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I just had to lick it!

Emiliano Achaval

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Last week I received a fellow forum member in my shop: @Donald Pratt He was looking for some Koa. He went home a happy camper. As a thank you, I just received a beautiful box in the mail yesterday. It has a beautiful lid with a small wooden knob. I assumed the lid was Alabaster. Today Don told me the lid is Himalayan salt!! When I read that, I had to look again, and, just to satisfy my curiosity, I had to lick it. Yes, it is very salty. I have seen Himalayan salt lights, one looked like it was sort of melting. Don: I hope the lid doesn't melt away! Or that my wife doesn't grind it up and put it in our salt grinder. I'll try to post a picture of the box tomorrow. Don: the box is very nice and in my opinion, deserving of your signature on the bottom. I will add your name and year for you, or I won't remember where it came from in a few years. I forgot to ask my wife, but I'm guessing the lid is pink. I'm colorblind, so I have no clue. I would like to hear a little about the salt. Where do you get it, how it comes, tools that you use to turn it, etc
Thank you Don!!
 
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Emiliano, you’re not the first :) I’ve made a number of those salt cellars for family and friends and been fortunate enough to sell a few. I think it’s running about 50-50 whether or not the lids get licked when the recipient finds out what they are.

So far, they seem to hold up well. The first one I ever made went to my mother-in-law. After about 5 years, it still looks like it did when it was new. I did use spray lacquer on one because the recipient specifically asked for it to be finished, but I don’t think they need it.

Yeah, I should be better about signing my work. My writing is so bad, I never want to mar the work by scrawling my signature on the bottom. One of these days, I’ll get a branding iron or some labels.

The “blanks” came from Home Depot of all places. They sell salt plates for cooking. There are different sizes available; I think I got the 8” x 12” x 1.5” plates and cut into 4” square blanks on the bandsaw. Some, I turned from the full thickness. Others I resawed, but it was hit or miss whether or not they’d hold up. For the turning, I use a mix of spindle gouge and carbide tools. The material is pretty prone to chipping, so I also use plenty of sandpaper, and it takes a great polish using a set of micromesh pads. I usually turn these in batches because of the amount of clean up involved.

As with any natural material, there can be a lot of variation in the color. If I remember, the one I sent you was almost white, maybe with just the slightest pink cast.
 

Emiliano Achaval

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I'll save some of my cut-offs for you. When I prepare a large Koa blank, the corner and other parts will make some great salt dishes. The finish is super smooth, you can sign with an archival ink pen, just like writing on paper. Your work is very nice; you have to sign it. Aloha!
 
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This isn’t the same one I sent Emiliano (that one had a maple base), but the lid is very similar.

I forgot the most important tool. Because of concern about the salt being so corrosive, I use my older midi-lathe when I turn these. Not a firm requirement, but it helps me worry a little less.

@Emiliano Achaval - thanks for your kind words and the koa offer. I better get to work on getting my tools sharp sharp sharp :)

EC735E0B-3B8B-4841-9B52-04CC3A8DD4BE.jpeg79A796AE-3D7F-4224-8A29-E790D9E205EE.jpeg
 
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This isn’t the same one I sent Emiliano (that one had a maple base), but the lid is very similar.

I forgot the most important tool. Because of concern about the salt being so corrosive, I use my older midi-lathe when I turn these. Not a firm requirement, but it helps me worry a little less.

@Emiliano Achaval - thanks for your kind words and the koa offer. I better get to work on getting my tools sharp sharp sharp :)

View attachment 45971View attachment 45972

Absolutely fantastic idea Don! Beautiful work!
 
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