Woodturning A Travel Beverage Mug

By Brian Lemay 41 comments

Hi, Alan Stratton from As Wood Turns dot com.
I appreciate viewers who make project suggestions. In fact, two viewers , John Jackson and Larry
McCafferty, made the same suggestion, a travel mug. In fact, John reports that every Saturday,
he enjoys his cup of morning joe while he watches my weekly video.
Now I need a travel mug also. Mine will be for chocolate. So let’s make a travel mug.
For this cup, I’m using red oak scraps from a friend’s stairway remodel. I used two pieces.
On one piece the glue joints were failing, I split them on the glue joint. I hope his
stairwell is ok. This mug will use stave construction. Each
piece is about 8 inches long and 1 7/16″ from long point to long point. The cut angle is
22.5 degrees. I Normally use an zero clearance insert for the table saw but don’t like to
use it for angle cuts — they would make it Definitely non-zero clearance. I made a sled
to make cutting the staves safe. It has a replaceable insert, front and back fences
to bridge the saw blade; a blade guard on the rear fence; and an adjustable fence with
a hold-down clamp. I didn’t get fancy with the fence. I use spaces between it and my
normal fence to ensure parallel and to make width adjustments.
For glue up, I’m using Titebond original extend for the first time. It’s supposed to have
a more rigid glue line that I’m hoping works better for segmented work. I’m gluing these
staves four at a time into halves. I’ve spread tape glue side up on a board and placed the
staves on the tape. I masked off the outer sides to prevent glue contamination. Then
I spread glue liberally; rolled up the set of staves and wrapped it with more tape. Duct
tape seemed to work better for the upside down strips than plain masking tape. After
the glue dried, I sanded the face of each half cylinder flat. Then glued the two halves
together. For the initial roughing and mounting tenon,
I’m using the cone faceplates from my bracelet chuck. I like tools that have multiple uses.
I have to be very gentle as there is very little grab in this setup.
With the cup mounted in a chuck, I’m more free to be aggressive and finish the rough
cut. Now it’s time to bore out the center. The
insert requires 2 7/8″ and 2 1/8″ forstner bits that I don’t have and that cost about
$50 each. I’m not going to buy them just for this project. So I’ll bore it out with my
largest bit — a 2 inch forstner bit and use a round carbide cutter for the remainder.
This has a bit more risk than just drilling it out — so I use my DIY steady rests to
secure the work piece. The hollowing is a tough go, especially when 5 to 8 inches deep
in this hard red oak. Next time, I would hollow from both ends. I’m having to test the insert
many times to get the fit right. This depth was tough. My carbide tip came
off once and loosened 3 or 4 more times with all the vibration.
After a final test fit, I can shape the exterior. Not much I can do with this cup to decorate
it. I’ll rely on the wood. I’m using one of my ball turning faceplates to secure the tail
stock end of the cylinder. One fit perfectly. After some gouge work, I’ll switch over to
a skew to finish up. Finally, I’ll mark for a shallow rabbet 3/8″
from the top that fits under the lip of the insert. And make some final adjustments for
fit. Then on to sanding and finishing. I started
with sandpaper on a block to remove any ridges and valleys. Since the exterior is a smooth
convex curve, this worked fine. Then on to finer grits and finishing with wipe-on poly
for better moisture resistance. My cup’s bottom is still an open hole. The
insert’s guide suggests filling it with epoxy or leaving it open. Not for me. I’ll drill
out the bottom, turn a plug & glue it in. Then finish the bottom and glue the insert
into my wood shell. I glued up this plug with vertical grain to
match the grain orientation of the exterior. I don’t want expansion differences cracking
my mug. This plug is glued to a threaded wood faceplate with CA glue. I need to be careful
to allow enough space for the insert. I’ll part it off — Didn’t I do that already?
Yes, but now the plug is glued in. To finish the base, I’ll invert the shell
on my 4 jaw chuck in an expansion hold. Jaw marks on the inside will not matter as long
as I don’t split the mug shell. Next time, I would turn tenons on both ends
and bore out the middle from both ends. Going in 3-4 inches is far easier than going in
7-8 inches. Maybe I could try building it with segmented rings so I could hollow the
center as I build it. Meanwhile, this one is quite nice.
Now, here’s to you, John Jackson and Larry McCafferty. A spill proof cup from which to
enjoy your favorite Saturday morning beverage while you watch my woodturning videos. Here’s
mine — the rest of you will have to make your own.
Be sure to like this video; subscribe to my As Wood Turns website AND YouTube channel
– so I can keep you updated. Have fun and be safe — always wear a full face shield.
You never know when you’ll be happy you did. This is Alan Stratton from As Wood Turns dot
com. We’ll see you shortly on the next video.


Larry McCafferty

Aug 8, 2013, 9:58 pm Reply

Nice job and thank you for the shout out! That certainly looks like it would be easier making the plug for the bottom…and the oak made a nice look! Overall … Well Done!


Aug 8, 2013, 10:02 pm Reply

Very nice video… loved that fence also…i will copy it !

Brown Suspenders

Aug 8, 2013, 10:03 pm Reply

Great video and ditto Mike Holly regarding the steady rest.

Justin Migliorisi

Aug 8, 2013, 11:03 pm Reply

Nice mug allen. Could i suggest to use a small drip of blue locktite to keep your carbide tip from loosening on tou. Blue is semi permanent or easily undone when needed. Ive Been wanting to make one as well. I have black walnut I'd like to use. Love your videos. Justin.

