Wooden Spatula
cherry wooden spatula

I made spatulas like this in 2008 as Christmas presents. The wood is cherry and the finish is food safe mineral oil.

Designing a kitchen instrument that looks like a spatula is amazingly difficult. Like drawing a face, your eye will immediately identify problems with the design.

We have a wooden spoon I use to make eggs. I find it difficult to scrape the eggs off the bottom of the pan because the radius of the end of the spoon is too tight, so I wanted something relatively wide and straight. I was unwilling to do carving or steam bending for this project. With those constraints in mind, I started trying to make spatulas.

Here was my first attempt. I just free-handed a design and cut it out:

wooden scraper

Looks like a paint scraper! Rejected by my wife.

I went to one of my books on Shaker designs, looking for a spatula. I did not find a spatula, but I found a really cool looking snow shovel. Maybe I could make a spatula that looked like that!

wooden scraper

Too small to clean the driveway; too ugly for the kitchen. Rejected by my wife.

After this, I sought help. My brother-in-law, an avid cook, suggested that spatulas work best when one side is flat and another is curved because then you can scrape a highly curved pan or the straight side of a pot. Oh, that’s why they look like that!

Googling turned up some nice wooden spatulas. Nearly all of them looked too “hippie” for me, with extraneous curves. My wife noticed that all the nice looking ones had something that mine did not. They all have a “neck.” The handle is slightly more narrow where it meets the body of the scraper.

My sister, the design major, sat on the phone with me and we sent electronic pictures back and forth. After spending some time in Visio, I came up with nice curves and a defined neck:

wooden spatula template

Now I was a lot closer. I took it into the kitchen and tried to make some eggs. I had a lot of trouble getting the eggs off the bottom of the pan. I took it back in the shop and sanded a bevel onto the end and now it works great.

Time to start making them from cherry instead of hackberry.

Daddy,  Can We Play in the Workshop?

If hand tool woodworking is your passion, you may enjoy my children's book, Daddy, Can We Play in the Workshop?