Woodcraft Offers Some Suggestions for Celebrating July – Ice Cream, Hot Dog and Picnic Month!

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This inviting picnic table was built as a Woodcraft Magazine project and is now available as a plan. See more information in this blog.

We started July with a bang as we marked the nation’s 243rd birthday on July 4 – but the celebrations are not over. July has been designated as: National Picnic Month, National Ice Cream Month (third Sunday is National Ice Cream Day), and National Hot Dog Month.

If you take cookouts and picnics seriously and you are a woodturner (or know a woodturner!), check out Woodcraft’s turning kits for grilling and ice cream “scooping” utensils. And for those with building skills, Woodcraft carries plans for many styles of picnic tables. 

WoodRiver Stainless Steel Pigtail Flipper Turning Kits

Finished 10" Pigtail Flipper and kit parts.

10" Kit

Finished 16" Pigtail Flipper and kit parts.

16" Kit

The Pigtail Flipper’s parts are made of food-safe 304 stainless steel. To make your one-of-a-kind grilling utensil that easily flips chicken, steak, shrimp and even a rack of ribs, you will need a 3/4" x 3/4" by 5" or larger piece of turning stock for the handle, which is sold separately.

Turning a handle is simple and easy. Bore a 3/8"-diameter x 23/32"-deep hole in the center of your turning stock, and install the provided M6 threaded insert. Mount between centers on a lathe, and turn to your desired shape. Sand and apply your choice of a finish. Thread the completed handle onto your Pigtail Flipper.

WoodRiver Telescopic Campfire Roasting Fork Turning Kit

Make your next campfire outing special with this neat utensil to hold food over the fire while cooking. Select a 1" x 1" x 5" or larger piece of turning stock and bore a 10mm x 2-1/2"-deep hole into the stock, mount between centers on a lathe, and turn to your desired shape. Sand, apply the finish of your choice, and epoxy the handle to the end of the durable stainless steel fork. Fork expands from 12" - 36" to provide plenty of length.

Stainless steel Telescopic Campfire Roasting Forks are ready for turned handles to be attached.

HOT DOG Trivia

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce first named the observance of National Hot Dog Month in July 1956. Since then the National Hot Dog and Sausage Council has begun promoting the month.
•It is believed that the very first hot dog – once called “dachshund sausages” – was sold by a German immigrant out of a food cart iNew York in the 1860s.
•Around 1870, a German immigrant by the name of Charles Feltman opened the first hot dog stand on Coney Island. He sold over 3,600 frankfurters (in a bun) that year.
•By 1893, the hot dog was a favorite baseball park treat. Some believe this is owed to Chris Von de Ahe, the owner of the St. Louis Browns and a local bar, who introduced hot dogs to pair with his beer; others claim it was Harry Stevens, a concessionaire at the New York Giants baseball stadium, who actually popularized the “red hots” at sporting games.

Sources: The Culture Trip and National Day Calendar

WoodRiver Stainless Steel Ice Cream Scoop Turning Kits 

WoodRiver Stainless Steel Paddle Ice Cream Scoop

Paddle Style

WoodRiver Stainless Steel Hawk Bill Point Ice Cream Scoop

Hawk Bill Point

Serious ice cream lovers deserve a serious ice cream delivery system. These heavy-duty paddles are constructed from solid 304 Stainless Steel. One features a wide paddle shape and the other a hawk bill point shape, both designed to cut through the hardest ice cream. A 3/8" x 1-3/8" 16 TPI threaded post and a beefy ferrule complete each kit. Scoop is designed to seal off the end of your turned handle so that no grain is exposed to the elements.

This project is easy and fun to turn. In addition to the kit parts, you will need a piece of turning stock — a minimum 1-1/2" x 1-1/2" x 6" for the paddle shape and a minimum 1-3/4" x 1-3/4" x 6" for the hawk bill point shape.

To see turning stock, visit your local Woodcraft store, check out the Woodcraft catalog or visit woodcraft.com. Woodcraft also has a wide selection of lathes, turning tools and supplies. Many of the retail stores offer woodturning classes.


In 1984, Ronald Reagan designated July as National Ice Cream Month and the third Sunday in the July as Ice Cream Day.
•There are an estimated 1,000 different flavors of ice cream in existence.
•Ice cream can be made in many types – ordinary ice cream, frozen custard, frozen yogurt, reduced-fat ice cream, sherbet, gelato, and others.
•Industrial production of ice cream began in 1851 in Boston.
•In 1896 Italo Marchiony, an Italian emigrant, invented the ice cream cone in New York City. He was granted a patent in December 1903. Although he is credited with the cone’s invention, a similar creation was introduced at the 1904 St. Louis World’s Fair by Ernest A. Hamwi, a Syrian concessionaire. Hamwi was selling a crisp, waffle-like pastry, zalabis, next to an ice cream vendor. When the vender ran out of dishes, Hamwi saw an easy solution: he quickly rolled one of his wafer-like waffles in the shape of a cone and gave it to the ice cream vendor. The cone cooled in a few seconds, the vendor put some ice cream in it, and the rest is history.

Sources: IceCreamHistory.net, International Dairy Foods Association and National Day Calendar.

Dining in Style on a Table You Can Build!

Woodcraft Magazine Classic Project Plan — Octagonal Picnic Table

Order Plan

Octagonal Picnic Table with Lazy Susan

Order Plan

This Octagonal Picnic Table was a project featured in Woodcraft Magazine Vol. 10 No. 58 April/May 2014, and it is available as Classic Project Plan on woodcraft.com. The plan also includes the matching Lazy Susan pictured above right.

Outdoor Table and Benches

Woodcraft Magazine Classic Project Plan — Outdoor Table & Benches

Woodcraft Magazine featured another, more traditional style picnic table with matching benches in the Vol.9 No. 52, April/May 2013 issue. This project is also available as Classic Project Plan, either paper or a download.


•The American Bakers’ Association founded National Picnic Month in 1952.
•Meals outdoors were probably first eaten during the Middle Ages, when hunting became a favored pursuit of the leisure class.
•The word “picnic” comes from a 17th Century French word, picque-nique. Its meaning is similar to today’s meaning: a social gathering where each attendee brings a share of the food. This suggests that the word had been used for some time in France. The term picnic does not appear in the English language until around 1800.

Sources: History.com and National Day Calendar

Ready to Go Products for the Picnic Season

If you prefer not to build your picnic furniture and accessories, check out the Home and Garden section of woodcraft.com. Items in this section ship directly from the manufacturer.


The handy heavy-gauge steel Adjust-a-Grill allows you to cook pretty much anywhere you can set up a fire. You just pound the stake in the ground and slide the grill onto the stake and adust the height. It can be rotated. Perfect for picnics, camping, fishing and boating, and other outdoor activities.

Bradley Smoker Carving Kit

The Bradley Smoker Carving Kit includes an 8" butcher knife large enough to slice steak and carve a roast, a 5.5" boning knife for deboning and trimming, a 6.25" carving fork to hold larger pieces of meat secure, a two-stage carbide and ceramic sharpener and a digital thermometer with presets to help cook food to suit your taste.

Magnets on the sides allow the case to be hung on the side of a grill or other metal surface.

Invite some family and friends, grill some hot dogs, make some ice cream cones, and let the festivities begin!!

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