Intro: Camp Fire Skewers for SMORES CONES!
This Instructable will show you how to make your own camp fire skewers that also hold smores cones. You can make your hot dog or brats as a main course and then have dessert with marshmallow smores cones over the campfire.
If you are unfamiliar with smores cones then you need to give them a try. Some people call them dessert cones or camp fire cones. You take ice cream cones and fill them with mini marshmallows and chocolate chips. Usually you wrap the cones in aluminum foil, but with these holders you can make them with or without the aluminum foil.
Making smores cones when camping or even when you are at home can be a challenge. These redesigned skewers let you make them two at a time.
Step 1: Materials and Tools
A lot of the parts I used to build these were items that I already had or had left over from other projects. I recommend that you customize this or other projects to use up some of your existing materials. For me it's a great feeling to use up left over materials instead of storing them for years or throwing them away. Also, it saves you money and you make room for the next big project.
- 1/8 inch and 1/4 inch diameter stainless steel rod
- 3/4 inch cherry dowel for handles
- Leather cord for hanging when storing
- Water based polyurethane for the handles
- Two part epoxy to glue the handles to the metal shaft
- 1" PVC pipe
- Water Based Polyurethane
The tools I used on the project were as follows:
- Tig welder - I used a Miller Maxstar STH 150 tig welder
- Bolt cutters
- Table saw
- Oscillating belt sander
- Rotary tool for grinding and polishing welds.
- Drill press
- Pipe wrench
- Leather gloves
- Safety glasses
- Dust mask
Not all of the tools in this list are required, but will make the construction much easier.
NOTE: If you plan on using any tool for a project please make sure you are familiar with the tool and all of the dangers associated with it. If you are not familiar with a tool then you should ask someone who is to show you the proper way to use it. A lot of communities have classes at local colleges on the proper use of tools and machinery. There are also local woodworking clubs that offer classes at very reasonable rates for beginners. I highly recommend using these resources for your safety and for the most efficient use of the tool.
Always wear eye and hearing protection.
Always work safe with the proper safety equipment and guards on your tools.
Step 2: Cut the Materials
I used two different diameters of stainless steel rods for this project. They were:
- 1/8" diameter for the skewers and circle areas
- 1/4" diameter for the main rod from the skewers to the handle
A lot of the pieces I used were from scrap pieces so they varied in length.
The length of the 1/8" diameter rods before bending a circle on one end were about 14 to 16 inches.
The length of the 1/4" diameter rods for the main rod was 36 inches.
Step 3: Bend the Circles
The skewers have a circle bent into them that will hold the ice cream cones for smores cones. Since you will be making quite a few of these bends it is very helpful and saves a lot of time if you set a few things up to make the circles easier. I clamped a few pieces of wood plywood blocks down to my welding table with just enough separation for the 1/8" diameter rods.
The 1/8" diameter roads are wrapped around a 1" diameter piece of PVC pipe. The pipe was just a small piece I got at a local home supply store. When you finish
I cut a slot in the end of the pipe and then cut a short slot at 90 degrees to that so the 1/8" rod can be removed after bending. The second 90 degree cut keeps the wire from sliding out of the slot until you take the tension off the wire. See the pictures and video showing how they are bent for more details.
I use a pipe wrench on the PVC pipe to give myself more leverage when making the circles. Trust me when I say this will make it much easier and give you a lot more control.
Make sure you wear leather or some other type of protective gloves and safety glasses when you are working with metal. Some of these pieces can be very sharp.
Here is the process:
- Place a piece of 1/8" stainless steel rod between the wood blocks as shown.
- Lock the end of the rod in the notch you created in the 1" PVC pipe.
- Rotate the PVC pipe with the pipe wrench. You will need to brace the other end of the PVC pipe against your body while you rotate it.
- When you have about 6" of the straight rod left you can stop rotating the pipe and remove the stainless steel rod.
- Get another piece of 1/8" rod and do it again.
Once you get in a rhythm you can crank these out pretty fast as the video shows.
I wasn't sure how many of these skewers I was going to building so I make quite a few extra pieces. I thought I was going to make 6 of these skewers, so I made enough of the pieces for 7 skewers. Originally I was going to have 4 points on each skewer and once I worked through the layout I decided that 3 points on each skewer was plenty.
