Trending December 2023 # Make These Diy Wooden Kitchen Utensils For Your Favorite Cook # Suggested January 2024 # Top 18 Popular

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Sometimes being a woodworker is a lot like being a genie. The other day, my wife was using a curved wooden stirring spatula to make cheese sauce for mac ’n’ cheese. “I wish I had one of these, but way longer,” she said to me. So I went downstairs, found a scrap of maple about the size she wanted, and made her a bigger one. Though I’d never made a kitchen utensil before, it took about two hours, and was far easier than I had anticipated.

No matter your skill level, making a wooden spatula, spoon, or some other kind of utensil offers lots of options for creativity with a wide range of shapes and styles. You can copy something you already have like I did, find a template online to use as a base, or create a style that is completely new. Whether you’re looking for a relatively quick present or trying to enhance your kitchen arsenal, whatever you craft is sure to be a crowd pleaser.

Warning: DIY projects can be dangerous, even for the most experienced makers. Before proceeding with this or any other project on our site, ensure you have all necessary safety gear and know how to use it properly. At minimum, that may include safety glasses, a facemask, and/or ear protection. If you’re using power tools, you must know how to use them safely and correctly. If you do not, or are otherwise uncomfortable with anything described here, don’t attempt this project.


Time: 1 to 2 hours

Material cost: $5 to $10

Difficulty: Easy

Materials How to make a wooden spoon, or any other utensil

1. Draw your design on the wood. Because I made a larger version of an existing utensil, I freehanded the design with the original as a reference. If you purchased a template, cut it out and trace it onto your board.

Remember that a template has two profiles. There’s the main shape that you’d see when you put the utensil down flat, but there’s also the narrow edge profile. You’ll need to draw both of these.

Pro tip: I always prefer drawing on the wood rather than taping a template to the board. This helps me avoid losing my design partway through if the paper falls off or gets shredded while I’m cutting.  

2. Cut out the rough shape on the band saw. Start cutting the largest profile, as though the utensil is lying flat. Try to get the general shape in one or two large cuts, rather than many small ones—this will make the second profile easier to trim.

[Related: The surprising woodworking tools you already have around the house]

3. Tape the cutoff pieces back onto the rough-cut block. This may seem counterproductive, but putting these edge pieces back in place stabilizes the board so you can cut out the second profile more safely and accurately. You may need to redraw sections of the edge profile over the tape, but you’ll thank yourself later.

4. Refine the shape. Once you have the general shape, use your band saw to trim the more intricate and detailed areas. You can also use chisels or hand saws for this, depending on your comfort, the cuts required, and your access to tools. Notch out the tighter angles and corners, start to shape the handle, and form whatever curves you can. If you have a spoon gouge (I do not), scoop out the spoon head as needed.  

Any material you remove now is material you won’t have to sand off later. If you’re using only an orbital sander, like I did, get as close as you can, because the orbital sander is slow. A belt sander removes more material faster, so if you have access to one of those, you can be a bit less precise with this step.

Warning: Be careful while making these more intricate cuts, both for your physical safety and to avoid removing too much material. Better to spend 10 extra minutes sanding than to accidentally cut your handle (or fingertip) off. 

5. Sand until you can’t feel your hands, then sand some more. Sanding will be by far the longest and hardest part of this project. Rather than simply smoothing the wood like when you’re building a cutting board or piece of furniture, you’ll be using sanding to actually finish shaping the utensil. I sanded my entire spoon using just an orbital sander and my quickly-cramping hands, so it’s absolutely doable if that’s all you have. However, manual sanding will take a long time, and—as I said above—a belt sander will definitely speed up the process.  

Start with 60-grit paper to maximize material removal. Don’t be afraid to change sanding discs regularly when they start to dull. With this grit, your goal will be to remove all of the saw and chisel marks and refine the shape to near-finished dimensions. 

Most of my time was spent working on the handle, trying to find a comfortable shape and size. I actually went back to the bandsaw to remove more material several times during the sanding process, just to speed it along.  

Once you’re satisfied with the shape, move through the remaining grits, up to 220. I used 80-, 120-, 150-, and then 220-grit paper.

6. “Water pop” the wood. The first time your spoon gets wet, the wood fibers will absorb the water and expand. No matter how well you’ve sanded, this will cause the wood to feel rough and unsanded. The way to avoid this is called “water popping.” All you have to do is get the wood wet, then let it dry. Lightly hand-sand the resulting roughness off of the spoon with 220-grit paper, or whatever grit you finished with. This will knock down those bloated fibers, and bring back the nice smooth texture. You may have to water pop your project two or three times to achieve a perfect result.

