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Making Your Own Equipment

Turning Stick

It is very easy, and fun, to make your own turning stick. My uncle made one out of a wooden shower rod, which I still use today. I’ve carved one out of a solid piece of wood, but the version I will describe is easy to make and looks good.

Any solid hardwood will work. Do not use plywood, or any other engineered wood, because it will have sharp edges that can catch on the lefse and tear it. These instructions are for making the bottom (dark wood) stick.

Summary of Steps

  1. Cut the blade to dimension.
  2. Shape the tip.
  3. Route a round over edge along both sides (full length).
  4. Cut the two handle pieces to size.
  5. Glue them on.
  6. Round over the handle.
  7. Sand and apply oil finish (if desired).

Detailed Instructions

These instructions are for this stick.

1. Cut the blade to dimension.

The goal is get a rectangular block of wood to 22½″ long by 11/8″ wide by 3/16″ thick. The method you use to get this blade to size is up to you (it is going to vary depending on the tools at your disposal and skillset). However, it is possible to do this with a good handsaw (designed for finish work such as dovetails) and a block plane.

2. Shape the tip.

Click the above photos for a larger view. Use your block plane and sandpaper to roundover the tip of the lefse stick. This design was constructed so that the bottom of the stick is perfectly flat (similarly to the way wood chisels are made).

3. Route a round over edge along both sides (full length).

In other words, you are making a wooden sword so that you have a sharp edge to sneak underneath lefse. Again, take care to unsure the bottom is flat. You are removing wood only on the top side of the blade.

4. Cut the two handle pieces to size.

You can see that I made the handle narrower than the blade. Do not do that. It was a failed experiment; the handle works better if you have more to grip.

5. Glue them on.

Clamp and let dry for 30 minutes.

7. Round over the handle.

Use a router, plane, or sandpaper to soften the hard edges on your handle.

8. Sand and apply oil finish (if desired).

I use butcher block oil or lemon oil.

 

Lefse Board

It seems a little strange to have instructions on how to make a lefse board because it is nothing more than a scrap of plywood. However, knowing a few details will get you started off on the right foot.

I like plywood for the board because it is more stable (less likely to warp due to humidity) than solid wood, however the quality of plywood is horrible these days. More than anything else, your board must be dead flat. You are going to be rolling out VERY thin lefse and if your board has a bow or arch to it, your lefse will be thin in spots and thicker elsewhere.

Most purchased lefse boards are round. This is perfectly acceptable, but I like to do things a little differently. By having a rectangular or oval board, you’ll have a spot to leave a little mound of flour within easy reach. Also, because your custom board will be bigger than the commercial ones, you’ll have more flexibility about where to roll out the dough.

These instructions are for making an oval board. The trickiest part is drawing a perfect oval. If you simply want to “eyeball” the oval, go for it. Otherwise you are going to need some way to draw it. If you have access to a large format printer, then draw an oval in Photoshop and send it to the printer. You can use that printed template for your jigsaw.

I had to go the mechanical route and construct an oval drawing “machine”. This took about one hour to make.

Board Cloth

I was able to sew a very passable board cloth but I must admit I know nothing about sewing or the proper technique. Take these instructions with a grain of salt.

The fabric you choose should be fairly heavy so that it holds flour well. A bed sheet is too thin, a towel is too thick.

Marking a line on a piece of fabric.

Using a compass makes scribing the line quick and easy.

  • Lay your board on top of the fabric.
  • Scribe a line 3” (7.6 cm) outside of your board.
  • Cut the fabric on the line you just made.
  • Sew edge over so it doesn’t fray. I used some goofy foot that came with my sewing machine to do that.
  • Now fold the outside edge in about 1¼ inches and sew either a sturdy string or piece of elastic in.
  • Now is a good time to stick some rubbery feet on your board so it doesn’t slide around the countertop.

Using elastic is pretty nice, especially on round or oval boards. On the other hand, if you already have some string or thin rope lying around you’ll never have to worry about the elastic going bad.

Bottom of lefse board.