Purim is just a couple of weeks away, so what should a woodworker do? Yup, make a grogger! I guess I better tell you what a grogger is for those of you who are not Red Sea Pedestrians. A grogger is a noise maker, they come in different styles and can go by many other names, but the type of noisemaker I made is traditionally called a grogger in the Jewish community. You can use other types of noisemakers for Purim, but the wooden types are my favorites.
What’s that? What is Purim? Oh,,,,,Purim is a festival that commemorates the deliverance of the Jewish people living throughout the ancient Persian Empire from a plot by (the evil) Haman the Agagite to annihilate us, as recorded in the Book of Esther (Megillas Esther). According to the story, Haman cast lots to determine the day upon which to exterminate the Jews. On Purim, we read the Book of Esther aloud, and whenever the name, Haman, is read, we boo and use our noise makers to blot out his name.
Okay, enough of the cultural history lesson, now on with the woodworking! I was asked to make a grogger, and I recently saw a video about how to make one by Stevin Marin, so I decided to give it a go. I am basically following what the video did, except I am going to “fancy it up a bit.”
First, I found a rough cut piece of walnut and using my hand planes and a saw, got it to its final dimensions (about 18” long, 3” wide and ¾” thick) Then I put it on the router table, and using a ¾” straight cutting bit, ran the bit down the center of both sides of the board slowly raising the bit until there was about an 1/8” of material left in the center. We’ll call this thin part the flapper.
I cut off about 3” or so of the flapper, then freed the rest of the flapper from the body with a band saw. Now the flapper can move freely up and down.
To make the cog, I used a 3” hole saw first to score the wood, then I marked out 8 points, and used a ½” forsner bit to make the cog shape. Once those were cut through, I finished cutting out the piece with the hole saw.
Holding everything together is done with a 3/8″ thick dowel that runs through the body and the cog. For a lack of a better term, I’ll call that the central dowel. In the video, he creates a handle by using a thicker piece of dowel stock, and drills a hole into one end, matching the diameter of the central dowel. I had some 7/8″ thick dowel stock that was perfect for the handle. After I did the initial drilling, I put the handle on the lathe and turned a nice shape for the size of my hand.
I also needed to make a cap to top off the central dowel. Once again, I cut off a chunk of the 7/8″ dowel stock, I drilled a 3/4″ hole in one end, mounted it up on the lathe and turned a sphere, kinda like the top of a flag pole.
To complete the grogger, I rounded off the edges of the body. Now that all the construction was done, I coloured the body and the handle with a mix of dark walnut and red-brown dyes. This made a nice warm shade of color that I really like. The cog was made from mahogany, and I left it its natural color for a bit contrast. For the cap, I used a “rub on gold leaf” product, and buffed it up to a nice shine. Next I assembled the grogger and glued on the handle and the cap. Now it was ready for a couple of coats of shellac and finally a couple of coats of wax.
The grogger is pretty long, so you really need to hold it over your head to spin it; and to avoid potential lawsuits, I suggest you have some room as to not klop the guy next to you.
Now you can’t have a “recipe” for a grogger without a recipe for Hamantashen (a traditional cookie made for Purim). This a non-traditional chocolate Hamantashen dough that my wife created. Enjoy!
|2 1/4 cups||flour||AP, unbleached|
|2 tsp.||baking powder|
|2 pinches||espresso||instant coffee powder|
|1 1/2 tsp.||vanilla||extract|