Warning: Don’t use a powered sander for this. If you do, you might take off too much material, and you’ll have the same roughness the next time your spoon gets wet. 

7. Apply finish. Because this is a cooking spoon, you’ll need to use a food-safe finish. I use cutting board conditioner, which is a mixture of mineral oil and beeswax. Squeeze some on and gently wipe it all over the spoon with a clean rag. Let the oil soak in for 15 to 20 minutes, then wipe off the excess. If you find that the wood absorbed all of the oil and feels dry, apply another coat.

And with that, you’re done. Wooden spoons are a fun, relatively straightforward project that really impress. They’re excellent holiday gifts, and a good way to use up some of that scrap wood I know you have stacking up in various corners of your shop. So grant some wishes and help your friends and loved ones cook in style.

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The Best Vpn Clients For Your Favorite Operating System

There are a host of strong VPNs out there for every different type of user. Picking the best VPN is a challenge in its own right. But once you have VPN service, how do you connect to your VPN provider?

Typically, you’ll do it through the VPN provider’s own application. These applications have varying degrees of functionality, stability and security. Some are excellent, but many are mediocre, with infrequent updates and a poor user interface.

But there’s hope in sight! You can connect to your VPN provider using your own client, bypassing the provider’s first-party client with your own third-party option. This is just like using your own email client to access Gmail instead of the Gmail web interface. For many folks the default is fine. But for those with more demanding needs, let’s find the best OpenVPN clients for your favorite operating system.

Note: this article mainly focus on the OpenVPN client, though most of them do support other VPN protocols like PPTP, L2TP/IPSec, etc. You can find out more about the various VPN connections here.

Windows: OpenVPN

OpenVPN is one of the best-known VPN clients, and for a good reason. On top of being free and open source, it’s stable, secure and frequently updated. Open source means that code-savvy users are free to investigate the application’s source code and confirm that it’s working to spec, but less code-literate users still benefit from other users’ scrutiny. The OpenVPN GUI is easy to use, with convenient auto-connect options and support for many different configurations.

Android: OpenVPN Connect

OpenVPN also makes mobile clients. Their Android client, called OpenVPN Connect, is the best VPN client for Android. It benefits from the strength of the OpenVPN project, with a strong primary code base and coding expertise to build off from. Because OpenVPN is an open-source project, you’ll notice that OpenVPN Connect is not the only OpenVPN-branded client on the Play Store. The other OpenVPN client is a fork of this project and is reasonably reliable in its own right.

iOS: OpenVPN Connect

Unlike Android, iOS provides an acceptable VPN client built in to the operating system. Most VPN service providers develop their own apps for connecting to their services, which are typically buggy and unreliable. OpenVPN Connect offers a better experience after a short setup. You’ll need to connect your iOS device to your computer to transfer the .ovpn files, but after that it’s smooth sailing.

Linux: NetworkManager

NetworkManager (which is included in most distros) is designed to provide automatic connectivity through whatever channels are available. With a little setup, you can configure NetworkManager to connect to any OpenVPN-compatible VPN provider. NetworkManager uses a series of plugins to interface with various network surfaces, so you’ll need to download the OpenVPN plugin. In Ubuntu or Debian-based distros, you can use the command


OpenVPN makes some of the best VPN clients out there. Depending on the platform you’re using, you’ll want to choose the best VPN client for your platform.

Alexander Fox

Alexander Fox is a tech and science writer based in Philadelphia, PA with one cat, three Macs and more USB cables than he could ever use.

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Make Your Chromebook Touchpad Work Properly Again With These Hacks

Make Your Chromebook Touchpad Work Properly Again With These Hacks Troubleshooting Chromebook mouse not working issues.

This quick troubleshooting guide will help you fix a Chromebook mouse that’s not working.

Points To Consider While Resolving Chromebook Touchpad Not Working Error

Go through this quick workaround for a touchpad that is not working. Check if you are able to navigate through either an external mouse or your Chromebook’s touchscreen. If both are working, then the issue is just with your touchpad and can be fixed through a simple steps. If nothing works, try hard resetting a Chromebook. You might face a similar issue with the touchpad/mouse of your laptop.

Chromebook Touchpad Or Mouse Not Working: Fixes

●      Make sure there is no dust or dirt on the touchpad.

