Introduction: Dollar Tree Pizza Peel
I made a pizza peel very cheaply.
I recently bought a small patio pizza oven, and my peel is too wide to fit in the mouth of the oven, so I needed a smaller one (10" or less).
I set myself a challenge to make it with things I either already had, or that I could buy very inexpensively.
The Dollar-Tree Pizza Peel would be my goal.
The two main components are a piece of metal, or wood for the peel itself, and a handle.
I knew I'd be able to find what I needed at the Dollar Tree.
First I looked for a handle, and it seemed that everything was thin hollow metal or plastic until I found the Plungers in the cleaning aisle.
For the peel I first looked to see if they had a wooden cutting board, even if it would be thin. They didn't.
I then headed over to the bake-ware section where I found the cookie sheets.
These are the two components.
Other things I used were
-Sandpaper (I used the stuff from the dollar tree for this too)
-Nuts and bolts (I think these were from a different Dollar Tree project)
-This may have been better if I'd gone with my original idea of using 1/2" self-tapping screws, but I thought they may be less common for other makers.
-Angle grinder with a cut-off wheel (Tin snips would've also worked)
Step 1: Mark Out Roughly What You Want to Do
I used a sharpie to mark where I would cut the handle after discarding the plunger end.
Holding it up to the baking sheet, I traced a rough profile into the wood and mirrored it on the other side.
I roughly outlined what I thought would e a subtle curve on one end of the cookie sheet. having a curve is nice on a peel because it makes turning the base easier while it's in the oven, especially with sides on the pan.
The steel of the sheet is very thin, so I wanted to keep as much of the lip at the sides as possible for strength.
Step 2: Cut the Pieces
I made rough cuts, first with a jig saw on the handle. A scroll saw would've been better, but this is what I had at hand.
I used an angle grinder with a cut-off wheel for the pan. It made short work of the thin steel, I also have tin snips that would've done the job, but I think the grinder was better for the lip at the sides.
Step 3: Clean Up the Rough Cuts.
For the pan, I actually just used the same cut off blade to de-burr the edge of the metal, and finished with the file and sandpaper. Note to self: The sandpaper at the dollar-tree isn't good. It did the job, but I'd recommend gloves as the metal edge sliced through a couple of pieces. Work the top and bottom separately, and only lightly take the edge off with the sandpaper. I used the file on that part too. Be sure to file the corners back, especially on the rim so as to avoid snagging on anything.
I was able to sand off the sharpie, and take smooth out the wooden handle pretty well (or so I thought)
Between the file, sandpaper and angle grinder, you can easily get a satisfactory finish.
Step 4: Attach the Handle
The pan was a 9"x13", so I measured the outside dimensions of the short side to find the half way pint to be at 4 7/8" from the top lip. Using the handle for reference, I tapped two holes where I would be attaching the handle, and punched a couple of holes with a drill bit.
I then drilled the holes through the pan and handle. This is where I'd planned to use some self-tapping screws. I kinda wish I had because I made the mistake of trying to balance things while I looked for the nuts for my bolts on my messy workbench and I dropped the pan, and something heavy onto it. You'll see I have some lovely dents, but they're at the handle end so they won't cause any issue. I also bent the end a little, but was able to manipulate that back. Don't do any of that part.
Anyhow, I drilled the holes a little too small, and drove the bolts through, fastening them with nuts on the underside of the handle.
I could trim those with the cut-off wheel, but I didn't want to risk leaving a sharp edge.
Step 5: Fin
This is finished for now.
We'll see how it holds up. It seems plenty sturdy for a 9" pizza. Peels and fired pizzas are for Neopolitan/Napoli style pizzas anyway, so it shouldn't be loaded up.
You can see in the picture where I dropped it, but up close it doesn't look like it'll cause any problems.
If I were making anything bigger, I'd have wanted to use something more sturdy for the handle too.
I will likely season the pan a little, but it seems like it will work just fine for my little oven.