Pizza night is a time-honored tradition in many families. Whether your family’s approach is something from the frozen section at the grocery store, a take-and-bake from that place down the street or a colorful concoction starring your own homemade dough, sauce and veggie/meat combinations, you’ll need to slice it to share it. Turning your own pizza cutter handle as a tool for this task adds a touch of class to the occasion.
You won’t need much wood for this project — which, it should go without saying, makes a great gift idea. Glue up your scraps to make a blank, or take advantage of the opportunity to purchase an inexpensive turning blank and try a material new to you. We recommend that the blank you choose can produce 1″ minimum diameter finished size — but the length and the shape are up to your imagination and sense of style.
You’ll find the actual slicing blade, plus a 5/16″ threaded insert, available as the Pizza Cutter Turning Kit at www.rockler.com (item 34913 for chrome finish; item 55423 for pewter). You’ll also need a threaded mandrel with a 1″ shoulder and 5/16-18 threads (item 43469, also available at rockler.com).
Your first step for the pizza cutter handle blank is to drill a 1/2″ hole into one end. Mark the center of your blank to determine the location of this hole, and bore the hole using either a drill press or a handheld drill.
If you have a Jacobs chuck for your lathe, put it in the headstock. If you don’t have one, go ahead and start turning the handle between centers. If using a Jacobs chuck, screw the threaded insert that came with your Pizza Cutter Kit into the hole you just drilled now, using an Allen wrench. A few drops of CA glue will help the insert stay put for the short and long term. (And, if you’re using acrylics for your handle blank, heating the threaded insert first will make for easier installation.)
Next, you’ll want to mount the threaded mandrel onto your lathe, using a Jacobs chuck (about a $60 accessory). Mount the blank onto the mandrel, and move the tailstock over to make contact with the handle blank. You’ll need to make sure your blank can spin clear of the tool-rest.
Now it’s time for turning your pizza cutter handle to your desired shape. This is an opportunity for creativity, as you can choose a shape that’s attractive to you and feels comfortable in your hand. Stop turning every so often and check the “feel” of your handle to see if it’s what you want. You could also add some decorative elements, such as lines cut into your handle with a parting tool.
Since the mandrel’s 1″ shoulder matches the diameter of your hardware, you have a visual guide to know when the blank is turned down to the size you need to correctly match your handle to the hardware.
At the point when your blank is a size, shape and feel you like, stop turning and start sanding. Sand through the grits, up to at least 220-grit.
You can also apply finish on the lathe. Wipe-on shellac would be one option, as would a CA glue with accelerator.
Your final step in creating your pizza cutter is to use the threaded portion attached to the blade and spin it into the grooves of the threaded insert mounted into your blank. (Insert it now if you didn’t earlier.) Be careful when assembling the parts — that 4″ pizza slicing blade is sharp!
You now have an attractive accessory for your pizza — any way you slice it.
Looking for a place to store your pizza cutters? We have a great plan for a pizza cutter block too!