Utensil for Mixing and Spreading

Published: 2023-11-14

Only rubes buy things from the store. They don't realize that you can make a worse version of everything at home for free. All it takes is hundreds of dollars in tools, hours of manual labor, and forty-seven individual trips to Home Depot.

As stated elsewhere, I have a favorite spatula. Recreating this spatula has become a very important part of my procrastination strategy. I want to work on my book, but... the spatula.

I'm a hand tool plebe. This is my setup:

Turns out I can saw exactly this far before needing a break.

Eventually I make it through. Looking back now, I'm endeared by me from 3 days ago's ambition. I thought I'd make a set of spatulas. So young. So full of hope.

The spatula so far:

Rather than do more sawing, I try Paul Seller's technique for removing a ton of waste with a chisel.

I make it pretty far, but have to give up on the final chunk due to some knotty grain. There's a limit to how much hammering I can do in my apartment "shop" (me sitting on a yoga mat on the floor).

The spatula so far:

Tuning up the spoke shave

This professional cool guy built the apartment friendly "work bench" I use. He also generously sent me a bunch of tools to encourage the hobby. One of them was a classic 151 spoke shave. Tuning and sharpening is a right of passage for the hand tool woodworker. I begin.

Getting off the bulk of the gunk.

First round through the paper and coarse stones. Not super great, but getting there.

An absurd amount of effort later: a pretty okay-ish edge is established. It was my first time sharpening one of these. Compared to a full size plane iron, I found it super fiddly and tough to get right.

Spoke Shaving the Spatula

Once I finally figured out that the bevel goes the other way, things started working pretty well.

The spatula so far:

I never quite figured out how to smoothly use the spoke shave on tight corners. My solution was just stabbing it over and over. There's some chisel in there, too.

Maple was an unforgiving first wood to try carving. Going against the grain is punished.

This is about the point that I abandoned the spoke shave and started using planes to fix all the chatter. Eventually, I gave up with that and just started fixing all my mistakes with 80 grit sandpaper.

Eventually I work my way through the grits up to 320. Where I stopped and finished with tung oil.

It's a thing! Kinda!