Intro: French Rolling Pin - No Lathe!
It's more common to see a normal rolling pin with the rolling handles, but making pizza (I know, pizza isn't French, but french fries aren't either, so who's to say rolling pins aren't Italian) with one of these just makes you feel fancier, and for some they are better and more comfortable. I've never seen someone make a rolling pin without a lathe, but not everyone (including myself) has a lathe or fancy power tools, so I set myself up to make this with just 3 hand tools total and some sandpaper, and it worked out quite nice!
Step 1: What You'll Need
- 18"x2"x2" Piece of ash, maple, walnut or other hardwood
- Food grade finishing oil or sealer
- Handsaw or hatchet
- Wood Rasp
- Sandpaper (80 up to 600 grit)
Step 2: Cutting Out the Template
Download the full scale template, print, and cut out and trace or glue it onto the wood.
Using a handsaw or a hatchet (whichever is easier for you), taper all eight sides (4" from the ends, going from 2" down to 0.8"), which will leave you with a semi pyramid shape. If you take more time now in making sure everything is squared properly, it will be much easier to make it round later.
*note: These templates are scaled to size, and the paper/page size is 20"x24", so
in case you have problems printing such a large sheet, I've attached another document (the one named RP_8.5x11) with templates that are cut in half, so you can print on normal size paper and put them together to form one design.
Step 3: Rough Shaping
With a rasp, begin to rough out all the square edges and corners, which will leave you with an octagon shape, from here it's super easy to just continue cutting corners till you're left with an almost perfectly round dowel. Now smooth out the transition where you cut the tapers, and round out the ends.
Step 4: Sanding and Finishing
Clamp your rolling pin to a table, and using a 4"x24" strip of 80 grit sandpaper (you can manage with smaller, but it's way easier with a long piece), take one end in each hand, and begin to see-saw (not sure what this method is actually called) cross grain, which will give you a pretty good round surface. Keep going over the entire piece, and occasionally unclamp it and roll it on a flat surface to look for any raised spots that will impede it from rolling smoothly. Now begin to sand along the grain to remove all the scratches from the 80 grit, and go up to 600 grit.
You could finish it with a food grade epoxy, but it's quite pricey and I don't really see the necessity, I usually just use coconut oil from time to time, and make sure you don't leave it soaking in water. If you do wash it, put it up vertically to dry so it doesn't develop harmful molds.
Step 5: Put It to Use!
Have fun and get to baking, or wrap it up and give it as a gift, your choice. They look exceptionally pretty if you use walnut, cherry, flame birch or other hardwoods, but since they're harder to find I used ash. Just make sure the wood is not very porous, and is suitable for food (pretty much all the same woods you can use for cutting boards).