Keeping up appearances

While I’m making everything from tables to trays and boxes, I’m also trying to keep up with the sales out at my display at the farm store on the high street.  Mostly I stock woodenware out there, like spatulas and potato mashers, which we’ve covered on the blog before.  One thing that I haven’t shown is a somewhat specialised design: a mixing paddle.

This paddle works on dough like a mortar hoe does for concrete.  The more heterogeneous your dough mixture is, the more it will help you.  The basic shape is similar to a large spatula, though the handle is shifted towards the “top” of the blade to give your fingers more clearance on the rim of your mixing bowl.

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But before I start rounding it, I put in a 1 1/4″ hole in the middle of the blade to let the aggregate (or chocolate chips in this case) mix freely.  As this is pretty thin stock (3/8″), I drill a 1/4″ pilot hole before using the larger auger.

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The semi-fiddly part of this is to put a consistent bevel on the hole.  It’s kind of a contortionist’s problem to get a rasp through there without marring anything.  So, a contorted rasp is called for!  This rasp, called a “saw maker’s rasp”, is not necessarily required, but it sure makes it a lot easier!

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And indeed, it does work for saw handles too!  When I built this 14″ sash saw, it was invaluable for working the inside of the tote.

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Anyway, once you get everything blended, it’s a trip through the sanding grits, and a coat of mineral oil.  This paddle is in beech, but I also make it in rock maple.  These are the (barely) stiffer hardwoods, but since there’s a big hole in the blade, I wanted all the strength I could get.

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