Salvaged Family Heirlooms

Butternut Canister


Wooden Canister

Imagine reviving a family heirloom. That piece of furniture, now beyond repair, might have been relegated to the landfill. Perhaps it was your great aunt’s chest of drawers or your great, great grandfather’s table. You can give it new life as a wooden canister or set of canisters. This can grace your kitchen counter, or you can give it to a family member.

I have made canisters two ways; cutting a bird’s mouth joint in each stave or coopering. The canister pictured here was made with coopered staves. You can use either way to make yours.

Single Piece Lid


Starburst Lid

When considering a design for a lid, I have pictured two options. The first is a solid lid with an integral handle. The second is a composite with an added knob. I like the simplicity of the solid lid with its build-in handle. However, for visual appeal, you can’t beat a starburst pattern. The knob is added to the starburst lid to cover any misalignment of the points of the wedges.

Complete how-to details for turning a canister, a starburst lid, and the jig for cutting the lid pieces are all to be found in my book, The Woodturner’s Project Book, (Linden Publishing, 2008). Here I discuss why I have settled on the bird’s mouth joint option for making canisters.

The Woodturner's Project Bookl

Canisters are a lot of fun to turn and sometimes a challenge to get them to turn out right.

Ellis Hein

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About Ellis Hein

I am a woodturner and the author of The Woodturner's Project Book. I have a life-long interest in the gospel preached by George Fox and the early Quakers. You can see some of my material on that subject at http://nffquaker.org/profiles/blog/list?user=1zw2th7nj9p89.
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