How to Make a Segmented Wooden Mug

Wooden cups and mugs are attractive additions to a rustic set of drinking and eating utensils. You must however keep in mind that wooden mugs must be protected against water. If not they will warp and crack. Wooden mugs that are protected are beautiful and safe to drink from.

The mug is made using walnut and zebrawood. The grain of the zebrawood runs vertically. The walnut is used in the top and bottom parts of the mug and it contrasts well with the zebrawood. Walnut is frequently a good option when you are trying to contrast a lighter colored wood with a darker one.

You start the project by cutting the wood on a tablesaw and then gluing it together to form the part that contains the liquid. The wood is cut at an angle so it fits together to form a cup. The rough construction is then smoothed out on a lathe. Doing it this way uses less wood. After using the lathe, you glue the handle on the mug.

If you don’t have a lathe you can probably still make functional wooden mug. It just won’t be as round as with the lathe.

When using Max CLR the directions for use on wood says that it be should be diluted 50:50 with acetone. It penetrates well and with a light sand between coats it looks professional. If bubbles form you can remove them and smooth the mug with a heat gun. It takes some practice to do this right though. The finish really is a key part of this project. The video’s creator is a skilled wood turner. You would need a lathe and a good amount of time to make these mugs. The mugs can handle hot liquids like coffee, but it’s probably best to hand not machine wash them.

He makes the handle of the mug by tracing the handle of an existing mug onto wood and then cutting and sanding it. This is clever because you can copy a handle that feels comfortable in your hand.

Black Walnut is one of the United States’ most durable hardwoods, and one of its most popular. It has a deep chocolate color (sometimes highlighted by purple or red streaks and/or tint). The wood’s grain is straight (but sometimes irregular) and it has a fine texture. The wood has an excellent strength-to-weight ratio and is stable after drying. Black Walnut has been a favorite of furniture craftsmen for centuries.

Zebrawood is a durable, tough and visually striking West African wood. It can range in color from tan to a dull pale yellow, to off-white. The color depends on region and conditions. The wood is decorated by dark brown (almost black) striping. If the wood is quartersawn the striping is typically long and fairly uniform. If flatsawn the lines are wavy and erratic.

The wood glues well, which is good for this project.

Planing and finishing the zebrawood can be challenging because of the grain patterns. When working on the wood always use sharp tools to minimize tearout.