2021 Christmas Gifts: Guitar-shaped Pizza Peel

Published Friday, December 31, 2021 by Bryan

Just before I started Christmas gift work in September, I made myself one last tool: a pizza peel. Just as I was starting that project, our group text thread got noisy, so I dropped a picture of the just-planed maple slab on my workbench into the thread. It was meant as a sort of "AFK", but this happened:

Chris and I have spent many evenings handing guitars back and forth, playing music for our families. After using a chunk of maple from the same stack last year to build an actual guitar, I suppose the question was only natural. But it was such a good idea, I just couldn't let it go.

And so, the "Epicalzone" was born. This is a menagerie of wood. The body is book-matched cherry surrounding a "through neck", also of cherry. The "fretboard" is maple, with purple heart "frets". The "bridge" is bloodwood with a maple "saddle". And the "sound hole" is wenge. I was really digging through my stacks looking for fun colors in useful sizes.

I don't normally do much ornamentation on my work, so inlay is not a skill that I'm experienced with. For the sound hole and the bridge, I first shaped the piece, then carefully traced each piece onto the body. I used a trim router to remove the bulk of the waste, and then carefully nibbled up to the line with sharp chisels. After the glue had set (food-safe Titebond III), I used a card scraper to bring them flush with the body. It went so much better than expected that I almost considered adding more (a rosette? a pick guard?) before the anxiety of a future mistake caused me to declare completion.

The frets are, of course, in the proper position for the 19" scale length from nut to bridge. I kept them simple otherwise, though. They're exactly the same width as my table saw blade's kerf (almost dead on 1/8"), so I could quickly cut their slots on my crosscut sled. Before gluing the fingerboard to the neck, I also pulled out the sanding blocks from last year's guitar project, and gave it a 12" radius.

The logo is hand-burned. I spent a while thinking up a suitable pun (another thing Chris and I have spent many evenings sharing with our families), and then found a clean version of the Epiphone logo. With my laptop's screen brightness set as high as it would go, I laid paper over the letters, and traced pieces of their shapes to make up the c, a l, and z that I needed. To get the outline onto the headstock, I used the at-home crafter's carbon copy: I rubbed pencil graphite all over the back of the paper, then retraced my drawing with the paper laying in place.

Just like with the LEGO box, I had such a good time making this. Each little addition just made me giggle with the thought of taking the joke just a bit farther. I hope it transfers many tasty pizzas on and off the grill. Merry Christmas, Chris!

Categories: Woodworking