Saturday, February 27, 2010

How to Make a Pizza Peel

    I'd like to share with you how to make a pizza peel.  Of course, I realize some of you don't know what the heck a pizza peel is but I'll bet you don't have a good friend and neighbor whose passion is creating delicious, artisan pizzas!  I'm one of the lucky ones that do and as I've always said: "as you go through life, never offend the cook".  He has a 70th. birthday coming up (although you'd never know it by looking at him) and his wife is throwing a birthday bash to honor him on that day.  Since I'm a woodworker I thought to myself, what could I create to commemorate this special occasion and insure that I can maintain my taster status -- why a Personalized Pizza Peel of course!
    The first step was to research for sizes and types of wood recommended for them.  I chose Alder for the peel and decided to accent it with some Purple Heart that I had already.  Next it was time to make a rough blank to an appropriate size.  The picture on the left is a shot of it after just taking it out of the clamps.  I used Gorilla Glue to laminate them together.  I usually use it because it's proven to be very strong and easy to clean up once it's cured.  The picture on the right is how it looked after I roughly shaped it and added two pieces of purple heart to thicken the handle.  To reinforce it and make it easier to line up I used dowels.

After carving his initials into the handle I wanted to gild them with composition gold, commonly called  Dutch Gold which I like better since that reflects my heritage.  On a small project like this using quick size is the simplest.  Notice my improvised brush, just sharpen a dowel and then resharpen it for clean up!  The final steps were to seal the handle with a few coats of shellac that was followed by sanding in Mineral Oil as a food safe, protective finish on the entire peel.  Mineral Oil is what you should also use on your cutting boards since it won't go rancid like cooking oils will.
    Finally, here is a shot of the completed peel.  I tapered the front edge using spokeshaves and a block plane.  I can't wait to see his reaction to his gold engraved peel, beats the heck out of that gold watch you may get when you retire from your job! 
 Happy Birthday Richard !!

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