Step 4: Cut the Excess Off the Circles and Tips
Now that you have all of the circles formed you will need to cut off the excess so you are left with only one loop of the circle.
Use a small pair of pair of bolt cutters to cut the excess off the circle. It's better to leave a little extra than cut too much off. We will be welding the end of the circle where you cut if off to the other sides of the piece to make it nice and solid.
Since the piece we just cut if off is not in the same plane as the side with the straight piece you will need to give each piece a slight bending adjustment to get them lined up. You can probably do this with your hands, but if you can't bend things into alignment with your hands then you should use a pair of pliers. Make sure if you do it this way that you wrap the stainless steel piece where the pliers come into contact with an old cloth or something so the teeth on the pliers doesn't cut into the stainless steel.
Once you have all of the excess cut off the circles you can cut tips to length. Since the longest thing I planned to put on the skewers was a typical hot dog I measured them to get a length. They were right at 5" long.
I took all of the pieces and cut them off at 5". That measurement was outside of the circle.
Next we need to grind a cone shape on the tips of the pieces so they can easily pierce a hot dog or marshmallow. I decided to use an angle of about 45 degrees so they weren't too sharp. I used a belt sander to grind down the tips to a cone shape. Make sure you do this before you weld everything together. It will be a lot easier to do this now then when everything is one piece.
You will also need to grind the same cone shaped tip on one straight piece for the center piece of the skewers. Leave this piece longer, at like 7 or 8 inches, so you can get the length right where it meets the center of the circles.
I gave each point a slight sanding on the belt sander with the point perpendicular to the sanding belt to take the very tip off of the points so there would be less of a chance of people poking themselves. They can be very sharp if you don't. With three very sharp points you basically have a mini trident and it can be dangerous for little kids. Be safe and dull that point a little. You don't want to hurt someone with your new trident and have to lay low for a while.
Step 5: Lay Out and Welding
Start the welding by talking one of the circle pieces and welding the end of the circular part you cut off to the start of the circle. I did a bunch of these for practice first before I went on to welding parts together.
Next you should lay your out pieces and clamp them down before welding so nothing moves out of alignment. You want to make sure the skewers points are parallel before welding.
Lay out the two outside pieces with one straight piece in the middle. The straight piece should end where it is aligned with the center of the circle pieces.
Once you have the two circle pieces and the straight center piece welded you can weld the 1/4" stainless rod to the head. Clamp everything in place so it doesn't move while welding. Once you have all four pieces welded together you can can flip them over and weld the opposite sides for strength.
It's easy to blow through the thin 1/8" diameter pieces when welding these so take your time if you aren't used to welding material this thin. It's is a good idea to practice on some scrap pieces before you weld your "keeper" pieces.
I used a Miller Maxstar STH 150 tig welder for this project. I used 1/16" thoriated tungsten in the tig torch with argon shielding gas. I had the gas pressure set at 12 psi and the current set at 30 amps. I also have foot pedal control for the welder which works amazingly well. The stainless steel filler rod I was using was 0.045" or 1.14mm. That some small stuff, but see to work better than the next size up.
I would love to hear from more experienced welders with thoughts on the settings. I have very limited experience and I feel like the settings could be adjusted a little to make the welds come out better.
Once all of the pieces are welded together you can clean up the welds by using a grinding wheel on a rotary tool. You can get rid of any bulges on the surface of the weld. If you don't have good coverage on the weld then weld the area again and add some filler. You want to make sure you fill in any joints or cracks where food particles could become stuck. This will make it easier to clean as well.
Step 6: Make the Wood Handles
The wood handles are made from 3/4" cherry wood dowels I had left over from another project.
I set up a stop on my table saw cross cut sled and cut them to a length of 7 inches.
I added slight chamfer to the ends of the handles so the edges weren't so sharp. I just lightly sanded the edges using my belt sander using a roughly 45 degree angle.
In order to drill the holes in the end of the handles I used a drill press and drilled 1/4" holes a couple inches deep in the end of each handle.
