Hey! Do you like sugar? Of course you do! Do you want to get sugar all over everything in your workshop and maybe ruin some expensive equipment? Of course you do!
Wait, you don’t? Oh.
After experimenting with salt, pepper, milk, and gummy bears, Peter decided that he apparently hadn’t suffered enough. He decided, on the advice of TAOFLEDERMAUS, to work with Jolly Ranchers this time — specifically, to melt them down and then turn them on the lathe.
If you’ve spent any amount of time in a kitchen, you know there’s an important difference between sugar’s solid and liquid phases. Solid sugar is delicious and crystalline, while molten sugar is composed of 100% pure evil. Pastry chefs have been known to refer to it as “kitchen napalm.” It does not mess around.
So after buying five pounds of Jolly Ranchers, removing the wrappers, and separating them by color, Peter put them in the shop oven and waited for them to melt. In the meantime, he built a form out of clear acrylic and held it together with hot glue.
The first attempt was, um… gloppy.
Attempt #2 worked much better. The candy needed to be much hotter (hot enough to make Peter re-think all of his decisions up to this point, even through a pair of leather welding gloves), to the point where the hot glue began to let go. Rubber bands fixed that, though. This time, the sugar maintained its layers, giving the blank a rainbow appearance.
Over on the drill press, Peter discovered that Forstner bits create heat, and heat melts sugar. This resulted in maniacal laughter and unintentional cotton candy.
The bandsaw didn’t fare much better. Still, the blank didn’t blow up, so off to the lathe we go!
The turning actually went well, perhaps because Peter used a carbide detailer. This means that only one small point on the blank was being heated at any given moment, giving the rest of it a chance to cool off. It also gave Peter a delicious hard-candy dusting, like your favorite confection.
The finished candle holder looks good enough to eat, so Peter ruined the fun by adding several coats of spray lacquer.
This project is possibly the only way you can turn five pounds of candy into something a child won’t enjoy — another Shop Time first! The finished product has a rustic blown-glass aesthetic going, which is actually really cool, so kudos to Peter for giving it a shot.
Author: Bill Livolsi
Bill is the owner of One Car Workshop, where he makes videos about optimizing a small work space for maximum effectiveness. He lives in Las Vegas, NV with his wife, their dog, and two guinea pigs.