Hand-crank mixers connect you to the task, says Brian Smith, owner and instructor at Ample Hills Creamery. "That's what we use in our ice-cream-making classes. I love the community aspect of making it the old-fashioned way, taking turns churning."
To make ice cream, layer a cup of rock salt and ice between the coffee can and the paint can. Pour the cream into the coffee can and crank for about ten minutes or until the cream thickens to soft-serve consistency.
• two 3/4-in. x 2-in. x 2-ft oak boards
• one ¼-in. x 2-in. x 1-ft oak board
• one ½-in. oak dowel
• one unused 1-gal paint can, handle removed
• four ¼-20 x 1 ¼-in. round-head bolts and nuts
• two ¼-in. x 1 ½-in. washers
• one 0.562 x 0.375 x ½-in. nylon spacer
• one ¾-in. inside-diameter food-grade rubber grommet
• two #10-24 x 2-in. hanger bolts
• two #10-24 wing nuts
• one decorative dresser knob
• 8-oz LavAzza coffee can and lid
• nontoxic waterproof wood glue
• butcher-block oil
Step 1: Crosscut the following parts to length from the 3/4-inch stock: Cut part B to 4 1/2 inches; cut part D to 2 inches; cut parts E and K to 8 inches, and cut part H to 2 3/4 inches. (It will later be cut into a parallelogram shape.) Complete part B by ripping it to 7/8-inch wide.
Step 2: Crosscut the following parts to length from the 1/4-inch stock: Cut part I to 4 inches, and cut part J to 2 3/4 inches. (It will also be cut into a parallelogram shape.)
Step 3: Cut parts H and J into their finished lengths as a parallelogram shape. Set a miter saw to 30 degrees and cut these parts so their long sides measure 2 inches.
Step 4: The crank arm and dowel rod (B and C) are one subassembly. They drive the paddle (H, I, and J), a separate subassembly. But the trick is to allow the crank and paddle to spin freely while supporting it on top of the mi can. The solution is surprisingly simple.
First crosscut the dowel rod to 7 inches long. Next, make the crank support by gluing parts D and E together. Center D on the length of E.
When the glue has dried, bore a 1/2-inch hole centered on the width and length of these two parts. Now use an awl to mark the hole for the dowel rod (C) in the crank arm (B). Center the mark on the arm's width and 9/16 inch from its end. Bore a 1/2-inch hole on the mark. Also drill the hole for the bolt that mounts the dresser knob (A). Its diameter depends on what you buy. You should position the hole so its center is about 1/2 inch from the end of the crank arm. Bolt the knob onto the arm.
Lastly, bore the dowel-rod hole centered in part H.
Step 5: Glue the dowel in the crank arm, and glue together the mi paddle (parts H, I, and J). Slide the nylon spacer onto the dowel, and slip the dowel through the crank support (parts D and E glued together), but do not glue it.
Cut a slightly oversize hole in the center of the coffee-can lid (G), then slip the grommet (F) and then the lid over the end of the dowel rod. Note: Do not glue the paddle onto the dowel rod just yet. You need to dry fit the paddle on the dowel to see if it turns freely in the coffee can.
Step 6: Take one of the wood blocks that will become part K and mark its hole positions. It will become the template to drill the holes in both parts. Centered on the block's width, use the awl to mark both hole positions, 2 inches from each of the block's ends. Clamp the two part-K blocks together and drill a 15/16-inch hole through both blocks at one end, and at the other end drill a 1/4-inch hole.
Use a sharp pencil and a straight edge to mark the diagonals on the end grain on the upper part of these blocks (the end nearest the 15/16-inch hole). Mark the center of the diagonals with an awl and bore a pilot hole on the mark using a 9/64-inch twist drill bit. Apply a generous coating of butcher-block oil to these blocks, then turn the hanger bolts into their end grain, and let the oil dry.
Fasten the blocks to the can through the top holes, then use a square held along the can's rim and the block's edge to align each block on the can's surface. Use the lower hole in each block to guide the drill bit to make the lower bolt hole through the paint can, Push the lower bolt through these holes and tighten the nut to each bolt.
Step 7: Insert the coffee can into the paint can. Dry fit the paddle on the end of the dowel rod, and insert the paddle into the coffee can. The fit you're looking for is this: The plastic spacer below the crank arm should rest firmly on the top support, which should be supported by the blocks on the side of the can. When you crank the handle, the paddle should turn freely just above the bottom of the coffee can. If not, adjust the paddle position accordingly. Glue the paddle onto the end of the dowel rod and let the glue dry.
Complete the project by applying a generous coating of butcher-block oil to the crank arm and paddle assembly. Allow the oil to thoroughly dry before making ice cream.
This story appears in the September 2017 issue.