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Handy Around The House

December 1, 2012

Wooden Rolling Pin

With the pastry board for my butcher block table finished, I thought it would be interesting to make a rolling pin to go with it. Save some money and make a higher quality one than is typically found in most home stores. Along with that, I could make it bigger and heftier.
The raw materials are maple for the body of the rolling pin, black walnut for the handles, a 3/8" steel rod for the "axle", and some nuts and washers. Most of the retail ones available are fairly flimsy, and I figured that if it's worth making, it's worth making well.

Rather than trying to drill through the centre of the body for the rod, I made the blank for the body from four pieces, leaving a 3/8" square hole through the middle:

I then put short, 3/8" x 3/8" filler blocks in each end before gluing the blank together. These will be trimmed flush after and provide a mounting point for the drive and tail stock centres of the lathe.
The blank measures 3-3/8" square on the ends, and 14" long.

While the glue on the body blank was drying, I got started turning the handles. I have a piece of walnut in the lathe, ready for roughing:

I turned both handles down close to final size from the blank.

I then parted them off:


And put each back in the lathe for a final finishing pass and sanding:

To drill out the centre, I started with a step drill, drilling it out to 3/8" on each end. I had to do this, since the spur and live centre left too large a hole to start a brad point (or forstner) bit.

The handles are then drilled through with a 13/32" bit from each end. This gives some clearance for the handles to turn freely around the 3/8" rod:

A counterbore is needed in the end, and to get that started, I used a countersink.

The countersink centres the hole and has a diameter of 3/4". This started the counterbore and it is finished it with a 3/4" forstner bit:


With the handles made, it was time to work on the body. The blank is mounted in the lathe and roughed down to size.


Getting the body down to a perfect, flat cylinder is a bit tricky. I sanded it to 400 grit and burnished it with a handful of shavings:

The filler blocks are drilled out using a step drill, then a 3/8" twist drill.

The 3/8" rod is driven through:

To hold the handles on, 3/8" nuts that have been drilled out slightly undersize are driven onto the ends of the rod. The ends of the rod are then peened, so that the nuts will not come off.

Complete, ready for an oil finish:


I rubbed on two coats of boiled linseed oil, letting the first coat dry overnight:

Pretty handsome, if I do say so.
A fun little project, and a very useful and solidly built tool for the kitchen.

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