With the first project effort behind me, I went looking for a second small craft item to turn on the Delta lathe. There are about a thousand great projects to do, but I was looking for something with a little flair. Luckily, a trip to the local Rockler store never fails to provide. There, my dad and I found a pizza-cutter kit on sale for $15 and a bit of olive wood — just the thing we needed.
Stopping by Rockler in my family is a little like sending grown men into a money hole. We normally go in pairs to keep the other one from spending the grocery money on rare woods and tools. On this occasion, it was even worse, as the local shop in nearby Richardson was holding CNC routing and turning demonstrations. After drooling over the displays and checking out a few demos, the paternal unit and I stumbled across Rockler’s excellent pizza-cutting kit that features a large steel-cutting roller and mounting hardware. All you need to do is supply a handle.
The display above the kit had one built out with olive wood that looked so good we had to try it ourselves. So another $5 for a turning blank, and we had ourselves the makings of a very heavy duty pie slicer. We are aware that you could pick one up at the store in the sub $5 range, but that really wasn’t the point here.
Roughly an hour later, we managed to wipe off the drool, stumble to the exit, and make our way home where the old man promptly mounted up the olive turning blank and picked up one of the gouges to start knocking the corners off, using the lowest 250-rpm speed on the bottom gear.
As both a son and a father, I can say that the feeling you get working with your dad is almost exactly the same when it’s the other way around. Be it cleaning the truck, woodworking, or yard work, they dig it as much as you do. I don’t think I’ve seen him that eager to play in my shop before, but away we went, making a pizza cutter handle of all things.
After it was round, a quick twist of the speed dial on the headstock got us up to around 450 rpm and I took over to work the shape, the old man looking over my shoulder, giving cues on how to work the edge of the gouge and where to let off to avoid stopping the piece on its axis.
After some debate over what looked better, the shaping was complete.
During the last project I wasn’t aware that finishing on the lathe worked out so well, so this time a regimen of sanding, high grade steel wool for buffing (750rpm), and a good coating of tung oil (250 rpm) resulted in the olive wood taking on light, honey finish with a nice sheen.
Adding the hardware the next day rendered one very expensive, custom pizza cutter. It looks great, and we had a great time in the shop building it. It’s amazing what quality tools and a little know-how will do for you — even if it is just a nice-looking stick with a wheel on it.