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Butter Dish Project... questions?

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Forum topic by Jonathan posted 03-04-2010 12:26 AM 2945 views 0 times favorited 12 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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Jonathan

2608 posts in 2518 days


03-04-2010 12:26 AM

So I want to build a wooden butter dish in the next couple of months and have a few questions. I did a search on here for butter dishes, and maybe I missed it, but I couldn’t find anyone who had made one before, or at least posted about one.

We have a crystal butter dish that we currently use that we received as a gift for our wedding. The problem is, the lid does not have a handle on it, so every time I pick it up, I feel like I’m in danger of dropping it. So, since joining LJ and taking an interest in woodworking, I thought this might be a relatively easy, small project to knock out sometime.

My questions are:

1. I’m thinking about using walnut, as I really think it will fill the look I’d like to see. Any issues with this? Is there a wood that might work better? I don’t really want to make it out of maple, or if I do, I’d also like to have walnut mixed in with it, as I don’t want all light wood. These, plus cherry, etc. obviously work well for food contact situations such as cutting boards, but what about constant contact? This leads me to my second question…

2. Would a salad bowl finish be the best for something like this, or is there something better for contact with the fat (butter)? Again, I know this works for cutting boards, as do multiple other finishes, but I’m wondering about constant contact, as far as imparting any flavor or causing some sort of reaction?

I want to make it pretty simple for now. Probably just a rectangular tray to hold the butter, then a rectangular lid to cover the butter. And I most definitely am going to put a handle on this lid! I might do something like box joints, but I haven’t figured out the actual construction yet. I’m new to woodworking so really haven’t ever done anything like dovetails, box joints, biscuits, etc.

Thanks in advance for any answers to my questions, or any other ideas you might have related to building a butter dish.

-- Jonathan, Denver, CO "Constructive criticism is welcome and valued as it gives me new perspectives and helps me to advance as a woodworker."


12 replies so far

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lew

11348 posts in 3223 days


#1 posted 03-04-2010 12:30 AM

I make all my kitchen “stuff” from either walnut or maple. Both seem to work equally well although maple has fewer “pores”.

I tried walnut oil finish but my wife says it has a funny smell- even after a couple of years- and not applying any additional oil. I have converted to only pure mineral oil- available at any grocery store.

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

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Jonathan

2608 posts in 2518 days


#2 posted 03-04-2010 12:39 AM

Lew,

Thanks for the reply. I thought about mineral oil. Was wondering if the salad bowl finish, or varnish would give it a bit of protective outer layer?

The walnut oil thing is understandable. I’ve never really had any interest in using it, as I’ve heard of people complaining about the smell, and I have a very sensitive nose (being in the wine business is a blessing and a curse, as my olfactory sense is usually amped up).

I figured the first (obligatory) cutting board I make is going to be out of hard maple and walnut. I’ve actually got a bit of both right now in 5/4 and 4/4.

That’s true about the tighter grain on the maple, so maybe I should change the bottom piece to maple. I was thinking about making the entire bottom tray out of walnut, but could make the plate part that the butter actually sits on as maple. I just thought the yellow of the butter would look better against walnut though.

-- Jonathan, Denver, CO "Constructive criticism is welcome and valued as it gives me new perspectives and helps me to advance as a woodworker."

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Eagle1

2066 posts in 2532 days


#3 posted 03-04-2010 12:59 PM

I would use maple.. if you use any of the nut woods make sure you don’t have a nut allegery..

-- Tim, Missouri ....Inside every older person is a younger person wondering what the heck happened

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PaulfromVictor

224 posts in 2813 days


#4 posted 03-04-2010 03:15 PM

I wouldn’t use wood at all for a butter dish. Butter or margarine is made up of oil that over prolonged exposure will leach into the wood and become rancid. Even if you finish the wood, repeated washings and knife scrapes will wear spots that will allow the wood to begin absorbsion.

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Jonathan

2608 posts in 2518 days


#5 posted 03-04-2010 06:08 PM

Tim,

True about the nut allergy. As far as I know, no one in our family or circle of friends has a nut allergy, but still something to think about.

PaulfromVictor,

That’s more what I was looking for as far as the reaction, or longterm consequences of doing something like this. Maybe I could route out the bottom to accept a very small piece of slate or ceramic tile (or similar) that could be lifted out? That would take the abuse from any knife or untensil scrapes without damaging the wood. Then the wooden parts could be washed periodically and refreshened.

