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The tapered sled makes it easy.
Wednesday is the evening of the homemade pizza at our house. Everyone likes something different, so each of us makes our own pizza to size. My favorite is the hot Italian sausage with tomatoes, mushrooms and mozzarella. The ready-made crusts make it especially easy and you can bake them directly on the oven rack.
Restaurant chefs use pizza peels to slide pizzas in and out of ovens efficiently. As a home pizza / carpenter specialist, I decided to make my own peel. Not only was it fun and easy to make, using my peel makes me feel like a real chef. All I need now is the proper chef’s hat.
All you need to make your own peel is a board for the handle and blade, a couple of thin accent strips, a 12 ″ plane, and a simple, tapered, store-made sled. The completed peel measures 12-3 / 8 “wide by 24” long, perfect for handling 12 “pizzas. Its wide corporate end is called a blade.
Build the peel
Starting with a 3/4 “by 6-1 / 2” by 24 “board, tear a 1-3 / 8” strip from one side to create the handle (Photo 1). Then use the large scrap to create the blade pieces. Mark the center line and draw a small radius at each end, on opposite sides, then make a single S-shaped saw cut to create a pair of pieces with a rounded (outer) shoulder and a transitional (inner) shoulder.
Create the tapered sled
The sled is simply a base with a tapered platform that holds the skin at an angle as it passes through the plane (see Fig. A). The platform consists of three long rails that taper from 3/4 “to 0”. To create consistently tapered rails, join three 3/4 “by 3/4” by 24 “blanks, using double-sided tape. Bandsaw the long taper and smooth the cut edge by sanding. Then separate the guides.
Glue the front stop to the front edge of the base. Glue the tapered rails to the base of the sled with the high ends against the stop. Glue the front support strips between the top ends of the tapered strips. These strips support the leading edge of the peel when planing. Lay the peel on the sled and frame the handle by gluing the blocks on both sides and back. This frame correctly places the peel on the sled.
Taper the peel
Drill and countersink a hole in the end of the handle. When the peel is done, you can use this hole to hang it on the wall, but for now, use it to screw the peel to the sled for added security (Photo 3).
Start gliding (Photo 4), feeding the blade end first. Make light passes to avoid tearing. Continue until the tip of the blade is 1/8 ″ thick. Round off the corners on the front edge of the blade.
At the top end of each accent strip, extend and align the transition curve from the blade piece to the handle. Round the sharp edges and make the handle comfortable to hold (Photo 5).
Use a sander or plane to smooth the front edge of the blade to a thickness of 1/16 “or slightly less, so it’s easy to get under the pizza (Photo 6). Finish sanding and add a coat of mineral food oil to beautify and protect the wood.
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