●      Press the Esc key several times.

●      Turn your Chromebook off, then back on again.

●      Perform a hard reset.

●      If you have more than one account on your Chromebook, delete the account that has problems with the touchpad, then re-add the account.

Method 1. Ensure That There’s No Dust And Dirt

Make sure that you won’t let any dirt or dust rest on any part of your Chromebook. A good cleaning is always an integral part of keeping a device up to the mark. If you find any dust particles on your Chromebook’s keypad or touchpad, try cleaning it immediately using a soft cloth or an air compressor to pull out anything that is knowingly or unknowingly stored within your key spaces.

Method 2: Press Esc Key Multiple Times

This method of pressing Esc key several times might sound vague, but believe me it works. Sometimes it is something on a particular page that restricts your touchpad from working. If this is the issue, Esc key comes for the rescue. Esc key stops a page from loading and can get things better after a few attempts.

Method 3: Drumroll Your Fingers On The Chromebook’s Touchpad

There are instances when the Chromebook mouse loses its vibrations due to dust or something and to regain it back, you can try drumming your fingers on the Chromebook touchpad for around ten seconds. Yes, when you Drumroll your fingers for ten seconds, it might bring back the long lost vibration and your touchpad might start working again.

Method 4: Restart Your Chromebook

In every tech article you will surely find this way. There is a reason behind restarting your system to fix any general issues and believe me or not it works often. This is because while you are working on a device, you often open and close apps leaving some of them running in the background. This might create a hassle and this is why we recommend you to power off and on your Chromebook to fix touchpad problems. If you are that lucky, this trick might work.

Method 5: Hard Reset Your Chromebook

Hard resetting a device like Chromebook can help resolve several issues like speeding up Google Chromebook, fixing the malfunctioning touchpad. For your information, hard reset does not affect your system files, so you can feel free to hard reset your Chromebook, anytime you face a problem with its touchpad or keypad. Here’s how to perform hard reset on a Chromebook:

Long press the Power button until Chromebook turns off.

Now press Power and Refresh buttons at the same time to reboot and reset the Chromebook.

Method 6: Delete Account That Is Facing Problem With Chromebook’s Touchpad

Last but not the least. Try deleting the problem account and re-add it to your Chromebook. This method applies to those who own more than one account on Chromebook. Also you can try switching to a different account and check if the issue persists.

These were some of the technical hacks you need to consider to get your Chromebook’s touchpad back in motion. We hope you find these tricks helpful and it helped your resolve Chromebook touchpad not working issues.

In addition to these best hacks to fix Chromebook mouse not working, we have some bonus tips for you as a suggestion. You can consider them too while trying other hacks to fix the mouse not working on Chromebook.

Some Chromebooks have a function key that can turn off touchpad functionalities. To ensure which key does that, check your Chromebook’s user manual.  If this is the case, turn it on and enjoy using Chromebook mouse back again.

Make changes to Touchpad settings and the way it works. For this go to Settings and then Touchpad on your Chromebook. You can try turning on or off some of its features, you never know which one might be of your great help. This is just a hit and trial recommendation. However tweaking settings might help.

Concluding – Chromebook Touchpad Not Working

These were some of the technical and non-technical list of tips and tricks to resolve ‘Chromebook mouse not working’ issues. If none of these tips and tricks helped, there is a problem with your Chromebook’s hardware. To get it fixed, you need to consult a technician for its professional check and repair.

Keep reading Tweak Library for more troubleshooting tips and tricks.

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Spice Racks To Help You Declutter Your Kitchen

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Anyone who has ever mixed up paprika and cayenne in a dish knows that carefully labeled and easily accessible spices are a must for any cook. If you purchase in bulk so you don’t end up with more caraway seeds than you’ll ever use in your lifetime, proper storage options are essential to keeping random baggies out of your kitchen drawers and maximizing freshness. A quality organizer stocked with a comprehensive selection of herbs and spices also gives you the power to make full flavor dishes, and avoid the horrors of unseasoned chicken. Here are our favorites.

If you’d like some flexibility in where you stash your spices, this set of four metal racks allows you to store up to 24 spice jars all in one place or distributed throughout your kitchen. Each chrome-finished rack is 11.5 inches wide, 2.5 inches tall, and 2.5 inches deep (check the exact dimensions for the maximum usable space). They can be mounted to the inside of your cabinet or another surface with screws, or hung up with adhesive-backed hooks. If you’re using the hooks to avoid putting holes in your walls, it’s probably best to avoid heavy glass spice jars, and avoid sticking the adhesive on painted walls or wallpaper.

