Ever since buying a new grill at the start of summer, I've been on an unstoppable grilling kick. The great grill extravaganza of 2019! Anyway, I picked up one of those grilling forks for a dollar at the dollar store to add to my grill tool collection and the handle looked far too lame to be sitting on my grill. So I thought I would take off the plastic handle and replace it with a custom turned wood handle. This is my story.
$1 dollar grill tool (available at the dollar store)
dremel type tool
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Step 1: Glue Up a Turning Blank
My last project was a cutting board style tray, and I had a little bit of that same wood left over that was not used on the tray. So I glued up the four pieces I had into a square to make a good turning blank. I clamped it up and let the glue dry for a few hours. Then I took it back to the table saw to cut both ends flush, to make sure the lathe would have a good place to grab onto it.
Step 2: Turning
The wood used on this project is all cedar, and I was very curious how it was going to turn on the lathe. It's so soft, so it was very easy to remove the bulk of the material. That part went super fast, but I was not left with a smooth surface. So I turned it down to the shape I wanted, then did some pretty aggressive sanding. Way more sanding than would be necessary with a denser wood. Not a big deal, though. I just worked my way through the different grits of sandpaper until I reached the smooth finish that I was happy with.
I put on a few coats of butcher block conditioner, which is basically mineral oil. It really brought out the color and beauty of the wood.
Step 3: Attaching the Tool to the Handle
Before attaching the grill tool to the handle that I made, I first had to remove it from the plastic home that it was purchased in. Pretty simple, really. I just sawed off the bulk of the plastic part, then just kept sawing away at it to weaken its grip until I was finally able to break it off.
This is where I ran into the unexpected. I thought it would be a round piece of metal at the bottom of the fork, and I would just be able to drill a hole to put the two pieces together. But it turned out to be the "V" shape that is the entire neck of the tool. So I used a rotary tool, like a Dremel, to slowly cut into my handle in the same shape as the piece of metal. This took a bit of patience, but I just took my time and slowly removed wood until I was happy with the way it fit.
Then I mixed together a two-part epoxy and filled the hole with it. I put the two parts together and let it sit. I could have probably just waited a minute or two, but I was leaving anyway, so I gave it several hours to fully cure. I am happy to report that it is an extremely strong bond. Very secure.
Step 4: Grill It Up!
That's all there is to it. Now there is nothing left to do but grill up some delicious food.
It was such an easy project, that my only regret is not making an entire set that all matched. But that will give me something to work on during the next rainy weekend.
Have a good one!
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