I had a simple wooden back scratcher that I got as a gift years ago and it finally broke. For a couple of weeks I had been trying to find corners and rough surfaces to get my scratch on when it occurred to me that I should just make my own. So, here it is.
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Step 1: The Stuff You Will Need
You will need very few things to make this back scratcher.
- A couple of bamboo skewers
- A small piece of 1/4" plywood
- A scroll saw, band saw or laser cutter
- A drill and drill bits
- Some wood glue
- And maybe a diagonal cutters
I used MDF core Cherry plywood for my back scratcher because I had a perfectly sized scrap piece laying around. You can use whatever you have, but I recommend at least using Baltic birch plywood or any solid wood that is 1/4" thick. I would not use any construction grade plywood because it will be rough and difficult to get a nice smooth finish.
Step 2: Get Your Pattern
I have included free patterns that you can use. If you are going to cut on a scroll saw, a band saw or even by hand using a coping saw, there is a pdf pattern for you to print out and use. If you will use a laser cutter or cnc router there is an eps and a cdr file.
Download your pattern and fix it to the wood with spray adhesive or shipping tape if you will be sawing this yourself.
Step 3: Watch My Video
The video shows all of the steps plus I think it is kind of entertaining. So watch it! ;)
Step 4: Cut the Handle
Whatever method you choose to cut the handle, cut it out now.
You will need 1/4" plywood and a suitable means to cut it. The finished piece is 1.5" x 18", so select or prepare a piece slightly larger.
If you are using a laser cutter or cnc, the holes for the hanger and the scratching teeth will cut. If using another cutting method you will need a drill and drill bits. The holes for the bamboo skewers need to be just shy of 0.17" if using the same skewers I used. You may have to adjust this based on your own skewers. Alternatively you could use a 3/16" dowel. You will also need to drill a 1/4" hole in the opposite end of the handle for a hanger if you wish to hang it up. I used a bit of Para-cord I had lying around and made a loop and knotted it.
Using some 100 grit sandpaper, I smoothed up the edges.
Step 5: Cut and Sand the Scratcher Teeth
You will need to cut 9 pieces of bamboo skewer or dowel to 1.25" long.
Then using a little 100 grit sandpaper, hold the end of the skewer chunks at an angle and sand a bevel on it. The video shows how to do this.
Then smooth up the rest of the skewer if there are any splinters or rough spots.
Step 6: Glue the Teeth in Place
Now just using a little wood glue in a puddle on some cardboard, I just dipped the flat end of the skewers in the glue and then fixed them into place in the scratcher handle. That is it. Just wait for it to dry. It may be helpful to put a little waxed paper underneath when gluing so it won't stick to your work surface.
Step 7: Embellish and Add a Hanger
You could embellish your back scratcher like I did with the words, "Don't Be Itchy" or personalize it or put whatever design you like. I used acrylic paint as a fill for the engraving to really make the letters pop. If you don't have an engraver, use vinyl letters, paint with a stencil or freehand, or do whatever. I would really like to see how you embellished your back scratcher.
I also added a hanger, which is just a piece of Para-cord tied in a loop through the 1/4" hole.
Step 8: Scratch Away
The beveled teeth on this back scratcher are just right to get a good itch on. They are just sharp enough to make scratching feel really good but not so sharp that it should tear or injure your skin. It felt even better on my bare back!