Custom Mortar and Pestle

I’ve had a few commissions now, and I must say that so far, this one has been my favorite, in both request, and result.

The Back Story

An extended family member completed their pharmacist license and their parents wanted to give them something to commemorate the occasion. I was thrilled to say yes, after all, who doesn’t want to make something special for a family member. Especially one you like!

I immediately worried about what wood to use. Bois D’arc was one of my thoughts, but I didn’t have a large enough piece to make a useful mortar and pestle out of. I also thought about black walnut and oak, both of which I have a few pieces that would be large enough fir the job. Fortunately, some local wood workers were closing up their shop (They lost their lease, and decided to retire instead of set up again somewhere else). In their “fire sale” they had a large piece of Bois D’arc, so I snagged it!

The Process

After sharpening up the chain saw and staring at the piece for a little bit I dove in. One large chunk for the mortar, and a smaller side piece for the pestle. Best of all, I still have a decent sized crotch piece to make some thing else out of later.

The wood was already nice and dry, but not dry for so long that it became even harder (a wonderful feature of this wood type). It turned like a dream, and I was able to get some really nice shavings off of it. The Bois D’arc was definitely hard, and I ended up sharpening my tools several times throughout the process, but I think the end result was worth it.

The Finish

The outside was sanded to 1000 grit and finished with the tung wax finish from Brad’s Work Bench for a glass-like finish. The inside and the pestle were sanded to 600 and finished with butcher’s block oil so that it would be food safe and usable if desired.

The finished mortar and pestle

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