peel

If you’ve been following my posts here on Make: recently, you’ll notice that I’ve been doing a lot of posts about restoring and making your own tools. I’m fascinated by Mister Jalopy’s concept of the “inspired object,” physical tools and objects in your life that take on emotional, and one might even argue, spiritual qualities. Tools that have been handed down through the generations often have this inspired quality. As do tools that you make yourself. And while making a tool for your workshop/toolbox is great, making kitchen tools has the added benefit of being tools that end up front and center of your daily domestic/family life.

If you are just getting started in woodworking (or want to) or are already a seasoned woodworker and just want to add a useful and fun tool to your kitchen, David Picciuto of Make Something has the perfect project. His simple pizza peel can be made with common shop tools, using the most basic of gluing, cutting, sanding, and finishing methods. And when you’re done, you will have a lovely, handmade wooden kitchen tool that you made yourself and can proudly display. A pizza peel can make a nice decorative element, especially in any rustic-style kitchen.

peelDave built his peel out of two types of wood, mahogany in the center sandwiched between two pieces of hickory. Here he is gluing the three pieces together into the rough shape of the peel.

peelUsing a pizza pan, he traces the basic shape and size for the body of his peel.

peelHe also sketches out the handle shape and length and then uses the base of a spray can to trace out the rounded end of the peel’s handle. A large hole will be drilled in the center of this end part so that the peel can be hung.

peelNow he cuts the basic shape of the peel out on his band saw. If you are doing this project without shop machinery, you could use a common jigsaw.

peelAfter cutting out the main body and handle, Dave decides that he wants to thicken the handle. So he traces the handle onto another piece of mahogany and cuts that out.

peelHere he is gluing the handle reinforcement piece to the handle. He also cut a curve and a bevel on the reinforcement piece where it meets to body of the peel.

peelTo make it easier for the peel to slide under the pizza pie in the oven, Dave used a belt sander to quickly add a bevel to the business end of the peel.

peelAfter sanding and buffing the entire peel, Dave finishes it with a coat of mineral oil, and then after that is dried and buffed out, a coat of 50/50 paraffin wax and mineral oil. The peel is now ready to process some serious pies.