Summer is just around the corner and my family enjoys spending the evening around the fire pit every now and then. I wanted our kids (4 years and 2 years) to be able to enjoy roasting their own hot dogs and marshmallows. There's many ways to do this age old classic. And if you found yourself sitting around a fire in a hurry to make some like these, you could simply duct tape metal forks to sticks! Might not hold up as well over the long-term but it'll work.
I put these together with the thoughts that: 1) Using a fork provides a much better hold on the food. Your perfectly roasted hot dog or marshmallow slipping off into the fire is always a bummer. 2) Kids can eat directly off them, once they've cooled a bit of course. 3) Not having a single, long, sharp skewer will hopefully lessen the risk of anyone getting hurt since they're pretty good at using forks.
If you don't have old mismatched silverware laying around, you should be able to pick some up at the thrift store really inexpensively -I paid a quarter for each.
- Branch about 1½ inches in diameter
- Metal fork
- Gorilla Glue (polyurethane glue) / nails
- Sharp knife
- Drill & drill bits
- Clamp / vice / clamping pliers
- Angle grinder
- Safety glasses
Step 1: Find a Stick
In choosing a stick, you'll want to make sure it's nice and strong and not something that will easily break if stepped on. Too big and it becomes heavy to hold for extended periods especially for the little ones, too small and it will be difficult to put a big enough hole in the end. I selected branches that had bends and divisions in them because I wanted the roasting sticks to still look like branches when finished. Otherwise you might as well buy a wooden dowel. Once you've selected a nice stick use the saw to cut it down to the length you want. I made mine a little under 3 feet. The important things to consider are that it puts you far enough from the fire (so you aren't the one being roasted) and that it isn't too heavy to comfortably hold.
Step 2: Make It Nice
Now you can spend some time prettying up the stick(s) you've chosen. Use your knife to scrape off rough bark and whittle it down. Then sand it to make it nice and smooth especially at the handle. A belt sander with 60/80 grit sandpaper or even the angle grinder makes this go a lot faster if you're wanting to get them done in a hurry. When you're satisfied, you can rub the stick down with a little oil and let it soak in to make it even nicer. I used boiled linseed oil but mineral oil, or even any cooking oil will work fine. Just make sure to wipe it down well so it doesn't feel greasy.
Step 3: Put a Fork in It
On the fire end of the stick you'll want to cut it down nice and flat. Center punch a divet (you can use a nail) to make sure your drill bit doesn't wander then drill a large hole about 1/4 inch wide and 1½ inches deep.
Now get out the grinder and safety glasses (always important, don't want a metal splinter in your eye). If you have long hair, jewelry, or clothing hanging, fix that. Clamp down the fork then grind down the handle end so that it will fit the hole you made in the stick. Let it cool before touching.
Test fit the fork into the hole. Though it may be a snug fit, with heat, it'll work is way lose and may fall out. So put a drop off water into the hole then add a dab of Gorilla Glue and jamb the fork in. If you don't have Gorilla Glue hammering in a nail or wedging in a sliver of wood to ensure things stay nice and snug should do the job.
Admire your work then let the kids enjoy roasting :)
*After using, I noticed the ends were getting charred from the kids putting the sticks too far into the fire. I've since wrapped the ends with foil.