Elm, walnut & sassafras butter dish

  • Advertise with us
Project by Dave Polaschek posted 05-11-2017 11:43 PM 2018 views 0 times favorited 4 comments Add to Favorites Watch

While making my shop stool I cut off a couple corners. Those pieces had some real nice patterns to the spalting and grain, and I decided that one of them would make a nice butter dish.

I started by hollowing it out with a router plane. Then smoothed things out a little. I had some tear-out due to the punky wood, so I soaked it in food-grade linseed oil and set it aside to cure.

Meanwhile, I worked on the top. I had a piece of walnut and a piece of sassafras handy, so I glued them together, planed the resulting piece square, then went after it with the router plane to make a hollow. It looked too blocky, so I took a spokeshave to the top to round the corners off until the shape looked a little better.

I also used a beading tool to make a small bead where the walnut and sassafras joined to hide the imperfections in the seam. I think it worked pretty well.

To make the inside of the butter dish food-safe, I figured some food-grade epoxy would do the trick. But that won’t stick to oiled wood, so I started shellacking with a one-pound cut. The elm was pretty thirsty and I put on six or seven coats before it started to not soak up the shellac immediately. I put on a 1/16” thick coat of epoxy, and it soaked right into the wood. Let it cure for a couple days, then roughed it up with 120 grit and hit it again. The second coat made a nice glossy inside surface.

For the outside, I used violin varnish over the shellac, applied with a bit of t-shirt inside a piece of cheesecloth. One coat, sand with 800 grit. Second coat, sand with 1200 grit. Third coat and done.

-- Dave - Santa Fe

4 comments so far

View Jim Jakosh's profile

Jim Jakosh

27250 posts in 4441 days

#1 posted 05-12-2017 12:01 AM

Real nice dish!!


-- Jim Jakosh.....Practical Wood Products...........Learn something new every day!! Variety is the Spice of Life!!

View Dave Polaschek's profile

Dave Polaschek

9335 posts in 1917 days

#2 posted 05-12-2017 12:13 AM

Thanks, Jim! That slab of elm I got is some darned pretty wood. Worth the effort to work it.

-- Dave - Santa Fe

View helluvawreck's profile


32122 posts in 4202 days

#3 posted 05-12-2017 03:20 PM

Wow! I love this dish. It’s very nice and has a lot of character.

helluvawreck aka Charles

-- helluvawreck aka Charles,

View Dave Polaschek's profile

Dave Polaschek

9335 posts in 1917 days

#4 posted 05-12-2017 06:35 PM

Thanks, Charles!

-- Dave - Santa Fe

Have your say...

You must be signed in to post the comments.

DISCLAIMER: Any posts on LJ are posted by individuals acting in their own right and do not necessarily reflect the views of LJ. LJ will not be held liable for the actions of any user.

Latest Projects | Latest Blog Entries | Latest Forum Topics