Thermometer, Southwest Style

We lost our old glazed clay thermometer to a windstorm. So we decided to make a new, one of a kind one for ourselves to replace it. We wanted a durable wood—something we wouldn’t have to worry about or fuss over. So we chose tulip poplar. We cut out a circle of wood roughly the size of our old thermometer and routed out an opening in the back to house the electronics. Plain enough. But then we went a little off the wall. Instead of just doing regular numbers for the temperatures, we decided to cut out hot peppers, with their stems attached to the thermometer to indicate temperature in 20 degree intervals, from 20-100 degrees. And we did an acrylic wash on them to indicate the ‘heat level’ just like peppers in cook books and grocery stores are rated, from green to red hot. Nice. Not being quite satisfied with those 5 peppers, we used the remainder of our tulip poplar cut offs to create 3 more peppers to hang below the thermometer, ristra-style! We love it!

To make the project durable for outdoors, we finished it in multiple coats of exterior grade polyurethane in a gloss finish. This thermometer is huge. The central disc is approximately 12” wide, and with the peppers attached it is about 24” wide. The pepper ristra on the bottom adds another 10” of height.