Copyright© 2011-2019
Doc Green’s Woodturning Site

Half-Scale Rolling Pin for Little Rollers

With a few modifications, the rolling pins can be scaled down to half size or smaller to give a rolling pin appropriate for young, up-and-coming chefs or one for purely decorative purposes.  They are neat!  

The necessary changes are to reduce the size of the bushings from 3/4” down to 3/8” and use part of a 16 penny (16d) common nail instead of the 1/4” hex bolt. These changes are necessary because of  the smaller diameter of the body. Also, the handles are reduced in length from typcially 3” down to about 1.75” for the scaled-down version.

The sequence of events in making a little roller parallels that of the full-size version so, in the following, I describe only the parts that are different.  

The body:  For half scale, the body should be about 6” long and 1” in diameter. Drill a 3/8” hole to a depth of 1.5” in each end of the body.

The bushings:  From a 1/2” dowel, cut the blanks for the bushings to a length of 1.25”. Drill the hole through the bushings with a #18 drill, which is 0.169” in diameter.  

With the bushing blank centered on the hole (between a mandrel and a cone center), turn it down to a diameter of 3/8” so that it fits the matching hole in the body.

The bolt:  Instead of using a 1/4” hex bolt for the axle, use a 2.25” section of a 16d common nail, the diameter of which is about 0.163”.  Note that “common” refers to a particular type of nail as opposed to an “ordinary” nail.  

Cut the nail to a length of 2.25” and round the cut end so it will drive easily into the handle. Also, grind or file away the burr that is almost always found under the head of the nail.

The handles:  The smaller handles are turned by using the same procedure as for the full-scale handles, but a smaller, shorter hole is drilled for mounting the handle. The diameter is 0.161” which is a # 20 drill. The hole is drilled to a depth of about 1.25”.

This means that the threaded mandrel (or screw chuck) also must be different. A #8 decking screw 2.5” long works well for the one I use. The details of this mandrel are shown in the diagram.  


The procedure is the same as for full-size with one exception. Instead of screwing the handle onto a bolt, use a small hammer to drive the nail into the handle. This must be done with care because one lick too many with the hammer and the bushing will not rotate freely.

And that’s about it. The only tricky part is to find a nail, a drill bit for the handle, and a screw for the mandrel that are compatible. The hole in the handle should allow the nail to be driven in easily but with some resistance. The size of the screw used for the mandrel should be such that the handle can be screwed on easily by hand.  


A young chef that receives a rolling pin as a gift will need something to roll. A web search for “play dough recipes” will turn up lots of hits. Some require cooking; others do not. Have fun!

    [Back to top]