Multi-Purpose Wooden Tongs

If you want a pair of wooden tongs but can't find a decent example in a store, here's a set you can make yourself.
By the MOTHER EARTH NEWS editors
November/December 1979
Add to My MSN

Diagram shows the materials, dimensions, and assembly method for the MOTHER EARTH NEWS wooden tongs.

Content Tools

Related Content

What Is the Best Kids' Wooden Toy You Have Built?

Wooden toys made by you for that special child in your life will be memorable gifts.

Can You Compost Black Walnut Hulls?

Organic farming research has found that you can compost black walnut hulls successfully, despite the...

Step by step instructions for DIY projects

Detailed instructions for do-it-yourself projects

Toys for Tots

Create memorable gifts for a youngster with a handcrafted toy or game.

Findin' a pair of wooden tongs can—in this day and age—be about like lookin' for a needle in a haystack. And if you are fortunate enough to locate a wood utensil, its quality will often leave a lot to be desired.

That's why Emerson Smyers (one of MOTHER EARTH NEWS' research department helpers) worked up this dandy little tool for his personal kitchen. He began by cutting and planing two 10" pieces of black walnut wood to 1 1/4" wide and 5/16" thick. Then Emerson set his table saw to cut 1/8" deep (such a setting—on that particular saw—leaves a 1 7/8"-long section of the blade showing above the table top), positioned a stop at a point 3/16" in front of the blade, and carefully pushed each length of wood flat and sideways across the arc of the blade to shape the cupped tong tips. (If you don't have a table saw, a carefully wielded coping saw or round file will accomplish this same task.)

With the tool's "business end" prepared, Smyers cut a 3/8" X 4 1/2" slot out of one of the walnut pieces, and made two 4 1/2" cuts—3/8" apart—in the other piece using a fine coping saw. He then sawed two 45° bevels, beginning 7/16" from the uncupped end of the male side of the tongs.

The rest was simple. Emerson merely rounded the ends on both pieces of wood, drilled a 1/8" hole squarely through both the male and female parts of the hinge (about 3/16" from the end), and drove a 1/8" dowel through all three holes. After trimming the dowel, he sanded the walnut smooth with extra-fine paper, and left the wood's surface in its natural state without any finish.

As far as Emerson is concerned—and his opinion is shared by a whole lot of MOTHER EARTH NEWS-type folks—metal utensils have no place in the preparation of many kinds of food whether it be stewed fruit, pickled cucumbers, or just plain tossed salad. And any task that demands nonmetallic nippers—from rescuing toast from an electric oven to lifting photo prints out of solution—is a snap for these wooden wonders.

Post a comment below.


Anumakonda Jagadeesh
11/30/2012 4:18:20 PM
Being wood,will it be hygienic unless it is cleaned well!Dr.A.Jagadeesh Nellore(AP),IndiaE-mail:

Terry Skudder
10/18/2012 12:11:09 AM
I found a perfct set of tongs, well chopsticks actually, in a giftshop. Called (often) "Cheater's Chopsticks, they are hinged at one end so novices do not have loose pieces of stick to juggle. Some versions even have a little springy piece of bamboo to keep them open and ready for use.

Subscribe Today - Pay Now & Save 66% Off the Cover Price

First Name: *
Last Name: *
Address: *
City: *
State/Province: *
Zip/Postal Code:*
(* indicates a required item)
Canadian subs: 1 year, (includes postage & GST). Foreign subs: 1 year, . U.S. funds.
Canadian Subscribers - Click Here
Non US and Canadian Subscribers - Click Here

Lighten the Strain on the Earth and Your Budget

MOTHER EARTH NEWS is the guide to living — as one reader stated — “with little money and abundant happiness.” Every issue is an invaluable guide to leading a more sustainable life, covering ideas from fighting rising energy costs and protecting the environment to avoiding unnecessary spending on processed food. You’ll find tips for slashing heating bills; growing fresh, natural produce at home; and more. MOTHER EARTH NEWS helps you cut costs without sacrificing modern luxuries.

At MOTHER EARTH NEWS, we are dedicated to conserving our planet’s natural resources while helping you conserve your financial resources. That’s why we want you to save money and trees by subscribing through our earth-friendly automatic renewal savings plan. By paying with a credit card, you save an additional $5 and get 6 issues of MOTHER EARTH NEWS for only $12.00 (USA only).

You may also use the Bill Me option and pay $17.00 for 6 issues.