Salt Box

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Project by SPalm posted 10-16-2011 08:28 PM 4879 views 9 times favorited 30 comments Add to Favorites Watch

This is a cherry salt box that I just finished. A salt box is used in the kitchen when a ‘pinch’ of salt is called for. It can also be used for the storage of other types of salt and spices. It seems like it could just be used as a small general purpose box too. A magnet keeps the top shut. Last week we went to a local sawyer and picked up the two inch thick cherry. Very nice wood at a reasonable price ($4bdft). The size of the box is about 3.5×4 inches, with a tung oil finish.

I made it using my homemade CNC, which has not had much use recently. The box is an original design. I first routed out a few different shapes on scrap wood, and learned a lot about cutting a box that is this deep. Two of them shattered when I at first pushed it too hard. I am especially proud of the carved design in the top, the thin walls, and the way the sloped carving on the sides came out.

Attached is a picture of it just off of the machine. You can see the web at the bottom that holds the work piece in place during all the separate operations – Pocket Route, Inside Profile, Outside Profile, Curved Flute, and Drill. The main routing was done with a two inch long 1/2 inch router bit. I then changed to a 1/4 inch bit for the small holes. The separate top carving was done with a V-bit, and then a 1/4 inch bit did the drill and cut out the profile.

There is now a blog about some of the machining operations:

Thanks for looking,

-- -- I'm no rocket surgeon

30 comments so far

View CalgaryGeoff's profile


937 posts in 2480 days

#1 posted 10-16-2011 08:31 PM

Steve, another awesome project cones out of your shop. Must have been a lot of time spent programing the shapes. Very nice.

-- If you believe you can or can not do a thing, you are correct.

View JL7's profile


8662 posts in 2963 days

#2 posted 10-16-2011 09:17 PM

Very nice Steve – great design as usual. Nice looking chuck of Cherry as well.


-- Jeff .... Minnesota, USA

View littlecope's profile


3071 posts in 3500 days

#3 posted 10-16-2011 09:25 PM

Great Job Steve!!
What did you finish it with?
I only ask, because you might want to “season” it with a liberal dose of pre-salting… and let that salt absorb what it will…
Toss that salt, wipe it out really well, and you should be good to go…

-- Mike in Concord, NH---Unpleasant tasks are simply worthy challenges to improve skills.

View SASmith               's profile


1850 posts in 2985 days

#4 posted 10-16-2011 09:53 PM

Nice work. I like the simple hinge and closing mechanism.
Glad to see your CNC being put to use.
Did you have any trouble with the cherry burning?
I would be interested in a blog on the subject. Although I don’t have a CNC I’m still curious about your process.

-- Scott Smith, Southern Illinois

View SPalm's profile


5320 posts in 3880 days

#5 posted 10-16-2011 10:04 PM

Thanks guys.

Mike, good idea. I have a couple of coats of tung oil drying on it right now. I will let it soak with salt later.

SAS, I did have a little burning in spots once I slowed down the feed rate to compensate for chip-out. Gotta find that happy sweet spot. Cherry is a bugger for burning, but I just love it. Maybe I should find a spiral bit and see if that helps.


-- -- I'm no rocket surgeon

View rance's profile


4258 posts in 3159 days

#6 posted 10-16-2011 10:17 PM

Cool looking design. Nice job. To address the burning, did you do a final skim pass? Also, did you hand build the g-code for the top or use V-Carve?

-- Backer boards, stop blocks, build oversized, and never buy a hand plane--

View peteg's profile


4284 posts in 2821 days

#7 posted 10-16-2011 10:19 PM

Sweet looking box Steve, great bit of work on the top, well done :)

-- Pete G: If you always do what you always did you'll always get what you always got

View sras's profile


4799 posts in 3127 days

#8 posted 10-16-2011 10:22 PM

Beautiful box! Blogs are ALWAYS appreciated.

-- Steve - Impatience is Expensive

View kiefer's profile


5619 posts in 2665 days

#9 posted 10-16-2011 10:32 PM

Yes A tutorial would be nice .
Great looking design and yes a spiral bit would likely work better as the chips will be moved upwards with a up cut bit .
Great bit of carving on the lid design and the side design is very original .
Great project all the way and I like it a lot !


-- Kiefer

View shipwright's profile


7980 posts in 2796 days

#10 posted 10-16-2011 10:38 PM

Nice one Steve !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Ciao from Puglia

-- Paul M ..............If God wanted us to have fiberglass boats he would have given us fibreglass trees.

View SPalm's profile


5320 posts in 3880 days

#11 posted 10-16-2011 10:44 PM

Thanks guys,

Rance, the only burning that I had was on the inside so I cut the pocket too small and used a clean-up pass. Using V-Carve I ended going with a .1 inch removal with a continuous spiral climb cut dropping .3 inches each spiral at 60 inches per min. (Way too much control and decisions to make – and I don’t know what I am doing.) Do you ever do this stuff anymore?


-- -- I'm no rocket surgeon

View amagineer's profile


1415 posts in 2595 days

#12 posted 10-17-2011 12:11 AM

I am impressed with you saltbox design; the cover is so intricate and the side sloping on the box is very inventive. As I read the comments about your build, the techiques you all are describing sounds like a cnc computer program. I also like the magnet to hold the lid in place.

-- Flaws are only in the eye of the artisan!

View fernandoindia's profile


1081 posts in 2942 days

#13 posted 10-17-2011 01:36 AM

Hi Steve. putting back on order your CNC seems was a great idea. Fortunately you remembered how it was plugged to the wall. lol

The design is very cool. Besides, a pot such as this in the kitchen is indeed helpful. Neat idea.

-- Back home. Fernando

View Lee A. Jesberger's profile

Lee A. Jesberger

6855 posts in 3978 days

#14 posted 10-17-2011 01:38 AM

You know Steve, for a guy who’s not a rocket surgeon, you sure do nice work.

Very impressive.


-- by Lee A. Jesberger

View Karson's profile


35120 posts in 4399 days

#15 posted 10-17-2011 01:38 AM

Steve a very nice work where you didn’t have to do anything except put on the finish.

Very cool design.

-- I've been blessed with a father who liked to tinker in wood, and a wife who lets me tinker in wood. Southern Delaware soon moving to Virginia †

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