Wooden Mason Jar (carved from a cherry log)
Wooden Mason Jar (carved from a cherry log)

This is a 12-inch-tall wooden mason jar carved from a cherry log.

This was made as a gift for my wife. She hates mass-produced, made-overseas home decor stuff, so our house is decorated with all sorts of homemade items like this.

It could be used as a vase, but it will very likely end up on display in a corner somewhere filled with wheat stalks, reeds, knobbly sticks, or some other earthy things she finds out on a trail somewhere.

It took about 10 hours to complete, but was worked on over the course of a few months.

This project requires access to a decent sized band saw, some clamps, and some power carving tools.

I hope you enjoy this, and are inspired to go make something!

Step 1: 360 degree view

Wooden Mason Jar (carved from a cherry log)
Wooden Mason Jar (carved from a cherry log)
Wooden Mason Jar (carved from a cherry log)
Wooden Mason Jar (carved from a cherry log)
Wooden Mason Jar (carved from a cherry log)
Wooden Mason Jar (carved from a cherry log)

Here's a look all around the finished jar.

I especially like the unique characteristics of the wood on display, such as the multi-toned grain, the angled checks, and that dark swath of bark. Those are the actual highlights of the piece to me.

One perceptive member of our community spotted an owl peaking back through the wood grain in one of these photos. Can you see it?

Step 2: Start with a decent log

Wooden Mason Jar (carved from a cherry log)
Wooden Mason Jar (carved from a cherry log)

The log I used for this project was from a 25-year-old cherry tree. When the log was cut several years ago, the ends were properly sealed so it dried without any severe checking.

Using an old mason jar I eyeballed some proportions, and cut a 12 inch section of the log on my band saw. The log was 7 inches in diameter.

Step 3: Break down log

Wooden Mason Jar (carved from a cherry log)
Wooden Mason Jar (carved from a cherry log)
Wooden Mason Jar (carved from a cherry log)
Wooden Mason Jar (carved from a cherry log)
Wooden Mason Jar (carved from a cherry log)

The log was broken down on the band saw as shown in the photos. See photo notes for details and dimensions.

I'm using blades made for use on green logs, so they are slightly thicker and fairly aggressive.

Step 4: Glue up the pieces

Wooden Mason Jar (carved from a cherry log)
Wooden Mason Jar (carved from a cherry log)
Wooden Mason Jar (carved from a cherry log)

With these pieces cut, I glued them all back together matching up the grain and checks.

Duct tape was wrapped tightly to clamp the two side pieces together, and then clamps were used to glue the top and bottom discs in place.

Step 5: Carving bits used

Wooden Mason Jar (carved from a cherry log)

I have a Foredom rotary tool (separate motor with flex shaft) that I use for carving, as well a small handheld Dremel-type rotary tool.

See photo notes for info on the bits I used for the is project. The red and blue ones are Typhoon brand burrs.

Step 6: Rough out basic shape

Wooden Mason Jar (carved from a cherry log)
Wooden Mason Jar (carved from a cherry log)
Wooden Mason Jar (carved from a cherry log)
Wooden Mason Jar (carved from a cherry log)
Wooden Mason Jar (carved from a cherry log)

I began by removing larger amounts of material with a combination of the band saw and a small pull saw (photos of this approach are shared in the next step, as the same process was done two different times.)

Additional material was removed with the large red burr shown in the last step to create the round bottom of the jar, and to begin the taper at the top.

The bottom of a lip was formed using the flat, disc-like rasps shown in the last step.

Step 7: Carve threads and finish lip

Wooden Mason Jar (carved from a cherry log)
Wooden Mason Jar (carved from a cherry log)
Wooden Mason Jar (carved from a cherry log)
Wooden Mason Jar (carved from a cherry log)
Wooden Mason Jar (carved from a cherry log)
Wooden Mason Jar (carved from a cherry log)
Wooden Mason Jar (carved from a cherry log)
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The top of the jar was cut down further using the band saw and a small pull saw, and then the threads and lip were carved. See photo notes for details.

Note the neat dimpled texture on the sides of the jar. This was done by quickly running the large flame-shaped burr over the entire jar.

Step 8: Carve lettering

Wooden Mason Jar (carved from a cherry log)
Wooden Mason Jar (carved from a cherry log)

The design for the lettering was sketched onto the jar, and then the surrounding material was carefully removed with a small carving bit.

The raised areas around the lettering were then carved down to make a smoother transition.

Step 9: Cut opening in top

Wooden Mason Jar (carved from a cherry log)
Wooden Mason Jar (carved from a cherry log)

The opening in the top was removed by drilling a tight circle all the way around with a drill (the thickness of the top ring was just a bit too much to be able to do this with a jig saw.)

The rough inside edges were then carved down and smoothed out.

Step 10: Carving completed

Wooden Mason Jar (carved from a cherry log)

The completed jar got a very gentle sanding with 220 grit sandpaper, just to remove a few sharp edges.

Care was taken to not remove any of the dimpled texture created with the flame-shaped bit earlier on.

Step 11: Finishing

Wooden Mason Jar (carved from a cherry log)
Wooden Mason Jar (carved from a cherry log)
Wooden Mason Jar (carved from a cherry log)
Wooden Mason Jar (carved from a cherry log)
Wooden Mason Jar (carved from a cherry log)

The jar was stained with golden oak colored oil-based stain. I somewhat regretted this decision, as I think leaving it unstained and just giving it a clear coat would have looked better. Oh well, that's what I get for not pretesting on some scrap!

The jar was then coated with about a dozen coats of semi gloss spray lacquer, both inside and out.

To lighten up the letters ever-so-slightly color-wise, I sanded them gently with 220 grit sandpaper. I then rubbed them with my hands until they absorbed a bit of my natural oil, and I called it good.

That's it. All done!

Step 12: Details

Wooden Mason Jar (carved from a cherry log)
Wooden Mason Jar (carved from a cherry log)
Wooden Mason Jar (carved from a cherry log)

Here are a few close up shots of the details. Not perfect by any stretch, but my wife likes it!

Step 13: Parting thoughts

Wooden Mason Jar (carved from a cherry log)

Thanks for taking a look at my wooden mason jar.

I'd love hear any feedback in the comments below!

Hey, what should I make out of the other half of the log? I'm looking for a completely original, one-of-a-kind idea . . . but inspiration hasn't struck yet. Any thoughts or suggestions are welcome!

 
 

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