Home Fixated sponsor Rockler has a pizza cutter turning kit that’s a great way to make an awesome holiday gift. They are a very high quality heavy piece of machinery that could easily double as menacing home defense implements. They come in stainless steel or brass and with simple hand tools (or better yet a band saw if available) are relatively easy to make. It is assumed that the maker would craft the handle by turning it on a lathe, however I don’t have a lathe so I use a band saw or jig saw and some minor shaping to come up with completely unique handles – no turning required! It’s a simple process that just about any skill level with wood and tools can pull off. If you scoff at the idea of NOT using a lathe, check out our previous review of the Rockler Turning Kits here. Ready to get started with our lathe-free how-to?
Pizza Cutter Turning Kit – Getting Started, Without a Lathe!
My process starts by getting some cool scraps together and gluing them up to make handle blanks. I make most of mine 1-1/8″ square blocks around 6-8″ long. For this example I made one with a rosewood center and mango sides. That’s mango wood, not mango fruit (which would make for a very slippery handle). Once the blanks are ready I start by trimming the ends with the miter saw. It is very important to have the front snug up squarely. I usually put a different angle on the back for aesthetics.
I then draw my side profile on using French curves as a guide. This is where you have artistic freedom to make it as simple or elaborate as you darn well please. I like to hold the piece in my hand and mark where my hand fits and go from there.
Next take the blank and measure dead center and drill a 1/2″ hole using a Forstner bit. (7/16″ if using softwood). I then fit the threaded insert using the provided Allen key. Lining this up with the actual handle is a bit tricky and requires you to take the cutter head off a few times while fitting it. I usually epoxy the insert and cutter head on final assembly.
With the cutter head on, I then trace the head onto the handle. With my guide lines drawn I go to the band saw to cut it out. A band saw is the preferred tool for me but may not be available in every workshop. A jig saw will also work here. Go slow, make sure it is clamped tightly and don’t cross that line! Also make sure you only have one line…erase all of the other marks.
With the piece roughed out I clamp it in my bench vise and go to town with the sure form plane. These little devices are cheap at any Home Depot and are wicked “shap” as Norm would say. I start at the head end and shape into my seat line. I then flip it around and shape the butt end to my liking. Once I get the shape right I switch to a half round double bastard file and start to refine the lines. This process is then followed with 120 grit sandpaper then finished with 220 grit.
For the finish I use a gloss spar varnish by man-o-war. I lighty fine-sand between coats and generally use at least three coats. If you want to be super fancy you could also follow up the varnish coats with several coats of clear cut in acrylic. This technique leaves a very hard, durable coat and makes the varnish shine wonderfully. All you need now is the Rockler kit (currently on sale but backordered through early January, 2017) for $14.99. The kit also enjoys dozens of happy reviews and a nearly five star rating online.
Via HF sponsor Rockler Woodworking and Hardware: