I have quite a lot of scrap wood in my workshop. I usually get it from cabinet shops that are having a clear out, or from sidewalks where people have dumped it. It mostly just sits in the corner taking up space, but occasionally I find a use for it. In 2015 I tried making some dishes out of the smaller pieces.
The traditional tool for this job is a lathe, but since I didn’t own one I instead built a circle-cutting jig for my router. Figure 1 gives an idea of how it all went together.
Figures 2 and 3 show a walnut dish being made. The little nub left in the middle was the center of rotation for the jig. When I’d finished cutting the tightest circle I could, I’d pull the pin from the jig and move the router around by hand to get that last part.
Figure 4 shows one mystery-wood dish and two plywood dishes, fresh from being routed. The plywood versions came out better than I’d hoped.
My use of the router left the wood in rough shape, so a good amount of sanding was required before a finish could be applied. Some of the dishes received an application of homemade walnut oil and bees wax, while others had a long-lasting water based polyurethane painted on. Both finishes are food safe.
The oil and wax finish brought out a lot of richness in the wood, while the polyurethane produced a flatter, more modern look. Both finishes have stood up well, and look as good today as they did when I first applied them four years ago.