Rolling pins construction #1: Using 15 degree wedges to make a rolling pin

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Blog entry by MonteCristo posted 06-09-2012 06:16 PM 9497 reads 5 times favorited 6 comments Add to Favorites Watch
no previous part Part 1 of Rolling pins construction series Part 2: 30 degree wedges rolling pin »

Of the two rolling pins I put in my projects list, the top one is the one most people prefer. It looks more complex than it is, always good if a guy is trying to make a few dollars at craft. (Out here on Vancouver Island, people expect craft to be cheap . . .)

The first thing to note is that all the wedges are either 15 degrees or twice that at 30 degrees. In the latter the grain runs along the line of the middle of the wedge. This is al to honour the fact that a glue joint is only strong if it has mostly long grain on BOTH pieces.

The wedges are cut and organized with alternating dark and light woods which fan out from an axis perpendicular to the axis of the rolling pin. It makes sense for some to be 30 degrees because the wood used stays the same and two 15 degree pieeces would be silly. This arrangement of wedges automatically means that the central 30 degrees (15 degrees eiher side) will be a short wedge that only spans a short distance along the surface of the rolling pin. The 15 degree pieces that border this central 30 degrees (one on each side) will traverse further along the surface of the rolling pin (basic geometry) and the next 15 degree pieces even more.

Some may note that my “central 30 degrees” is actually two 15 degree pieces. I did this because I only had small pieces of Hick’s yew and a single piece was not possible.

Make sure to cut the wedges to approximate length in accordance with the phenomenon outlined above. They can be trimmed later . . .

One key observation is that the pattern can be thought of as two pieces that are flat on the bottoms that are then joined together. That is, a guy sticks together enough pieces to make two bigger pieces, each spanning 180 degrees (6×30 degees, where SOME of the 30 degree elements will be 2×15 degree pieces).

Note that there is SOME freedom in which pieces you stick together to make a 180 degree piece, but you can’t just choose any old 12 pieces because in a few cases it make sense to use a 30 degree wedge insetad of two x 15 degree ones.

You want to end up with two (approx) 180 degree pieces so that you can then flatten them “perfectly” and then join them to complete the blank you put on the lathe. Basically, unless you’re incredibly good/lucky/both, you will not hit 180 degrees bang on just glueing up a selected bunch of wedges.

Obviously one has to be as carefull as possible with all this wedge glueing up as clamping them is a real bugger. If you have to plane the approximately 180 degree pieces too much you will blunt the area where all the wedges meet and it will look lousey. This was my first (and only !) one of these and you can see it’s not perfect.

The lathe work is basic. The geometry of wedges intersecting a cylinder does the rest.

I turn the handles out of a complimentary wood and include a stub tenon. I then use a parabolic bit (drills end grain well) and make a motise in each end of the pin body.

I hope you can follow the above. Send a PM if you have any questions and I will try and answer.

-- Dwight - "Free legal advice available - contact Dewey, Cheetam & Howe""

6 comments so far

View SteveMI's profile


1094 posts in 3289 days

#1 posted 06-09-2012 06:34 PM

I’d like to see some pictures or link to the project,

View altendky's profile


169 posts in 2204 days

#2 posted 06-09-2012 07:43 PM

View lew's profile


12052 posts in 3750 days

#3 posted 06-10-2012 02:02 AM

Thanks for the explanation! I see it now!

-- Lew- Time traveler. Purveyor of the Universe's finest custom rolling pins.

View a1Jim's profile


117090 posts in 3571 days

#4 posted 06-10-2012 04:05 AM

thanks for the blog but with out photo’s I don’t get it. thanks for sharing

-- wood crafting & woodworking classes

View BenI's profile


332 posts in 2172 days

#5 posted 06-10-2012 04:21 AM

Yeah, I’m a very visual person so if possible, picture would help understanding a lot. thanks for the explanations though

-- Ben from IL

View MonteCristo's profile


2099 posts in 2183 days

#6 posted 06-10-2012 06:53 PM

Sorry, the photos I put under projects is all I have right now. If I make another I will take some photos

-- Dwight - "Free legal advice available - contact Dewey, Cheetam & Howe""

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