|Project by Stephen Mines||posted 04-29-2011 05:05 PM||4561 views||4 times favorited||8 comments|
I just saw the spurtle project that HAIRY posted…it moved me to document (as a LJ project) the spurtles going through my shop right now.
My brother Mike and sister-in-law Mary have a little tea shop in the lakeside (Lake Michigan) resort town of Montague, MI called PAISLEY PLACE. A few years ago they asked me to produce some spurtles for sale in the shop…this is the second batch I’ve made for them. The ones I’m making now are in Cherry Wood, but I also make ‘cauldron’ size (18”-24”) in Hickory Wood.
Here is a little incidental knowledge: food utensils/implements, if they are to actually be used with food, should only be made of human-compatible woods; a rule of thumb: fruit woods and any wood that produces edible berries, nuts, etc., are generally safe for food contact.
Spurtles that I make suffer a 48 hour immersion in mineral oil as a finish. Though this does make them look good and have a ‘velvety’ feel, it is primarily an actual preservative, protecting the wood from hot foods and daily cleaning in dish washers.
The finish on food utensils like this, in my opinion after a LOT of research, should be simply mineral oil…not just any vegetable oil (they’ll likely go rancid on the utensil if not used/washed every day). Even with constant, daily use, mineral oil treated wood utensils only need attention once or twice a year…and then just one hour immersion or even just wiping with a basting brush will sufice. Though mineral oil is comparitively expensive (it IS a petroleum by-product!) it is the best bet for this application…it is what most restaurants and butcher shops use to treat food-contact wood.
In addition to PAISLEY PLACE I sell spurkles individually in my eBay store (Studio Wood Products) as small (8”) medium (11”) and large (14”). I’m just now making up an eBay listing to sell all three sizes as a set. An excuse to turn wood (I love it!) into green (I need it!).
I actually run both lathes at the same time; the Hapfo is where I turn and sand the parts, and the Imperial is where I put the 18 1/8” X 5/8” flutes on the thistle top end. The thistle is, of course, Scotlands national flower. The Imperial is set on automatic; I just have to glance up to see the indexer…when it needs another part I stroll about 15’ and feed it. The IMPERIAL LATHE by the way, is a pattern maker’s lathe that I rescued from the metal scrap yard. It is a 1909, Aaron Machinery (out of Chicago) machine…think about that, over a hundred years old! It only had one on-off switch when I got it. After I taught it to do tricks it has the roll around control panel you see in the background. IDEA: you turners that want to kick it up to the next (affordable) level, keep your eyes peeled for an old pattern makers lathe…snatch it if you find it! Even if you don’t plan to enhance it the heavy-duty, industrial-strength build of a pattern makers lathe is a great asset. This IMPERIAL LATHE weighs in at just under 2500 lbs. (I know because I saw it on the scale at the scrap yard…I paid $1.00 a pound for it…cheaper than hamburger!). Feel free to contact me for advice if you need it.
The next to the last picture shows some hiking sticks (middle-ground) I’m doing a run of for WHISKY RIDGE TRAIL GEAR. These particular sticks are named BRAVEHEART and also feature the Scottish Thistle top end flutes as well as spiral cross hatching on the ball shape and hand hold below that.
-- Stephen Mines (Saltmines@aol.com)