So nobody has ever attempted this before? Or if they did, were the results how PaulfromVictor stated?

-- Jonathan, Denver, CO "Constructive criticism is welcome and valued as it gives me new perspectives and helps me to advance as a woodworker."

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PaulfromVictor

224 posts in 2813 days


#6 posted 03-04-2010 07:36 PM

I could be wrong. Only my opinion.

If you are going to go to the extent of installing slate or tile to put the butter on, why don’t you just make a wooden butter dish that you can hold your crystal dish. You could lose the crystal top, and make a wood top that fits nicely over your wood base. You could rout the base so that your crystal piece is comfortably seated.

View Jonathan's profile

Jonathan

2608 posts in 2518 days


#7 posted 03-04-2010 07:49 PM

Paul,

That’s another option. Although I’m thinking that my wife will want to keep the butter dish together, and probably put it in the china cabinet. Or maybe I can find a scrap piece of granite countertop? Not of an actual countertop, but more of a display sample that is thinner?

-- Jonathan, Denver, CO "Constructive criticism is welcome and valued as it gives me new perspectives and helps me to advance as a woodworker."

View MrsN's profile

MrsN

975 posts in 2993 days


#8 posted 03-04-2010 08:08 PM

If I was going to make a butter dish, I would make a bottom tray to hold a cheap butter dish (plastic, glass, metal or whatever I found) A routered groove in the shape of the tray would work well. Then I would make a cool cover for it. I might even try to insert the top of the cheap butter dish into my cool wood cover.
But I am kind of grossed out by butter dishes, mine gets frequently washed.

-- ----- www.KNWoodworking.com ----- --

View DaddyZ's profile

DaddyZ

2475 posts in 2508 days


#9 posted 03-04-2010 08:34 PM

Do people still use butter dishes? :)

I would be concerned with the Humidity/Moisture/Temperature Changes, If you are going to Keep in the fridge. Would hate for Cracks & Splits to show up in the middle of a Party!

Just my Opinion.

-- Pat - Worker of Wood, Collector of Tools, Father of one

View stefang's profile

stefang

15512 posts in 2802 days


#10 posted 03-05-2010 12:11 AM

I think MrsN had the right idea Jonathan. Make something to house the plastic butter container from the store. These usually have a rim and you can make the base so the plastic container just hangs in the wooden base. The one pictured below is for sour cream containers. I didn’t have one on hand to show it in use. But I’m sure you could adapt the principal to your needs. Good luck with your project!

Photobucket

Photobucket

-- Mike, an American living in Norway.

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Jonathan

2608 posts in 2518 days


#11 posted 03-05-2010 12:24 AM

DaddyZ,

This will be sitting out on our countertop in the kitchen. We leave our butter out at room temperature so it’s easily spreadable, no need for refrigeration, so the changes in humidity wouldn’t matter.

Mike,

I’m talking about actual sticks of butter. They just come in either a wax wrapper, or a foil wrapper.

I’m glad I posed the question though because now I think I’m simply going to make it similar to what I originally planned, only router out a recess in the bottom to hold the bottom half of a regular butter container, or maybe just a piece of glazed tile.

Thanks for the responses everyone. I’m still open to other ideas and suggestions if anybody has anything else to contribute here. This project is a ways down the list of “things to make,” so there’s plenty of time for debate (Probably several months off still).

-- Jonathan, Denver, CO "Constructive criticism is welcome and valued as it gives me new perspectives and helps me to advance as a woodworker."

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Jonathan

2608 posts in 2518 days


#12 posted 03-06-2010 05:51 PM

If I ever get around to making this butter dish, I have decided to put a glass insert in the bottom.

My wife works for Crate & Barrel, so I decided to check their selection and found this one:
http://www.crateandbarrel.com/family.aspx?c=395&f=18288&q=butter&fromLocation=Search&DIMID=400001&SearchPage=1

I’m just going to be using the bottom piece, but for less than $5 (especially after my wife’s discount), I won’t feel too bad about only using half of it.

This will be easier to lift out than a piece of tile anyway, plus we can just throw it in the dishwasher.

Thanks again for the bits of advice to everyone that posted above.

-- Jonathan, Denver, CO "Constructive criticism is welcome and valued as it gives me new perspectives and helps me to advance as a woodworker."

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