Oven Squirrel

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This article is from Issue 102 of Woodcraft Magazine.

This cute kitchen helper prevents burns and makes a great gift

If you can spare an hour and some half-inch scrap, you can craft this handy oven rack pusher/puller. It’s comfortable to hold, keeps your hands safe from burns, and hooks firmly around an oven’s wire racks to push and pull your baked treats into easy reach.

To use this fun kitchen utensil, hook the back of the squirrel’s neck around the front wire of a grate (inset, opposite page) to pull it out. You can also flip the 

critter upside down to grasp the grate from above. Use the area under the chin to push the grate back in place. 

The squirrel’s narrow width allows over/under hooking of the wire when the racks are placed close together. The bushy tail is big enough for a firm grip, while the thin profile leaves it lightweight. And at about 11" long, your hands stay well away from the heat. 

Feel free to modify this minute mammal however you like. Drill stopped holes for peepers or perhaps epoxy beads in place. Or maybe cut a kerf for a cute smile. In our house, we stash one in a drawer near the main oven and another beside the toaster oven, where it’s particularly useful. But you can drill a hanging hole through the tail or epoxy magnets in its back and stick it to the fridge or your range hood for quick access. Just about any wood species will work (see below). And you can make it into almost any shape, keeping in mind the same principles and hand ergonomics. Most importantly, have fun.

Order of Work

  • Print it
  • Stick it
  • Saw it
  • Sand it
  • Rout it


A scurry of squirrels. These charming kitchen utensils are just as easy to make as a one-off as they are a batch-build. And any species of scrap will do the job, as shown here. Can you identify these four wood species? See our Scavenger Hunt on page 30 for more fun questions and a chance to win a cool prize.

Construction notes

Copy the pattern on page 50 (or download it from our website and print it out), then use a spray adhesive (see Buyers Guide on page 60) to stick it to your stock. Bandsaw the profile close to the line, then finish shaping at the spindle sander. You may need to adjust the radii behind the ears and under the tail to fit whatever sanding drums you have. Hand-sand the edges as needed. Then ease the edges using a 1/8" roundover bit. Sand smooth, and apply finish if you want; I used Howard Butcher Block Oil.

This little project is super easy to make and could be a lot of fun as a batch build. Rather than adhering the pattern to your stock, stick it to 1/2" thick MDF, cutting and sanding as above to make a template. With this template and a bottom bearing-guided bit mounted in your router table, you can produce a whole scurry of squirrels and significantly cut down your sanding time. But be careful routing around those curves both when flush-trimming and when rounding over. Make sure your bits are sharp, and keep firm control of the workpiece with a couple of pushpads. And who knows, if you make a batch of gift squirrels, you could get batches of baked goods in return!


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