I was busy making an ashtray.
Dave, thanks. It means a lot to me.

-- Mark

View handsawgeek's profile


663 posts in 2003 days

#9 posted 09-24-2015 01:17 PM

We ponder. We re-think. We tinker. We fiddle . We re-tweek. We make cool stuff.
Nice ash tray!

-- Ed

View Ocelot's profile


2375 posts in 3246 days

#10 posted 09-24-2015 03:01 PM

Ah well, you could put it on your desk and keep paperclips in it. I’m sure people would be fingering it and thinking about picking it up and fondling it – stopped only by the consideration of spilling all the paperclips.

It looks like something that needs to be touched.

It looks like it would match the woodwork in an old county courthouse, the kind with chatty clerks and creaky wood floors. I could visualize it sitting on the counter in the tax-assessor’s office, filled with paper-clips. Yeah. That’s it.


View Mark Wilson's profile

Mark Wilson

2696 posts in 1671 days

#11 posted 09-25-2015 01:33 AM

Bingo, Paul. It’s not an ashtray, is it? You know any judges who’d like a cool looking gavel holder? Maybe I should make a gavel?

-- Mark

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