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Making kitchen accessories in your workshop is both fun and rewarding because you can frequently make these items for a fraction of what they cost to purchase and they often last much longer, not to mention they can be made to be far more attractive than the run-of-the-mill commercial versions. For many woodworkers making these kitchen and dining accessories can turn into at least a part time and sometimes even a full time job in making these and selling them at craft fairs, swap meets and farmers markets.
Everyone loves pizza, which is why the Pizza Peel is such a popular item. It's especially valuable if you have younger children or for people who have limited mobility as the peel is a much safer and easier way of removing a pizza from a hot oven. The one I made had a little bit wider handle especially suited for this cause.
In my case I wanted to make mine look a bit more appealing than just using plain wood. I also wanted to laminate my to help make it a little bit stronger. The woods I selected ..
.. were contrasting woods to help give the pizza peel a bit more of a stark look. I selected Purple Heart and Holly for the trim and used one of my favorite woods, Red Alder for the rest of the tool.
The real challenge in making my Pizza Peel was that the Holly wood was so very twisted. The best way to use twisted wood is to cut it down in to the smallest components you can get away with. This way you help to preserve as much of the wood as possible, and hopefully you will have enough to do the job. The Purple Heart and Holly are great together, very stark and contrasting woods.
The actual Pizza Peel is not difficult to make, after you have your pieces planed to thickness and size, it's just a matter of gluing them together. You will likely not be able to use dowels or biscuits as the the wood will probably be to thin to accommodate them, and you don't really need them.
The thickness of wood I started off with was 1/2 inch which is given as the uppers size thickness for making these pizza peels. I felt that after it was glued up and ready for sanding, that the 1/2 inch was thicker than what I liked. I decided to plane mine down. I know, many of you are saying .. "sure, easy for someone who has a 15 inch planer", but a couple of notes here.
It is harder to glue up 3/8 inch boards, which is one of the reasons I went to 1/2 inch, so if you only have a 13 planer you could make a smaller pizza peel. The other alternative that I have used many times, and still do from time to time. When I have some wide to plane, I take that board to one of the cabinet shops in my area and get them to plane it down for me. They are often pretty fair in their pricing, and if you work you charm a bit ... make friends with them, you may find they will do small jobs like this for little or no money ... IF you reciprocate in some way. Coffee break, or lunch break treats can go a LONG way to getting them on your side.
In the end, I trimmed my pizza peel down to 3/8 thickness and was much happier with that size. I found that it is easily strong enough to manage even large pizzas but the tool it'self is easier to hold and manage.
In terms of finish, the best finish for any wood product used in the kitchen is no finish at all, but we always like to enhance your wood projects, at least in their first few uses, and make them look attractive. And if you are selling these, one the bit appeals in show they look, so some sort of a finish on them will help them look great too. What you use for a finish is up to you, there are lots of choices so check the article and video on cutting board finishes ... and have some fun using your pizza peel.
Copyright Colin Knecht