My grandson, Dylan, from Colorado is arriving today to spend a week with us in Ohio. I had been working on several wood working projects that he and I might do while he was here. I even made one project that my son, Eric, and my grandson could do together -make race cars - but I think my son has other plans.
What I did find that I think might be a good introduction for Dylan to wood turning is a spurtle. It involves turning a maple spindle into a thin, foot-long kitchen utensil. Although most of the samples I have seen include a definite handle section and a slightly tapering stirring section, there really are no rules. If he can learn to use a roughing gouge to make the stock round and a spindle gouge to make some combination of beads and coves, he should be able to make a spurtle. I bought two three-foot lengths of maple so that we can try making a spurtle. We'll see if Dylan is interested in this kind of a project.
The utensil is said to come from Scottish and northern European cultures and evolved into its present shape as an effective tool to stir oatmeal, porridge, or soups. It is also popular today since the wooden utensil does not scratch the surfaces of the pans.