Sunday, June 18, 2017

How to Make Wooden Salad Tongs

For the perfect green salad you need the perfect pair of salad tongs. These handmade wooden tongs are just the ticket.

These great tongs can be used for more than salad—how about retrieving a slice of toast from the toaster, or lifting an ear of corn from the pot. An added bonus is that they fold flat for storage. Let's get started, and make a pair.

Supplies for the Salad Tongs

  • 12" x 3" x ¼" food-safe hardwood (I used maple, but cherry would be another option.)
  • 1½" length of 1/16" brass rod
  • 2 5/8" brass washers
  • 2 bamboo skewers

Equipment for the Salad Tongs

  1. Using the table saw, cut the wood into two 10¾" x 1¼" strips.
  2. Move the work to the band saw, and cut two 5" kerfs on one end of each tong piece. Refer to the accompanying drawings.
    Finished kerfs
  3. On Piece A cut 2" from the outer slats using the band saw.
  4. Move the work to the scroll saw, and on Piece B cut 2" from the center slat.
  5. Sand the pieces using the Delta sander with 150 grit sandpaper.
  6. Soak the pieces in water for an hour. Weight them down so they don't float. I used a food storage container filled with water.
  7. After they have soaked, wedge a piece of the bamboo skewer under the center slat in each piece. When the wood dries, these will form the "spring" for the working tongs.
  8. Heat the pieces (with the skewer still in place) to dry the wood. Keep the heat gun moving so you don't scorch the wood. This step is optional. It dries the surface of the wood, but you still need to set the pieces aside overnight to dry thoroughly.
  9. The water bath may have slightly raised the grain of the wood, so when the pieces are thoroughly dry finish sanding use the Delta sander with 220 grit sandpaper.
  10. Using a 1?16" bit, drill a hole ½" from the top and centered on the side of each piece for the brass rod.
  11. Line the pieces up with Piece A on the left with the center "spring" facing up. Piece B is on the right with the center "spring" facing down. Fold Piece B to the left so it rests on top of Piece A. 
  12. Thread the brass rod through the holes, adding a brass washer on each side of the center slat.
  13. Trim the brass rod almost flush on one side. File until it's flush. This will flare the end to hold it in place. Repeat the trimming and filing on the other side.
  14. Close the tongs, and mark the inside bottom edges. Adjust the table of the band saw to 45°, and cut a taper on the ends of each tong piece.
Here are pictures of the finished salad tongs.

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