Coming from the old world a Kraut Pounder was used to make sauerkraut. This is basically fermented cabbage. To make it properly you need to pound the cabbage in its container and release its juices. While there are many ways to achieve this, a turned wooden kraut pounder makes the job a lot easier.
This tool is going to receive a beating. You want a harder wood to stand up to the use and one that will not add anything to your cooking. I grabbed a piece of larch firewood that I thought would give me the right diameter. Larch is a hard conifer.
There is a pounding head at the bottom. This is about 2 1/2” in diameter and fits larger jars. There is a handle that gives the pounder some height. This gets the pounder into the bottom of the jars without the user smashing their knuckles on the top of the jar. The knob at the end is easier to grab.
The bottom of the kraut pounder is rounded to facilitate the pounding. I also rounded over the knob on the other end in case the user needed to work with a jar that had a smaller opening. So the knob is about 2 1/4″ in diameter and will fit into a regular mason jar.
Turning a piece of firewood can be tricky. I estimated the center point of the piece of wood and set the lathe on its lowest speed. This was a challenge to turn round and I would recommend shaping the wood a bit more than I did before putting it on the lathe.
To turn the “firewood” safely I positioned the tool rest next to the wood and rotated it by hand before turning on the lathe. Once you have turned some of the wood you can use the turned section to position the tool rest close to the wood. Keeping the tool rest close to the wood helps you control the tool and limits the impact the uneven wood has on your tool tip.
Once you have it mainly round the turning goes much faster, and safer. At this point I increased the speed on my lathe to the next level. It is nice having a quick way to change speeds on the lathe.
The piece of firewood is about 15” in length. I only needed 11” for the kraut pounder.
So once the piece was round I paused to layout the general design on the wood. The head is about 3 1/2″ in length. The knob is about an inch and the remainder is the handle in the middle. X shows the area of waste wood.
I used my roughing gouge for most of the shaping work getting the head and handle close to the right diameter. I used my skew chisel to create a nice smooth and slightly rounded surface to the head of the kraut pounder. I also used the skew chisel to create the rounded end on the head as well.
The handle needs to be balanced between strength and utility. The larger the diameter the greater the strength but smaller hands find it easier to grab a smaller diameter. This one is just over an inch in diameter and seems well proportioned.
The knob was turned to 2 1/4″ and shaped to suit the pounder. Top and bottom were turned down to a fairly small dimension.
I increased the lathe speed again, then proceeded to sand the kraut pounder. I did my usual sanding routine. For this project I kept the design simple and clear. I did not include any burn lines or other ornamentation that would make it harder to clean.
To finish the kraut pounder I use a food safe orange wax. Everything is done and now we just have to wait for the cabbages.
When finishing turnings that will be used with food or in the kitchen you should use a food safe finish. There is a lot of controversy over what is and is not food safe. I would recommend using food safe ingredients just to be careful. This video shows you another food safe wood polish that you can make at home.
Kitchen utensils are always needed. There is no specific season for working in the kitchen. However, you might want to stock up before Mother’s Day and Christmas. Remember to have between 3 and 5 of each item available. Most customers are not comfortable buying your last one.
Selling more than one product that is used in the kitchen gives you more opportunities for upselling your products. That is, if a person buys a rolling pin then a honey dipper could be suggested as well. These items would also be at different price levels giving variety and affordability in your selections.
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