What Are Shrink Pots?


                  The Basics

Shrink pots are made using green wood (fresh-cut wood with lots of moisture).

A branch is cored and a notch cut on the inside of the bottom rim.

A dry piece of wood is loosely fit into the notch.

As the green wood tube dries, it shrinks around the bottom piece, making a tighter fit.

After they dry completely, a lid can be fit and final cuts can be taken. These cuts will leave a much smoother surface than those taken when the wood was wet.

The outside can then be carved, painted, and oiled. The interior is left with an unfinished, raw wood surface.

                                 The Tools

Dividers lay out the circles for the interior and exterior walls.

A t-auger cores the branch.

A firmer gouge and mallet remove more of the interior waste wood.

A hook knife smooths out the interior walls.

A carving axe, drawknife or plane can be used to shape the outside.

A small, deep sweep gouge, v-chisel or straight knife is used to cut the groove to hold the bottom piece.

Finish cuts can be taken with a plane or spokeshave.



                   What Can I Use Them For?

Shrink pots have Scandinavian roots, and like may of their traditional crafts, they blend utility with ornate and playful decoration.

Pots like these are typically used for dry goods in the kitchen, but can be used for a wide range of items:

  • flour

  • sugar

  • beans

  • coffee

  • pet treats

  • candy

  • trinkets

My pots are not made to hold liquid, though some craftspeople have developed a way to make that possible. 

Because special attention is paid to their decoration, pots like these add a certain beauty to any space.