I designed and made these tools for an event at the Embassy of Switzerland in Copenhagen. My studio and I made the brick fireplace seen in the images and decided that we should celebrate the completion of the project by cooking for everyone who came to look at our work. This instructable documents the process of making the tools. These tools are dimensioned specifically to fit the fireplace that we designed so I have concluded the instructable with a proposal for how the toold could be used on an open fire with no built surround.
Step 1: Shopping List
All prices for this project are based on sourcing the materials in Copenhagen so the chances are that you will be able to complete this project for cheaper elsewhere. You will need:
OAK - source the oak from a local timber yard and ensure that it responsibly farmed. You can also choose to use a different timber, Ash is ideal for tool handles.
STEEL - to make the same quantity of tools as I did at the same size you will need 15 meters of 8mm profile steel.
LEATHER - the handles are wrapped in black leather, I sourced this from a local leather supplier in Copenhagen, alternatively look to eBay for offcuts, again feel free to choose your favourite colour(s).
EPOXY RESIN - buy from any good hardware shop, don't buy the cheap stuff.
NAILS - tacks to attach the leather to the handle, choose ones that you like the look of, but ensure that they are not longer then 11mm!
Step 2: Workshop Requirements
I am lucky to have access to an amazingly well equipped workshop. This instructable is a documentation of the process by which I made the tools, but experienced makers will see that almost all steps taken can be achieved to the same standard with a basic set-up.
For this build i used:
- Table Saw
- Band Saw
- Wood Lathe
- Milling Machine
- Thickness Planer
- Timber Planer
- Chop Saw
- Angle Grinder
- Metal Files
- Sand Paper
Step 3: Preparing the Oak
Take the oak, you will need around 50x50x300mm for each handle, each handle ends up being only 160mm but the extra 140mm makes the lathing and milling possible, the off-cuts will also be great for future projects. Make each piece 600mm to be cut in two at a later stage, this will make the planing process more efficient. Most thickness planers also require a minimum length of 500mm.
1. Plane the oak on one of the widest sides and one of the thinner sides, this will provide the flat sides for the thickness planer.
Step 4: Thickness the Oak
1. Take the oak that you just planed and put it through the thicknesser, never remove more than 3mm in a single pass. Continue to do this until your timber is just 35mm thick.
Step 5: Chopping the Oak
When working with oak, a good tip is to set your table saw blade higher than normal. This may seem like terrible advice when working with such a potentially dangerous tool, however the increased downwards push from the raised blade will help to ensure a clean cut each time when working with a timber as dense as Oak.
1. Cut the oak length ways down to 600mm pieces.
2. Cut the oak width ways on a bandsaw, this is a rough cut but aim for a straight cut 50mm wide.
- By now you should have 4 pieces of oak 50x35x600mm.
Step 6: Final Thicknessing
1. Take the 4 pieces of oak just cut back to the thicknesses and remove material until you reach 30x30mm sections.
Step 7: Rounding the Handles
If you are in an extremely well equipped workshop you may have access to a 'stick rounder', if not, you will have to do these steps the old fashioned way on a lathe or machine mill. I cheated and used the stick rounder for half of mine because of time pressure, but the images above show both techniques.
1. Take the oak, cut the 600mm lengths down to two at 300mm.
2. Mark the centre of each end of the sticks.
3. Place the sticks on the lathe and gently remove material until you end with a round profile. unless you are a master wood turner, it is likely that your end profiles will be closer to 28mm than the desired 30mm.
Step 8: Machining Indents for the Leather
I decided to remove a section of the timber so that the leather on the handles would sit completely flush with the oak, this is a matter of design preference so feel free to skip this stage if you would prefer to have the leather sitting proud of the oak.
1. choose an appropriate rotation speed on your milling machine for oak, remember it is a very hard timber. Be certain that the tooling bits are clean from any metal work and very sharp for a clean cut.
2. 35mm from one end machine a channel 2mm deep running for 60mm along the handle. This will likely be best achieved on 2/3 passes.
Step 9: Chopping the Handles in Half
See the jog I used in the image above. It is extremely important that this cut is accurate for the quality of the finished piece.
1. Cut each of the 8 handles in half using a bandsaw with the oak sitting on a sacrificial jig.
2. Label each half after every cut so that you know which one is which when you come to put them back together. This is important because mismatching components will show up from inconsistencies in milling and differences in the grain of the timber.
Step 10: Cutting Channels for Metal
The reason for cutting the oak in half is that the metal cooking spears run the whole way through the handle. and it is not possible to cut a 160mm square hole. A router could be used just as well as a table saw for this job.
1. Measure the width of your table saw blade.
2. Set the blade to 4mm above the table surface.
3. My blade is 3mm, so each component will require 3 passes to reach a channel at my desired width of 8mm, mark the channel width onto the timber before cutting. Check and recheck with callipers, this step cannot be undone.
Step 11: The Metal
1. Take the 8mm Steel profile and cut it to 1260mm lengths.
2. Sharpen these lengths on one end. This is best achieved with a metal belt sander, however tests with an angle grinder were also pretty effective. These need to be sharp enough to poke through whatever you decide to cook on the spears.
Step 12: Putting the Parts Together
1. Take the metal components and wedge them into the channels in one half of the oak that is currently cut in half.
2. Cover in the epoxy resin and stick the two halves together. Hold them very tightly using masking tape and leave a few hours to dry (follow instructions on the adhesive packaging).
Step 13: Leather Handles
1. Wrap the leather around the handles sitting in the milled channels. Stick it down using your epoxy resin and three nails at the end.
2. Sand the handles down to a 320 grit.
Step 14: The Rest
As stated at the start of these instructions, I made these tools specifically for a brick fireplace that I made along with my studio. Now to tackle how you will rest the tools over your open fire. I mocked up a metal frame that could also be used (seen in the image above). It is a simple metal frame with legs. Use the remainder of the 8mm steel profile to make your stand.
Step 15: The Project Completed
Here are some images from the completed project. I shared this build both both as a list of instructions for others to build something along the same lines, but also because I see Instructables as archive for peoples work. I love to scroll through peoples projects both looking for builds to replicate and for inspiration to do more projects off my own back.