As Wood Turns

Aug 8, 2013, 12:42 am Reply

Ok on the steady rest but it's not yet perfected.
Alan Stratton

As Wood Turns

Aug 8, 2013, 12:42 am Reply

Thanks for watching.
Alan Stratton

As Wood Turns

Aug 8, 2013, 12:44 am Reply

The plug is definitely easier than forming a solid block plus save some wood.
Thanks for making the suggestion in the first place.
Alan Stratton

As Wood Turns

Aug 8, 2013, 12:45 am Reply

Don't copy the sled and fence! – Improve upon it. πŸ™‚
We all build on one-another.
Thanks for watching.
Alan Stratton

douglas palmer

Aug 8, 2013, 12:46 am Reply

beautiful mug allen,dougie,scotland,uk

As Wood Turns

Aug 8, 2013, 12:46 am Reply

Thanks – & as I wrote to Mike, I'll show the steady but it falls short of my expectations. Maybe you can help once you see it.
Alan Stratton

As Wood Turns

Aug 8, 2013, 12:48 am Reply

Great suggestions. Another problem I have with square carbide is the bit rotating on the bar. Would blue locktite work also to prevent rotation or only on threads.
Thank you.
Alan Stratton

As Wood Turns

Aug 8, 2013, 12:49 am Reply

Douglas – thank you
Alan Stratton

Larry McCafferty

Aug 8, 2013, 1:05 am Reply

I used a recess in the bottom to hold the cup so didn't loose any wood that way.(other than what I messed up with otherwise!!!) I also used my 12" tool rest inserted into the cup to hold the scraper more steady… still not perfect but a whole lot better than the vibrations I got otherwise!!

As Wood Turns

Aug 8, 2013, 6:29 am Reply

After doing this one, I know what you mean about vibrations. Didn't think to stick the end of the tool rest into that small cavity. Actually, mine probably would not fit.

Alan Simpson

Aug 8, 2013, 1:16 pm Reply

Many thanks for a most interesting video with a beautiful result. Your saw table sled and lathes steadies are amazing.
A few months ago I purchased round and square carbide tipped tools from a gentleman on Ebay. He made them himself and I sent him an email saying how impressed I was with his skills. He turned out to be a disabled gentleman who made the tools as a hobby. Anyway, he advised me that if the tips loosened to use just a little CA glue but fortunately I haven't had to do so yet.

As Wood Turns

Aug 8, 2013, 2:37 pm Reply

Thanks for the CA recommendation. I'll give it a try.
Alan Stratton

Brenden Morley

Aug 8, 2013, 5:15 pm Reply

Can you share your plans for your steady rest? I like how it is in two pieces. I am not sure if this style is easier to make and or, easier to place and store, but looking at the plans and hearing from your experience with it would be very much appreciated.

As Wood Turns

Aug 8, 2013, 6:34 pm Reply

Stay tuned. I'd say 1) easier to make; 2) easier to place; 3) storage – not sure.
Alan Stratton

Michael L Ritzi

Aug 8, 2013, 3:15 am Reply

Hey Alan,

Great video on the mug, and beautiful job. A lot of good tips on securing the carbide cutter in the comments. The blue Loctite works well. I also would like to see more on the steady rest.



Desmond Shore

Aug 8, 2013, 9:12 am Reply

Another good job Alan. Cheers Desmond.


Aug 8, 2013, 3:11 pm Reply

Very nice job Alan. Thanks for sharing

As Wood Turns

Aug 8, 2013, 3:20 pm Reply

Thanks for commenting.
Due to popular demand, I put a video about the steady rest.
Alan Stratton

As Wood Turns

Aug 8, 2013, 3:21 pm Reply

Desmond – Thank you
Alan Stratton

As Wood Turns

Aug 8, 2013, 3:21 pm Reply

Thank you for commenting.
Alan Stratton

Mike Waldt

Aug 8, 2013, 7:09 pm Reply

Great travel mug Alan
Take care

As Wood Turns

Aug 8, 2013, 8:01 pm Reply

Thank you Mike I trust you're doing better & better.
Alan Stratton


Aug 8, 2013, 8:46 pm Reply

Hi I love ur vedios and also watch them over a mug of coffee. But I was wondering where u go the insert from.

As Wood Turns

Aug 8, 2013, 9:16 pm Reply

They're available from a variety of sources. Mine came from Rockler.
Alan Stratton

Mike Waldt

Aug 8, 2013, 7:57 am Reply

Thank you for asking Alan, yes I am mate
Take care


Aug 8, 2013, 2:02 pm Reply

I liked the looks of your steady rest – You said it was a DIY. I have been planning to make one myself and was wondering if you have plans for the one you have uses in this project – or can point me to your source.


Aug 8, 2013, 2:05 pm Reply

Thank You – but I have searched your BLOG and cant find it –

As Wood Turns

Aug 8, 2013, 2:09 pm Reply

Sorry – typo I will put it out this week

Dave Dubanoski

Aug 8, 2013, 1:17 pm Reply

I would like to make one also please.

Laurent Cortot

Aug 8, 2013, 3:24 pm Reply

Joli mug Alan

As Wood Turns

Aug 8, 2013, 2:04 am Reply

I just put up a video on the steady rest.
Alan Stratton

As Wood Turns

Aug 8, 2013, 2:06 am Reply

The mug or the steady. If the steady, the video is ready now.
Alan Stratton

As Wood Turns

Aug 8, 2013, 2:07 am Reply

Merci beaucoup Lolo.


Aug 8, 2013, 12:53 am Reply

have you ever turned a leather burnisher

Fredrik J

Sep 9, 2014, 9:07 am Reply

thanks – great video – I am now a subscriber

Rebecca Barnes

Apr 4, 2018, 9:45 pm Reply

Allen, why did you put the plug in the bottom. I am a newbie to turning.

Gary Wagner

Mar 3, 2019, 5:57 am Reply

where did you get your supply of inserts
please send info to [email protected]

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