October ought to offer a brief respite following the end of the busy summer sales season but no … now we’re getting ready for two holiday bazaars that will take place in late November and early December. Our stock of turned wooden coffee scoops had been depleted over the summer so it was back to the shop for Ted.
Ted has been making coffee scoops with turned wooden handles for a number of years, and they are still as popular as ever. They make a perfect gift for those who enjoy and savor their daily coffee, and with a 1 tablespoon scoop they are equally nice for tea drinkers. The scoop is made of polished stainless steel with a titanium nitride plating. This is the same durable plating that is often used on drill bits. Unlike brass, it will not tarnish.
Ted starts by cutting thin strips of contrasting woods. The strips vary in thickness depending on the effect that Ted wants to create.
The strips are then layered and glued together in a process known as lamination. Ted uses polyurethane glue, usually Gorilla Glue, and clamps the strips together before setting them aside to dry for about 4 hours. In the photo below, the blank on the left is awaiting its turn on the belt sander, where the excess glue and uneven edges will be sanded flush. The blank on the right has been squared up and has a hole drilled the length of the blank to accommodate the scoop mechanism.
Working at his wood lathe, Ted turns each blank into a handle for the scoop. The handles differ in appearance due to the way the contrasting woods were combined. Their shape also varies, as Ted turns each handle individually without a pattern and selects a shape that complements the colors, wood grain, and figure in each blank. Some people prefer a slim handle that tapers at the mid-point. Other prefer a heftier handle. We have some of each.
After he has a number of handles turned, Ted walks them into the shop’s finish room and starts the lengthy process of applying wipe-on gloss polyurethane finish. Each handle will receive at least six coats of finish, with each coat allowed to dry and then wet-sanded to create a smooth surface to which the next coat will adhere. Occasionally he can get two coats of polyurethane applied, dried, sanded, re-dried, and finish re-applied in the span of a day but generally this is a one coat per day process. In the following photo, this collection of handles has been sanded and set aside to dry.
Assembling the finished coffee scoops doesn’t take long. The scoop kit contains three parts: the scoop itself, and a collar and end cap for the wooden handle. Ted epoxies the metal components of the scoop into place and sets the scoops aside overnight so that the epoxy has time to cure properly. “Five Minute Epoxy” is a misnomer, by the way.
Use and Care: Wash with mild soap and water. Dry with a soft cloth or towel. Don’t put the scoop in the dishwasher or allow it to soak in the sink.