wooden ashtray... will it work?

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Forum topic by interpim posted 08-07-2010 03:53 AM 19067 views 1 time favorited 15 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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1170 posts in 3700 days

08-07-2010 03:53 AM

I have recently gotten into smoking cigars lately, and have been tossing around the idea of making my own cigar ashtray. I even have a good plan made up in my head for it.

The problem I keep coming up with though, is will it get ruined. The way I look at it, is I am not going to be putting cigars out in the thing… it’s just going to collect the ash that falls off the cigar. I always let my cigar nubs go out on their own sitting in the recess for them, pretty much the hot part sitting in the air.

If you think this can work, what would you recommend I finish it with? preferably I would like something that is easy to wipe clean, and has a hard outer shell to prevent the wood from taking on anything from the ash.

-- San Diego, CA

15 replies so far

View pmayer's profile


1032 posts in 3307 days

#1 posted 08-07-2010 04:33 AM

As long as you don’t fall asleep with a stogie burning in it, I think it should work fine. I would go with a dark wood, like walnut, that didn’t show much of the ash stain. I would finish it with a penetrating oil (such as tung) to bring out the richness of grain, and then top with lots of coats of oil based poly, so its easy to wipe clean.

Good luck!

-- PaulMayer,

View paratrooper34's profile


915 posts in 3194 days

#2 posted 08-07-2010 04:50 AM

I agree with Paul….it will be fine if you don’t leave the hot ash touching the wood. I had a wood ashtray that I bought in Afghanistan on my first tour and we used the heck out it for cigars. Never had a burning issue with it. It was a dark wood, but no idea which.

-- Mike

View FWBGBS's profile


21 posts in 3481 days

#3 posted 08-07-2010 04:54 AM

I would certainly think so. All my Savinelli Pipes are made from the burl of the Briar (Erica arborea). With proper seasoning no finish will be needed; on the inside of the ashtray. To season I would use a cigar torch and simply char (carbonize) the top layer of the ashtray’s bowl.

If you can’t acquire good Briar opt for a dense grained wood (e.g.: Oak, Maple, Mesquite, etc.). As you know, the burl of just about any deciduous is pretty rugged stuff.


-- No sane man will dance ~ Cicero

View interpim's profile


1170 posts in 3700 days

#4 posted 08-07-2010 05:01 AM

my idea in my head is to laminate some walnut(bottom) with some maple… drill holes for where the cigar rests will go, then turn it leaving the half holes there to support the cigars, then sanding the crap out of it to give it an ultra smooth finish to improve cleaning.

-- San Diego, CA

View hairy's profile


2783 posts in 3774 days

#5 posted 08-07-2010 08:15 AM

How about a metal liner? Sheet copper or brass. Just a thought…

-- My reality check bounced...

View David Craig's profile

David Craig

2137 posts in 3350 days

#6 posted 08-07-2010 12:25 PM

Another option would be to use those cheap glass ashtrays as a liner for the turning. I did some reading on this recently and FWBGBS’s suggestion on torching the bottom for producing a carbon layer was mentioned on a few sites.

-- There is little that is simple when it comes to making a simple box.

View Dan Lyke's profile

Dan Lyke

1520 posts in 4367 days

#7 posted 08-07-2010 10:36 PM

Head to a high end deck place and ask to see their scrap pile. Many of those woods are more fire resistant than concrete.

-- Dan Lyke, Petaluma California,

View knotscott's profile


8186 posts in 3617 days

#8 posted 08-07-2010 11:14 PM

My thinking was similar to Hairy’s…add some metal and show off just the wood sides. It’s not worth the risk of a mishap and having it catch fire.

-- Happiness is like wetting your pants...everyone can see it, but only you can feel the warmth....

View snowdog's profile


1166 posts in 4224 days

#9 posted 02-18-2011 04:30 PM

I never thought of it, why not a wooden ashtray. Wooden pipes don’t burn up :)

-- "so much to learn and so little time"..

View Bill White's profile

Bill White

5149 posts in 4202 days

#10 posted 02-18-2011 06:08 PM

If you can find a hunk of bois d’arc or mesquite, you’ll have a tray for life. DO NOT PUT POLYCRAPITHANE ON IT!!!!!! Sand it, wet it lightly to raise the grain, sand it again with a finer grit. You know the drill. You want to burnish the wood. I’ve even polished on the lathe with another piece of wood to get the burnish.


View JLadd's profile


6 posts in 2906 days

#11 posted 10-25-2012 09:55 PM

Hi, sorry to resurrect an old discussion, but I was wondering if you ever attempted this project? What stood out to me was I had the same thought you did about drilling rest holes and then turning down halfway through them. I wanted to see how that panned out.

View snowdog's profile


1166 posts in 4224 days

#12 posted 10-26-2012 12:20 PM

I have to try this and see how it works out I. I like the idea of drilling holes for the rests and then turning it. Winter is coming and this would make a great gift (mostly to myself :)

-- "so much to learn and so little time"..

View interpim's profile


1170 posts in 3700 days

#13 posted 10-26-2012 12:46 PM

I did end up turning one out. It came out fairly well, and as long as your not mashing out the butt into the wood, it should hold up for a long time.

When I turned it, I did notice that on the leading edge of the cutouts from where I drilled in there was a little bit of tear out from having no support. I think It might work better next time if I create dowels to fit into the drilled out holes to help backup the edges of the cutouts.

-- San Diego, CA

View jap's profile


1251 posts in 2296 days

#14 posted 10-26-2012 01:13 PM

do you want a new house? :)
jk i don’t know

-- Joel

View Rockbuster's profile


499 posts in 2850 days

#15 posted 10-26-2012 01:36 PM

Keep making those ash trays, but give up the cigars. I quit 20 years or so ago, but when ever somebody lights up a good cigar, my nose pays attention. Here is a suggestion, go to your local glass store, and have them cut you some round disks from either 1/8” or 1/4” glass cut them the diameter to fit the bottom of your ash tray. you will still be able to see your fine wood work.

-- Rockbuster,Ft. Wayne,In It is far better to remain silent, and appear the fool, than it is to open ones mouth, and remove all doubt.

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