No one thinks to use milk as a building material, but it’s possible. It’s also a huge pain in the ass. So much so that trying to carve the stuff nearly drove craftsman Peter Brown insane.
Brown’s inspiration to build stuff out of milk came from a Household Hacker tutorial. In that video, it was claimed that the proteins in milk can be molded into a plastic-like substance that becomes as hard as stone after two days of drying. But Brown’s attempt to recreate those results ended up taking over 80 days to dry and was still a bit mushy inside. To explain the huge disparity, Brown suggested, “Maybe [it’s] the fact that I did mine in March, and he did his on the surface of the sun.”
His goal was to make a handle for cheese plane. Between the threading fiasco halfway through the video and the entire block snapping on the lathe it takes several applications of epoxy to get there. Unfortunately, epoxy can’t mend his shattered expectations for the project. On the bright side, he claims it doesn’t have the rotting milk smell you’d expect it to.
Brown makes plenty of weird stuff in his shop (like this vase made of crayons), but trying to turn hardened milk protein on a lathe is by far the strangest, and it nearly brought him to the breaking point. He’s now the proud owner of a cheese plane whose handle is indistinguishable from the cheese it’s cutting—but at what cost?
Update June 23, 11:40am: Brown’s frustration apparently outweighed his sense of accomplishment.