Introduction: Striped Salad Servers

About: Freelance mechanical engineer from the Bay Area.

This post depicts my process in making some "striped" salad servers out of walnut and cherry.

This is not officially a step-by-step guide, but it can be if you apply the steps from my Walnut Cooking Spoons Instructable.
These two projects are so similar that I figured I would be writing the same Instructable over again if I wrote a complete guide for this post. But, I still wanted to share these "striped salad servers" because they are only slightly harder to make then regular spoons, but about 5 times more awesome!

The only real difference between making these salad servers and the spoons in the other tutorial is one extra step right at the beginning:

Instead of taking your stock wood and putting it right on the lathe, first you will be making a laminate.
(A laminate, in woodworking anyway, is just a cool word for gluing some wood together.)

Rip some thin slats out of your favorite wood on a table saw. I used walnut and cherry because they both have really nice grain and are very different colors (so the stripes will be very obvious). The thicknesses of these slats is totally your aesthetic decision, just know that the more you have, the messier and more laborious the actual laminating (gluing) process will be. I used 3 slats of each type of wood, and varied the thicknesses for a natural look. This gave me 6 slats total, yielding an overall thickness of about 3 inches.

Also, I'll just put it out there that you can use as many types of wood as you want. I only used two because Im a poor college student, but these servers would look even more interesting with, say, a different type of wood for each stripe!

If you have a good table saw, theres a chance you can just glue your slats together as is. If you still have some bumps, blade marks, burns, etc, on your slats though, I would recommend joining both sides of every slat. Your laminate is eventually going on a lathe, and will be spinning at 2000 rpms, so you want to have pretty tight, strong glue joints so your piece doesn't fly apart. Also, your lathe bit could catch a joint-edge, once again causing your piece to fly apart if your joints are not tight.

(I dont mean to scare you away from making these servers; I dont actually know if those things will happen, but those were just the thoughts floating around in my head as I decided whether or not to join my slats on the joiner first.)

Anyways, after I ran each side of each slat through the joiner, I used a tac-cloth to get rid of the sawdust, and then started the glue-up. I applied wood glue to both sides of each slat and rubbed it in with my finger. I used quite a bit of glue, and so it was really hard to get all the slats lined up with each other. The elmer's glue creates an almost frictionless layer between each slat, so when I clamped the piece, as I tightened the clamps, the slats started moving around and slipping out of alignment. I was really nervous that I wasn't going to be able to get everything aligned again, but after I added more clamps at different angles and positions I got every thing straightened out... phew! nerve-racking

I was so nervous when I came back the next morning to see how it turned out. I had bad dreams about my slats moving around during the night, but thankfully, everything was more or less aligned the next day. 

I trimmed the rough ends of the laminate on a chop saw, and then marked rough circles on the newly-cut ends so I could trim off some of the edges on the band saw to make it easier to lathe. (these cuts were not the normal 45 degree cuts you normally make for lathe pieces because my stock was not square, it was rectangular)

I marked the centers of the ends, and then fit it in the lathe and started cutting!

After several hours, I had the shape I wanted. The handle was a little over an inch thick, and the bowl was about as wide as I could make it (right around 3 inches). I cut the work piece lengthwise down the center on the band saw which gave me two symmetrical salad server shapes. I trimmed the scrap off of the ends and then started shaping on the belt sander. 

After I was happy with the general shape of the servers, I got out my dremel and sanding drum bit and started carving out the bowls. This took much longer than the other spoons, because each bowl was like twice as big and had to be deeper. Soon, after burning out several dremel bits, I gave up and switched to a mill and a ball-endmill bit. The milling took maybe 10 minutes per bowl, much faster!

Once the bowls were generally shaped the way I wanted, I went back to the dremel to clean the rough edges up. 

On one spoon, I traced out some 'fork tongs' and cut them on the band saw, then sanded them to dimension. 

I added a little decorative accent on the ends of the handles with the band saw and belt sander.

To finish them, I sanded them with progressively finer grits, going up to 600, then did a tac-cloth pass to get rid of all the saw dust. 

I used a "salad-bowl finish" to finish and seal the spoons. Salad-bowl finish is non-toxic, and dries really hard when it seeps into the wood, so it's great for food-grade woodworking. You can use it for sealing basically any wood kitchen products, from chopping blocks to kitchen spoons. 

I applied a coat of finish, let it dry overnight, then buffed it lightly with fine steel wool to get more of a matte finish. I wiped it with a tac-cloth to remove any metal fragments.

Done! The next step is to make a salad bowl to match...