Turning Artisan Tableware


Our line of Artisan Stainless Steel Tableware is the finest we have ever offered.  It consists of a full range of serving and eating utensils, perfect for special occasions. Each piece is forged from 18-8 stainless steel and hand polished to a fine luster.  The fit and finish is truly top notch. They feature a robust, one-piece bolster and tang design.  This provides a very solid attachment point for the handle, and makes turning easy.

For this how-to, I’m going to turn a handle for the bread knife, but the process is the same for all the tableware. I recommend using a dense hardwood or acrylic blank and the size of the blank will largely depend on your design.  I’m going to use a 1″ x 1″ x 6″ Cocobolo blank for my bread knife handle.

We’ll start by drilling the hole for the tang.  Measure the widest part of the tang, up close to the bolster to determine the diameter.  I’ll also measure the length of the tang.

I like to drill on the lathe, so I’ll mount the blank in a set of pen drilling jaws. Using a slower speed, around 2,500 rpm, face off the end of the blank, making it slightly undercut so it will fitly tight against the bolster.

Using a skew flat on its side, make a small dimple to help align the drill bit. Mark the tang length, plus an 1/8” extra on the drill bit with tape. Then drill the hole.

I’ll use the skew again to create a chamfer on the hole.  This accommodates the flared area where the tang and bolster meet. Next, I’ll turn a waste block with a square shoulder and 3/8” long tenon that fits snugly in the drilled hole. Mount the drilled end of the blank onto the tenon and advance the tailstock.  Be careful not to overtighten the tailstock, it’s easy to split a small blank like this.

Before we continue, let’s take a look at the bolster.  The bolster is oval shaped, which means there are a couple of design choices.

You can turn the blank to the largest diameter of the bolster, and fair the sides with sandpaper to match the oval shape, or I can leave it round and add a nice transition detail, like a bead.

I’m going to leave it round with a bead transition. Then I’ll finish turning the handle to shape.

Sand the blank up to 320 grit and remove all the sanding dust.

When selecting a finish, keep in mind that this project will likely see a lot of use, so we recommend something durable.  I’ll be using Arm-R-Seal because it’s easy to use and extremely durable. Using a paper towel, apply one coat, wiping off any excess and allowing one hour to dry. Now, apply a second coat and allow 24 hours to fully cure.

Finally, use steel wool and some clear paste wax for a smooth, close to the wood finish.

Apply some CA glue or epoxy to the hole using a toothpick to spread it around the sidewall.  Then, insert the tang until the handle seats right up against the bolster, and let the glue cure.

Now you’ve got an heirloom quality piece perfect for special occasions.

Supplies Used:

Skew Chisel
Roughing Gouge
Spindle Gouge
Abrasive Sheets
Arm-R-Seal Finish
Steel Wool
Clear Paste Wax

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