Project Tutorials

Rolling Pin

Rolling Pin
Click image for enlarged view
Blanks for rolling pin

The blanks for all the rolling pin parts. A 3” square of hard maple, two hard maple squares for the handle shafts and two purple heart squares for the handles. The overall length of this pin is 22 ½”. The barrel is 12” by 3”, each handle is 4 ½” long. Rolling pins come in several sizes, just pick a size and turn your favorite cook one.

Centerfinder tool

I am marking the end of the blank for the barrel from all four corners to find the center.


To drill a starter hole for the spur center point I use a center drill pictures on the left. The center drill is double ended with a short straight pilot end and a 60-degree angle. Pick the size center drill that matches the drive center point you are using. The same size or smaller drill will work best. You do not want a larger center drill than your spur point or it cannot act as an accurate guide.

Centerdrilled and marked end

You can see that the corner lines differ slightly because the blank is not a perfect square, which is fine since we are making it round. To find the exact center of a piece like this always draw a line from all for corners and the exact center of the blank will be within the small irregular shape the four lines create.

The center drill hole should be small enough so the point of the spur will fit in it but not allow the spur tips to touch the wood until you apply pressure to seat them. The starter hole should not be so large the spur point cannot touch the sides. We want a guide for the spur, not a big clearance hole.

Seating spur center

Seat the spur into the wood on a solid surface with a soft face hammer that will not mar the spur itself. Never leave the spur in the headstock spindle and hammer a piece of wood on to it. A blow to the spindle itself will ruin the bearings in the headstock by driving the race and rolling elements together, causing dents in the race and flats on the rolling elements. If you abuse your equipment it will fail, take care of it and it will last many years.

Skew cut on endgrain

To center the tailstock end I true up the end. It can be slightly concave or convex. I just want a smooth surface.

Marking barrel end with pencil

Take a pencil or the point of the skew and make an indicator circle at what looks to be the largest diameter of the solid wood we will have after roughing. This gives you a visual indicator of how well centered the blank is. Stop the lathe and see if the circle is the same distance from the edge of all four flat areas. Adjust the blank until centered.

Roughing barrel

Start roughing at one end and work back across the blank to the other end. You risk splintering the wood out in sections by starting to rough in the middle of a blank.

Roughing barrel to left

When you reach the other end, reverse the cut direction to remove the remaining corners.

Peeling cut with skew

Using a peeling cut with the skew to form a tenon for the chuck. Arc the skew toward center to reach the desired diameter.

Squaring barrel tenon

To form a straight tenon, pull the skew to the side after reaching the desired diameter and the flare disappears. The jaws on a Stronghold chuck grip a straight tenon. Make the shoulder of the tenon straight or slightly concave.

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