How To Make Pizza Peels
I recently found a whole sale hardwood distributer in my area that sells offcuts from millwork runs really inexpensively, so I picked up some cherry strips to batch some more pizza peels. The cherry was in 12’ lengths so the first thing I did was cut it down to a reasonable length on my miter saw station and mill two sides on my jointer. One square pieces like this I like mark which corner is machined square so I don’t lose track of it. Then I ran it through the planer to bring them to a true square before cutting down to the length I need. I’ll be laminating some maple and purple heart to the cherry so I go ahead and cut those to size as well.
My bandsaw isn’t large enough to resaw the full width of these, so I only glue up the middle section for now. After resewing, I’ll add the maple to the sides and bring them to full width.
Glue ups are seldom perfect, so I go ahead and run this through the jointer and planer to make sure both faces are flat and parallel before I start resawing.
I start resewing by making cuts on the table saw. This reduces the depth of the cut on the band saw and is the only way I have found so far to beat blade drift on the bandsaw. Because the maple sides are much narrower I’m able to completely rip them on the table.
My buddy, Andrew, also does a lot of woodwork and was nice enough to let me come over and use his thickness sander, which saved a lot of time sanding. But these could have been cleaned up using light passes on a planer, any hand sander, or even hand planes.
Now to finish gluing everything together. On thin pieces like this I like to use tape to help keep everything aligned, but they were still big enough I could put them in clamps. Light clamping is all you need on something like this though, too much pressure and it’s easy to bow the boards.
After the glue dried it was time to lay out my design. There isn’t really a science or formula to this. I just use different tools and shapes until I come up with a shape I think will be pleasing. Then rough cut it out on the bandsaw, and sand to the line on my oscillating sander.
At this point it’s really just about the finish touches. I put a hole in the handle so the peel can be hung up if someone wants to store it that way, and round over the edges with an 1/8” round over in my trim router. I added the bevel using my random orbit sander, but you could use a belt sander, rasps, files, hand planes, nearly anything. Then I ran up the grits to 150, that’s when I like to wet the wood to remove most of the sanding dust and raise the grain, before finishing at 220 grit.
I just used mineral oil to finish this. I didn’t want any kind of film finish because it’s made for hot steamy pizza to be put on and people may also slice the pizza on it. The mineral oil is enough to bring out the color and also prevent the wood from getting saturated with oil or grease from the pizza, so long as it gets reapplied occasionally.