Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Birch Spurtle

I recently rediscovered how much I enjoy eating oatmeal in the morning, and as I have been experimenting with making the real stuff, and not the "quick" (sorry William Penn look-a-like guy), I thought it would be fun to try making it with the traditional stirring tool - the spurtle. Or spirtle. Or thible. Or thivel. Or thyvelle. Or - never mind, let's just stick with spurtle (pun intended).

I started to look at designs on Google, but in the end I did what I almost always do and just let the tools, wood, and my hand guide me.

Here's the birch I started with - it's an air-dried scrap from a local saw mill that's been hanging around my shop for a couple of years waiting for me to start eating oatmeal again:

And here's what it became on the shavehorse:

Egads! Sandpaper! Yup - deal with it...

Here I'm demonstrating the intended grip for use stirring the porridge:

And a different angle showing how the form of the handle evolved - it is curved on the back to nestle into the web between my thumb and index finger, and has two angled planes meeting in a raised ridge or arris on the front that matches the crook of my thumb.

I tried it out the next morning with some Bob's Red Mill Steel Cut Oats and it worked like a charm - added some Vermont maple syrup - mmm, mmm!


  1. Good choice on the Red's Mill Steel Cut Oats. I got hooked on eating porridge in Ireland so I'm also partial to Irish style oats... I like the spurtle but not sure if I can give it much priority on my project list.

    1. Thanks Kyle - It was nowhere near the top of my list either, but it was the only thing on the list that I could complete in less than an hour, so it got bumped to the top. Plus, it was the only thing on my list that was related to food :)

  2. Dan, Kyle, Joe,

    Oh, you guys are making me hungry! Nice shape for the grip and stirring part of the spurtle.


  3. Dan, also the best tool for stirring the grounds in your french press for coffee as the wood soaks up the oils that cause a lingering bitter taste in coffee. I did a lot of spoon carving this summer as it is really easy to just sit on the porch and whittle, almost no prep and little clean up time.
    Hope life is great for you and yours, Dohnn

  4. Bob's Red Mill is one of our favorites. And for us, it's even better because it means supporting a local company. If you're ever in Portland during the week, they have tours of the mill at 10am each morning.



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