Tortilla Press and a Bowl

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Project by SPalm posted 11-18-2014 08:46 PM 5152 views 20 times favorited 28 comments Add to Favorites Watch

These are two projects that I completed recently; a tortilla press and a turned bowl. Both are made out of the cherry that I recently acquired. These will turn into Christmas presents.

I received a note from my daughter that her husband might like a tortilla press. I said ok – neither of us thought that I would make one and I knew nothing about them. I started Googling around and decided to try to make a wooden one. The main plates are about 8 by 10 inches and an inch thick. Routed recesses were added on the top for easy opening. I used my dovetail techniques that I blogged about to attach both the main and handle hinges. The hinge pins are really 1/4 inch steel bolts with the heads sawn off that are then recessed into the cherry/maple and covered with walnut plugs. Before drilling the hinge pin locations I clamped the top and bottom together with two metal rulers in between. This gave a gap of 3/16 inch and determines the thickness of the tortilla.

I also added maple runners for stability when pressing the handle down, and added a maple pressure plate for the handle.

It works great – just mix water and corn, roll into balls, press, and fry in a dry pan. Nummy. A nice trick is to cut the sides off a Ziploc bag making it into hinged plastic and use it to cover both plates while pressing.

The bowl was another attempt to learn to turn. It came out ok. I took a picture of the side to show the form. It does have a small foot that does not show in the pictures. Boy do I have a lot to learn.

Thanks for looking,

-- -- I'm no rocket surgeon

28 comments so far

View Roger's profile


21055 posts in 4052 days

#1 posted 11-18-2014 09:06 PM

Oh yea! Now I’m tasting a burrito and a few tacos..

-- Roger from KY. Work/Play/Travel Safe. Keep your dust collector fed. [email protected]

View stefang's profile


17040 posts in 4582 days

#2 posted 11-18-2014 09:15 PM

Great looking tortilla press and bowl Steve. I like the way you did the the hinges. That is a very nice gift idea. My Sons love Mexican food. I think I will make one of these for each of them. I doubt anyone in Norway has one.

-- Mike, an American living in Norway.

View SPalm's profile


5338 posts in 5130 days

#3 posted 11-18-2014 09:40 PM

Hey Mike, I agree, it will make a nice gift.
The product might be hard to find – I don’t know. It is Instant Corn Masa Flour which is corn treated with lime. All the grocery stores here now carry it. Pronounced Mah-Say-Cah with the accent on the middle syllable.

Flour tortillas are rolled out with a rolling pin. Kind of like Lefse which is also nummy.

-- -- I'm no rocket surgeon

View nonickswood's profile


569 posts in 3635 days

#4 posted 11-18-2014 10:14 PM

Those are Excellent! projects Steve, I also like those hinges.
The bowl turned very nice as well, is that a glue-up of two or more pieces? Thought I was seeing one glue line across the middle hard to tell. Nice work!

-- Nick, Virginia,

View SPalm's profile


5338 posts in 5130 days

#5 posted 11-18-2014 10:36 PM

Yes Nick, there are two pieces so there is a center glue line on the bowl. It is 6 inches in diameter and 3.5 inches tall. The cherry I have is all 3×3 or 3×4 by 7 feet long so I am trying to figure out what to do with it. There are a lot of knots too.


-- -- I'm no rocket surgeon

View kiefer's profile


5852 posts in 3915 days

#6 posted 11-18-2014 10:43 PM

Now that is craftsmanship !
The hinge and overall design is most excellent Steve not like a press with the cheap metal hinges .
Great gift idea also .


-- Kiefer

View DonH's profile


495 posts in 4065 days

#7 posted 11-18-2014 10:49 PM

Hi Steve

Very interesting projects and a great job too!!


-- DonH Orleans Ontario

View Joe Lyddon's profile

Joe Lyddon

10963 posts in 5300 days

#8 posted 11-18-2014 11:05 PM

Looks real COOL, Steve…

I’ve thought of doing that now & then… always thinking of Round plates with a simple hinge and Hand Pressing… NEVER have done anything about it… has just been a back burner for a fun thing to do…

Your design has Lever to get a good press… never thought of that… That hinge is beyond the call of my thinking as well… looks like a brute of a hinge! COOL…

Without the ZipLocs, would you just coat plates with flour to stop any sticking?

Thank you!

-- Have Fun! Joe Lyddon - Alta Loma, CA USA - Home: ... My Small Gallery:

View Lenny's profile


1721 posts in 4775 days

#9 posted 11-18-2014 11:10 PM

You sure make different and interesting items Steve. Wonderful craftmanship on both and the press will make a wonderful gift.

-- On the eighth day God was back in His woodworking shop! Lenny, East Providence, RI

View lew's profile


13430 posts in 5003 days

#10 posted 11-18-2014 11:13 PM

Love those dovetails, Steve, and the little bowl is super- I find that shape very appealing.

-- Lew- Time traveler. Purveyor of the Universe's finest custom rolling pins.

View SASmith               's profile


1850 posts in 4235 days

#11 posted 11-19-2014 12:28 AM

I can see version 2.0…. the Double Tumble Tortilla Press .

-- Scott Smith, Southern Illinois

View Citroentje's profile


20 posts in 2534 days

#12 posted 11-19-2014 12:29 AM

Love the design and contrasting wood. I’ve got to build one of these for our kitchen… only a little bigger.

-- James "Lem" Lemon - "When Life gives you lemons... you got a pretty good life!"

View timbertailor's profile


1594 posts in 2672 days

#13 posted 11-19-2014 01:00 AM

Great alternative to the cutting board.

Did a great job.

Added to my favorites.

-- Brad, Texas,

View Jim Jakosh's profile

Jim Jakosh

26814 posts in 4353 days

#14 posted 11-19-2014 01:24 AM

Very neat, Steve. many tools can be made of wood! Nice going!!.................Jim

-- Jim Jakosh.....Practical Wood Products...........Learn something new every day!! Variety is the Spice of Life!!

View Ken90712's profile


18067 posts in 4437 days

#15 posted 11-19-2014 02:23 AM

Great job Steve as always !!! Love it, might have to try that. Hope all is well with you and your family. Your friend Ken

-- Ken, "Everyday above ground is a good day!"

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