I salvaged these pieces of aspen from a pile of soon to be firewood. They had been drying for nearly a year at this point. Still quite wet. I used my chainsaw to flatten one side of the log before moving to the band saw to cut the blank down to final dimension. It looks like I'm wasting a lot of material, but pretty much everything I cut off wasn't usable. Lots of checking (cracking) and some rot. I chucked the blank up between centers to get it in the round and then cut a tenon on one side that would fit my 4 jaw chuck. The chuck holds the piece a lot better and allows the center of the blank to be hollowed out without support. I wanted the pith (center of the tree) to run horizontally, right at the belly of the mug and that was my only design constraint. Everything else was just made up as I went along. I sanded everything inside and out up to 600 grit abrasive paper before wrecking the mug and doing it all over again. The second one turned out much more interesting so I'm okay with the extra work!

I used a scrap piece of wood from the log and a thin piece of cherry wood to make the handle. The cherry had an opposing grain pattern which gives the handle all its strength. I glued them up into a blank and let it dry overnight. The cherry compliments the darkness of the pith nicely. I sketched out the handle design on a piece of paper, applied a couple strips of painters tape to the handle blank and then glued the paper to the tape. This makes removing the paper template very easy and clean after cutting. I cut it out on the bandsaw using the wrong blade (it works, just can't do curves) and then cleaned it up and rounded the edges over on the belt sander. I scribed the handle to match the contours of the mug and sanded it down to fit on the drill press. I glued the handle to the mug and then coated the inside with Epoxy. excuse me one moment.... **~~** ALL EPOXY IS "FOOD SAFE" ONCE IT'S FULLY CURED!**~~** Once cured, the epoxy is safe to ingest because it is inert. Your body can not absorb the material, so if you manage to ingest any, it would just pass through your system. This is a mug, not a cutting board. It will not see a lot of abuse and it's completely acceptable to use epoxy on the inside. FURTHERMORE! This was made as a functional display piece rather than a mug intended for daily use. Please don't fill the comment section with rants about what is food safe and what is not. Sorry about that... where was I? Oh yes!, I coated the inside with West System Epoxy in an attempt to stabilize and waterproof the mug. It worked quite well and the inside of the mug has a nice high gloss finish. For the outside, I applied several coats of natural danish oil.

The unicorn tears were in fact club soda. It was delicious.

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