Master bladesmith Walter Sorrells takes on a different challenge in this video: making a spatula handle. Old tools and gadgets can easily lose their handles, but that doesn’t mean they should go in the garbage – everything can be salvaged, with the right skills. Here, Sorrells puts a new handle on a vintage kitchen spatula.
Sorrells says this is a nice, simple project and the same process can be used to put a handle on a knife or other kitchen utensils, so this is still useful for those into knife-making. The spatula he’ll be working with was handed down to his mother from her mother, and is around 70 years old, so it has sentimental value.
First off, Sorrells takes off the old handle on the spatula by grinding off the old rivets. Underneath, he finds that there are holes for three rivets on the tang, despite that there were only two on the handle. He’s going to replace it with a handle made of rosewood. Rosewood is now on the endangered list so it’s harder to find, but he got this piece ages ago back when rosewood was still being imported from Brazil. It’s a popular kind of wood for making musical instruments, but any other kind will do.
He says he’ll be using some power tools in this project, but any hand tools will do just as well. He splits the wood lengthwise using a band saw then takes it to the disc grinder. Sandpaper accomplishes the same thing: the goal is simply to get the wood flat enough so there are no gaps between the handle and the tang of the spatula.
He then drills holes into the wood following the measurements on the spatula so that the holes all align perfectly. He cuts pins from brass stock using a hacksaw and hammers them into the holes right through one of the two pieces of wood. Then he trims the excess from the handle scales, giving them a little extra space because it’s impossible to get fully straight, flushed handles. He shapes the edges of the wood, because it will be difficult to shape it once it’s attached.
Sorrels then attaches the wood pieces to the handle using epoxy, and hammers the pins home. He uses a clamp to make sure the pieces fit together tightly and cleans the squeezed epoxy with solvent. He then takes the spatula to a belt grinder to finish the handle’s final shape and finishes the work off by sanding until the rosewood gleams silky smooth. Then he simply waxes — no need for varnish, poly or anything, and the spatula looks as good as new.