Making A Salt Plate Into A Bracelet

A Himalayan salt block, turned into a unique bracelet! The process was a pretty nerve racking but I think the end result was well worth the effort!

I've turned a fair amount of bracelets on the lathe. I've even experimented with some unusual materials. I've made a denim bracelet and even one with embedded phone wires, but I've never turned a block of salt before!

I'll be honest, I wasn't sure what to expect. I certainly didn't think it would be a success. I thought I might have an interesting failure at best. I'm rather excited to have some viable. 

When I made the first cut on the band saw is when I thought it might be possible. The salt cut easily and held it's shape. The first few piece I cut a bit small, but I ended up with a piece 4" squared.

This is my "take a picture before it shatters" shot
On to the drill press.

 I use a 2 5/8" forstner bit for making bracelets. That inside diameter is a more or less, universal size for women. It's loose on some and more snug on others, but fits the majority of female wrists. So it's what I normally end up making.

After drilling out the hole, the block was extremely hot. Almost too hot to hold. An other surprise!

 I let it sit for about 15 minutes before taking over to the band saw and cutting off the corners. Cutting off the corners is normally to make the turning process go a little faster, but with a brittle material I think it''s even more important to assure survival!

I then mounted it on the lathe. If you've seen my other bracelet turning videos, you'll recognize my jamb chuck. It is simply a piece of wood with a 2 5/8" tenon to match the inside hole bored at the drill press.  It's an easy way to hold the work piece for turning. I've  made dozens of bangles with it, and it simplifies the process greatly.

That is a LOT of salt....

Turn sand and finish.  The sanding was all done with 100 grit and I dipped it in water. The wet sanding really worked well for this, and it shined up in only a couple minutes. I finished up with 400 grit but I'm not really sure it was necessary.

On to the finish. In this case I skipped the finish. This is just too cool looking and I wanted to leave it intact. Why? I'm not sure, it just felt like the right thing to do...

Wet sanding to 400 grit
If you want to make your own, Here is a source for the Salt Block  Fair warning though: The salt can be a little tricky to work with, and is prone to cracking.