Pasta/Noodle Roller

This is how egg noodles were made “back in the day” before they were mass produced and available on your grocer’s shelf.  By varying the distance between the cutting ribs you could make anything from spaghetti to fettuccine to wide egg noodles.  Depending on the recipe for the dough you used you made pasta or egg noodles.

Starting with a glued up, laminated, turning blank of hard maple (Cherry, Walnut, etc.) it isn’t a hard project, but does require some precise turning to make it work.  I took the corners off on the table saw to save some time on the lathe.  I wanted the finished piece to be about 19″ long with the handles so I made the blank a couple inches longer than that.


The first step is to just make the whole thing round  with a roughing gouge, which doesn’t take too long.  You want to get it close to the same diameter the full length of the piece.

Next I did the a handle on each end using whatever tools I found necessary.  A large skew, a small skew, spindle gouge, and parting tool.  Then took my time sizing the main barrel of the roller to make it precisely the same size from one end to the other.  This is necessary to have the “cutting blades” all contact the work surface at the same time.  The final touch was to use sand paper on a wood block to get it exact.

The last turning step was to lay out the cut outs for the noodles and remove the material between the cutting blades.  I made this one to make 1/2″ egg noodles, with each blade being 1/8″ wide at the base, tapered to almost a point where the roller meets the work surface.

The tapering to almost a point is precise turning with a small, sharp skew.

Final sanding and the turning is done.  Removed from the lathe and checked on the top of the table saw shows the “blades” all meet the work surface at the same time.

The handles are accented with five shallow turns accented by holding a steel wire against the wood turning on the lathe which burns the accent into the wood.  Simple but elegant addition to a wood turning like this.

Finally the excess material is cut off with the chop saw.  I know some people just use a parting tool to do this but I’ve had things go flying doing it that way.  A little hand sanding finishes the handles.

The finished raw wood is nice looking and then doing three coats of walnut oil really makes it look great.

Now where did I see that recipe for the perfect egg noodles?

Some of My Projects

Sometimes I get doing something and forget to take pictures as I work.  Here are some of the items I’ve built, just the finished items.  If you want details on any of these things feel free to contact me.

First, a set of coasters:

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A laminated and hand turned lamp and lamp shade, all done by yours truly.  Includes a dimmer socket with LED bulb:

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My Christmas Train, about 50″ long:

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A magazine rack:

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A large savings bank, laminated and hand turned:

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Some of the Passive Speakers for I-Pod, I-Phone, etc.  Uses no power and amplifies the sound really well:

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A twin bed for the spare room, the first picture is the bed assembled, but not finished.  The second is the bed finished, but not assembled.  Using slats means you don’t need a box spring or foundation:

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These were just a few of the projects I’ve been doing.

 

Wooden Spoon

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This was just something I wanted to make.  No real reason except that I never made one before.  It started out as a leftover piece of hard maple wood.  I cut it in half to make two spoons, which I did.  I kept one and have one for the table at the next craft fair.

After cutting them to size, the fun begins.

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The marks on the end of the wood finds the center of the piece, important to mount it on the lathe later.  Meanwhile, I drew a rough outline to remove some of the wood for the handle and to rough shape the piece.

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I made both “blanks” at the same time.  Marking and using a sharp punch to make a center hole to mount each one on the lathe when the time comes.

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Once on the lathe it was just a matter of shaping the spoon part and the handle to a desirable shape.

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Next it was just a trial and error method of scooping out the wood to form the bowl of the spoon.  I used the drill press and a forstner bit to do the bulk of it, then used a sharp chisel to finish the shaping.  After it was really close I used coarse to fine sand paper to finish it up.

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Because I plan to use it and not just display it, the finish used is just a number of coats of the right oil.  I used coconut oil on this one, which is one of the recommended oils for such an item.  It doesn’t get rancid at room temperatures.  Walnut oil is also a good oil to use for wooden cooking utensils.

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I’ve since finished the second one and have been using it in the kitchen.  Very nice because I shaped it to fit into the round edges of our cookware so it stirs things very well.

Granite Top Parsons Desk

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My son is a successful internet guy.  He must be because people pay him really well to do what he does.  What exactly he does is beyond what my mind can grasp, but it really isn’t something you need to know to appreciate this build.  If he wants me to show a better picture of the finished desk in an uncluttered office he will have to send me a better picture.

The story begins with an email from my son telling me he saw a picture of a parsons desk that would work really well for him in his soon to be new  office.  Unfortunately it cost thousands of dollars, and he’s basically cheap like me.  When I looked at the thing it didn’t seem like it would take much to build one similar so we got to talking.  Next thing I knew I was drawing and figuring out how to build such a thing.  And then started measuring the lumber I had to work with.

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Now unlike the guy in the movie that said “oak’s nice” my son doesn’t really like oak.  And hard maple is pricey like walnut and cherry, so we looked for an alternative.  What we settled on is poplar.  Poplar is easy to work with and pretty structurally sound, which is important when supporting a slab of granite that will weigh in over 200 lbs.

The first parts I made were the legs.  Notched so the weight would be directly supported on those legs rather than rely on fasteners to hold the weight.  To cut down on the overall weight of the finished desk, I designed the legs to be hollow but we wanted them to look, I believe the word my son used was “brawny”.

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Edge gluing with good glue and lots of clamps, then using the planer to do the final sizing produced just what we needed.

Then it was time to make the top framework.  This had to be very structural to support the weight and have the necessary support under the granite so it wouldn’t ever crack.  Laminating seemed to be the answer rather than using a single board of the width I wanted.  Stronger and much cheaper to produce.  Originally I was just going to make up the parts needed and send them to my son for assembly, but as the design came to physical reality, it seemed a better idea to ship it as an assembly.

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It was going to take a lot of clamps and gluing to make this thing come together correctly.  So I went on to assemble the parts and fasten it all together as a unit.  The cross braces are notched to fit snugly into the side rails, which were glued and screwed together.

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The top had to be assembled to be as exactly “square” possible so the granite would fit when it was added to the project.  And the dimensions had to be spot on also.  Another challenge was to be sure no screws or “plugs” would be visible on the outer surfaces, so fastening the legs to the top frame had to be engineered so all the screws are on the inside surfaces.

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The measurements and “square” of the desk were darn near exactly what was ordered.

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The finished desk is 30 inches tall, so the wooden base needed to be 29″ to allow for the 1″ granite slab to be installed on top of it.  The top was “squared” to really close tolerances in hopes the granite would be finished as closely as the wooden base.

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The bottoms of the legs were plugged and then the final sanding before staining.

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The first coat of stain turned out to be too red for the desired color so it took another two coats of darker brown to get what we wanted.  In the end, it came out just about how we wanted it.

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Then a couple coats, three actually of semi gloss polyurethane completed the finish.

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One thing you can’t see is that the top edges, where the granite would be glued to the wood surface, was done with a top grade spar urethane, an exterior grade urethane, so the glue holding the granite would have the best possible surface to bond with.

The base was now sent to my son’s house where the granite was to be delivered and installed.  The finished desk is just what he wanted.  Another job well done.

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Now I expect him to make a lot of money as he enjoys his new work surface.