Tag Archives: Tiger Maple

As the Spurtle turns….

This past weekend I was busy in the shop working on a variety of projects. Sunday I spent most of my day doing some wood-turning at the lathe.

A favorite warm up project of mine is to make a traditional wooden spurtle.

Variety of Spurtles
Variety of Spurtles

What’s a spurtle?

A spurtle is a traditional Scottish kitchen tool that dates back to the middle ages. Traditionally made from maple this utensil is often used to stir soups, and beat the lumps out of porridge.  If you are not big on porridge, it also works well with a wok and will not damage your pots and pans.

Dan turning on the lathe
Dan turning on the lathe

Over the weekend, my friend Dan Farnbach stopped by the shop for a quick lesson on the basics of spindle turning. He was a quick study and picked up a lot of the basics.

Roughing Gouge
Roughing Gouge

I learned about turning Spurtles from my friend and master wood turner Rich Friberg (NBSS PC2 Instructor). It’s a great way to make use of small pieces, produce something usable and explore design possibilities. For this piece I like how the small beads echo the light and dark similar to what you see in the curly figure itself.

Handle Detail
Handle Detail

A good spurtle is generally about a 10-12 inches long, held in the hand similar to a pencil or chop stick and stirs using a wrist action. I tend to like the designs that flair out a little bit at the bottom and are well balanced in the hand. Beyond that, the design possibilities are endless. The spurtle shown here is made from curly maple and finished with mineral oil. With use the finish can be renewed with more mineral oil or salad bowl oil.

Completed Spurtle
Completed Spurtle

If you make some spurtles of your own, make sure to share some pictures with us. If you get really good at making and using them you might want to enter the World Porridge Championships and compete for the Golden Spurtle.

Good luck and happy turning!

ADMINISTRATIVE NOTE:
Earlier this evening many of you may have received a partial post related to Sloyd showing a partial table — that was an accidental misfire wherein a draft got posted prematurely. But fear not, I do have some more Sloyd related posts coming up soon.