Since I planned to hang these from a hook in my garage I drilled a hole in the end of the handle that I can later add a leather loop to. I put this hole an inch from the end of the handle. I clamped a piece of wood 1 inch from the drill bit and then clamped a couple more pieces on each side of the drill bit to keep the handle positioned. I then clamped the handle down to the drill press table to keep it from moving or rotating.
I coated the handles with several coats of water based wipe on polyurethane with a light sanding using fine sandpaper between coats. This will allow for easy cleaning and touch-ups if needed in the future. I think it also makes the cherry wood look great.
I used an old board as a base for the handles to dry on after coating them with the finish. some scrap pieces of 1/8" stainless steel rod were inserted into the holes in the ends of the handle and then placed in a hole in the base board. This way all parts of the handle could have a coating of polyurethane without leaving a mark.
Step 7: Glue Handles to the Skewer Stem
If you drilled the wooden handle pieces with a 1/4" drill bit and then you should have a tight fit for the stem in the handles. The first time you push one of the stems into the handle it make not go in easily or at all. This may be from the cut on the end of the 1/4" stainless steel stem. If you used bolt cutters then the end of the stem might have a slight bulge or even a bit a stainless steel sticking out. You can take care of this by grinding the end as necessary. You can even grind the very end of the rod a little to put 45 degree angle on it so it slides into the handle easier. Don't worry about how pretty it turns out. The first couple inches of the metal stem will be inside the handle and you will never see it.
Next use a small grinder or a small grinder wheel on a dremel tool to make the part of the handle that will be inside the handle rough. Running it against a drum sander will also work. I also made some cuts with a metal file into the 1/4" rod. You can see these in the picture. This will allow the epoxy used to glue them together to have a better hold on the stainless steel.
Use some blue painters tape to cover the end of the handle to keep epoxy from running down the handle if you put too much in the hole. You can also put some of the blue painters tape around the stainless steel stem. If you do this then you want to make sure you do it while the handle is inserted in the handle before you add epoxy. That way you will get the exact location the tape needs to be and also know that it is pushed all the way into the hole in the handle.
Mark the handles to match up with the matching metal stem just in case you drilled the holes at different depth. I put extra blue painters tape on one handle and the matching stem.
Add a small amount of epoxy to the hole in the handle. I uses a 3/16" diameter wood dowel to spread some epoxy inside the handle hole.
Next put some on the outside of the 1/4" rod where it will be inside the handle. Don't add too much. If the fit is tight then you may have a lot of epoxy squeeze out.
Take the skewer and slide it down into the handle. Remove any excess epoxy as necessary while inserting the stem and once it is fully inserted. After the excess epoxy is removed you can carefully remove the blue painters tape from the handle and stem.
Now go through the same process with the other skewers. The epoxy I used set up very fast and reaches full strength in 12 hours.
Step 8: Add Leather Cord to the Handles
While you can hang these from a nail using one of the circles used for the smores cones, I thought it would be a good idea to add some leather cord loops on the bottom the handles.
I just ran the leather cord through the hole I drilled previously and tied a knot. Simple enough.
Step 9: Enjoy
Now that your skewers are finished you can put them to good use. Make sure you give them a good cleaning first.
We tested these out using a portable backpacking stove. They worked great and the smores cones were a big hit with the kids and adults.
Since you can roast a hot dog and a smores cone you can make your main course and dessert at the same time.
One things to note with the smores cones is that if you are worried about them falling out of the skewers you can wrap them with aluminum foil before you put them in the holders. That way if they fall out you won't have a mess everywhere.
We also made some cresent rolls. See the last picture in this step for how they look on the skewers.
We are looking forward to taking these with us the next time we go camping!
Let me know if you make some of these and post pictures in the comments section. I would love to hear your thoughts on the build and using them. I love constructive comments.
One thing you may notice is that I had a lot more parts than what I needed for the two skewers that I made. That is for a couple reasons. For one thing I like to have some spare parts in case I mess something up. Another reason is that I wanted to finish a couple skewers as soon as possible for an upcoming camping trip. I'll probably finish two or four more. I have enough parts to make seven total, but that seems like an odd number.