I've decided to make a pizza peel from aluminium sheet with an ash handle, and because aluminium sheet isn't very strong I'm going for a full tang construction. As ash is nice to work green, I've roughly shaped the wood, which was still growing yesterday, and I now have a pair of scales, roughly 1.5 cm thick by 3 cm wide.

When making full tang knives, it seems to be common to epoxy the scales onto the tang for shaping, before finally pinning them for strength (necessary in a knife, perhaps less so in a pizza peel, depending on how good the bond to the metal is). I'll either use it without a handle or make something temporary until the ash is ready. Once glued on, I'll want to finish the job fairly quickly, finishing the wood with either BLO or varnish (I haven't decided yet).

An attempt at measuring moisture content with basic tools (edit): I've weighed the wood, and approximately calculated its volume and therefore density . Comparing that to published weights for "dry" (unspecified but I assumed 10% as 8-12% seems to be a reasonable range depending on use) I get 26%. Sticking a couple of pins in, measuring the resistance with a multimeter, and referring to an old chart (reprinted here) I get a surprisingly similar value, however even taking into account the seasonal variation in moisture content of growing timber this figure is rather low. I suspect I've had a fair bit of surface drying already.

How much seasoning is needed before I can epoxy the ash onto the aluminium? If either of my proposed finishes would require much longer seasoning, it would be nice to know, to minimise the amount of time it's half-finished

  • 2
    You don't want to spend too much time with your pizza peel half-ashed. Sorry, I couldn't resist. :)
    – FreeMan
    Commented Apr 22, 2020 at 18:06
  • "pinning... necessary in a knife" not actually necessary in a knife. They are commonly seen as desirable for security, but more in a belt-and-braces kind of way than because of a real functional need. "How much seasoning is needed before I can epoxy the ash onto the aluminium?" This can't be answered satisfactorily for you. Seasoning is done when it's done, and how long it takes is completely down to individual circumstances (which we don't know most of). Expect to have some warping going from green to dry! And don't be surprised if you get some checks if you didn't seal the end grain.
    – Graphus
    Commented Apr 22, 2020 at 18:16
  • @Graphus I haven't yet sealed the end grain but only cut it to length today, so I can try to find something suitable in the house/garag. Its only roughly shaped because I expect some warping - I'm hoping to be able to sand it out. A rough indication of how long, and how to tell when it's done, would be very helpful as you imply that it needs to be fully seasoned (as I'd expect)
    – Chris H
    Commented Apr 22, 2020 at 18:50
  • The general rule of thumb is that air drying green wood requires 1 year for each inch of thickness. So if your boards are 2" thick they should dry for 2 years before working them. However, if your handle is round you might be able to get to it sooner as all four sides are exposed for water off-gassing instead of just two sides in a board. Commented Apr 22, 2020 at 20:13
  • @SaSSafraS1232 as I've split it into scales just over approx 1/2" thick that would give 6 months. Hopefully by then I won't be baking so much pizza at home as I'll be able to go out for it (the peel and the sourdough pizzas it's for are lockdown projects)
    – Chris H
    Commented Apr 22, 2020 at 20:43

1 Answer 1


This gathers up some comments and my own experience so the question doesn't stay unanswered.

Seasoning is unpredictable, but for small pieces can be forced. In the end I microwaved in short bursts until the pieces stopped losing weight. They got about 20% lighter. The first 30s burst caused a lot of localised hissing so I switched to 20s bursts whenever I was passing the microwave. The ends were sealed with BLO and didn't split, though I got a small crack at a knot on the side. In comparison the adjacent piece of that tree left outside has split almost half way through in a few weeks (it's a silly shape for woodworking so I just left it).

There was a little warping, but nothing I couldn't take out by planing the inside faces, even though I'd shaped it a bit too much when green.

I glued the scales but didn't pin them and they seem secure after several uses, including heavier ones than I'd expected (loaves of bread as well as pizzas).

  • 1
    "so I switched to 20s bursts whenever I was passing the microwave" Perfect! That's exactly the way others found worked best for them, so great minds and all that.
    – Graphus
    Commented Jun 13, 2020 at 9:33

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