The French Rolling Pin
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I love watching my Carpenter make french rolling pins and other items on the lathe. If you contemplate the time it takes to build that skill… If you let it seep into your soul how much real time it takes to create an object, it can build in you a deep appreciation for what a craftsman does. In a world that is full of convenience and factory/machine made products, we forget the deeper beauty of a handcrafted item. We forget the love and labor ingrained into its design. Whether it be a quilt, a can of jam or a rolling pin, the care put into a handmade item brings a warmth and joy that simply can not be instilled into a product that is made in a factory with a million others just like it.
Wood especially is an interesting medium. It seems so rigid and hard yet it is alive. Wood changes with climate, it can soak in moisture, it can move as it simply sits… trees may look so similar when you stare at a forest full of them but every tree and therefor every piece of wood is unique and beautiful. When we start working with a piece of wood we always hope for a specific outcome but what we get in the end sometimes fits that hope, sometimes exceeds it and well… sometimes it ends up in the “fancy firewood” pile.
Why a French Style Rolling Pin?
A few years ago I was watching a cooking show (I have no idea which one) and they talked about the benefits of a french rolling pin. I had an American style (handles on ends with ball bearings that allow the middle to roll). It was not a rolling pin that I enjoyed. I couldn’t feel the thickness of the dough or pastry without lifting up the pin and feeling the dough. Since I also have arthritis issues with my wrists and fingers, gripping the handles was not comfortable.
So, when I heard about the French Rolling Pin I wanted to try one. Being that I don’t like to spend money on myself….well, I never got one. When we started Lady and the Carpenter a French Rolling Pin was put on the top of the list of items I wanted us to make (for obvious reasons).
I had the privilege of testing out and keeping the first couple of prototypes and LOVED them. I could feel the thickness of the dough and it was gentle on my wrists and hands. After adjusting the taper and finding a diameter that felt comfortable to use we were ready to sell them. (To visit our store CLICK HERE) They are a hit! Even those who have a french rolling pin admire their beauty and mention how much they love theirs..
Soon after the final prototype was complete, a friend of mine was over for a visit and loved my new rolling pin but wanted a smaller version. She lives in a small space with tiny counter tops and a 20″ pin was simply too long. So, we made her a 14″ pin and gave it to her to test out. She loved the rolling pin…so the 14″ rolling pin was created.
Now, we not only sell the 20 and 14 inch rolling pins, but we also created these wonderful rolling pins made out of exotic wood combinations.
The day after these rolling pins were made we sold all but one of the purple heart/ wedge wood rolling pins! So, needless to say the Carpenter got to work making more. The purple heart and wedge combination is gorgeous and makes a heavy rolling pin. This rolling pin is so dense that is doesn’t even float. This makes is a beautiful and heavy pin that is nice for rolling out any kind of dough. Our second most popular french rolling pin is this oak and purple heart pin. There is something about that deep purple wood that people (including myself) loves. However, since I still have my maple rolling pins, and they are still gorgeous, I can’t justify “stealing” one of these to go in my kitchen.
How To Make a French Rolling Pin…
Below is an instructional video of the process of making a rolling pin. I include instructions throughout. It is simply easier to explain this kind of process in a video. Enjoy learning about how to make your own french rolling pin. If you would love a rolling pin, but don’t want to make your own, come visit our store at secure.ladyandthecarpenter.com
(Please keep in mind that this is the first video I have extensively edited on my own and published so… it is a bit rough)
We do not give specific measurements throughout because this is intended to be a basic outline for making a french style rolling pin. However, the final dimensions for the rolling pin created was 20″long with a middle diameter of 1.5 inches and end diameters of 1 in.. There is a 4 inch taper on each end. When making your own customize yours to fit your tastes.
In the video we refer to starting with a round piece of stock. See how The Carpenter makes a round dowel from square stock. Here is that video:
Hope you enjoyed the tutorial and the behind the scenes look of how to make a French Style Rolling Pin.
If you would like to purchase a Rolling Pin created by Lady and the Carpenter visit our store at ladyandthecarpenter or click the picture below