If you love shopping in the bulk section to get a pinch of this and a pinch of that, you’ll appreciate that this spice tower comes with 16 glass jars to organize your purchases. The tower is made from stainless steel, holds jars at an angle, and can be spun around for quick retrieval of whatever your recipe requires. With a base of 8 inches in diameter and a height of 11 inches, the tower can fit comfortably on a butcher’s block or countertop and even some cupboard shelves. Each glass jar has a plastic inner cap with holes to make it easier to season a dish to taste.

This durable wooden spice rack is made of wood from the red alder, a tree common to the Pacific Northwest. It features three tiers that will hold six jars each up to a diameter of 2 inches and a height of 4.75 inches. The rack is 16.5 inches tall and 12.25 inches wide, and can be mounted to your wall, or stand upright on your countertop for an elegant display. The natural wood also adds a distinct note of warmth to your kitchen in comparison with metal or plastic racks.

If you enjoy organizing your spices as much as you enjoy cooking with them, this attractive wire rack and jar set allows you to customize your display. The rack is 14.8 inches long, 9.8 inches high, and 4.3 inches wide, and comes with 24 3-ounce glass jars with metal lids and plastic caps. Each cap features both holes for sprinkling and a larger opening that allows you to remove small portions without needing to take the cap off. Pour yourself a glass of wine while you choose from 340 pre-printed spice labels to affix to your jars, or fill out blank labels with the included chalk pen for rare spices or blends. Then comes the best part—deciding if you’ll arrange them alphabetically, by color, or by region.

Turn Your Old Ipad Into A Dedicated Kitchen Tablet

Editor’s Note: Now that Apple’s third-generation has arrived in stores, that means a lot of earlier models of Apple’s tablet could find themselves looking for work. If you’re upgrading to a new iPad, you don’t necessarily have to sell your old tablet or give it away. This is the first in a series of articles in which we look at ways to give your old iPad a new purpose. In this installment, we focus on the iPad’s potential as a dedicated kitchen companion.

The App Store is stuffed with apps for planning out meals, organizing grocery lists, and discovering new recipes. So it’s little wonder that so many home cooks consider the iPad as indispensible a kitchen tool as a good chef’s knife. So why not take the next logical step and turn that aging iPad into a dedicated kitchen tablet? All it takes is a little bit of planning to find the hardware and software to fit your specific culinary needs.

Flexible or permanent placement

There are plenty of gadgets for cooking with the iPad, from portable stands to wall-mounted systems. If you tend to move around a lot in your kitchen and want the iPad to move with you, Belkin’s $40 Chef Stand and Stylus is a good option to consider. Since the stand comes with a stylus, you won’t need to use any greasy fingers to navigate your kitchen iPad.

There’s a drawback to portable stands, though: They tend to keep your iPad in the splash zone, where they’re suscpetible to splatter from whatever you’ve got cooking. You can always waterproof your iPad with other accessories (more on that below). And Belkin’s $50 Kitchen Cabinet Mount is another moveable option that will hang from your cabinets, above the counter mess.

If you know exactly where you want your iPad to live in your kitchen, there are screw-in wall or cabinet mounts that will give your iPad a sleek look while you’re mixing ingredients and frying up your latest meal. This is a good option if you want to use your iPad to play music or videos while you’re cooking, or you’re the type of person who doesn’t need to constantly look at a recipe while baking or cooking (like I do).

Vogel’s RingO Holder and Wall Mount ($70 for the iPad 2 and $60 for the original iPad) offer a protective backing for your iPad that clips onto a raised, o-shaped wall mount, giving the iPad a cool, floating look. If you don’t have much wall space, permanent cabinet mounts like the $26 Original Kitchen iPad Rack, are a good way to give your iPad a permanent, but safe spot. The great thing about this rack is that while its placement is permanent, the actual iPad tray lifts out of the screwed-in brackets so you can stick it in a drawer when you’re not using it. Like Vogel’s wall mount, The Original Kitchen iPad Rack also gives your iPad a cool floating look because it’s made of clear plastic.

And finally, you can mount your iPad onto the refrigerator with one of the many available fridge mounts, such as Belkin’s $40 Fridge Mount or the $50 FridgePad Magnetic Refrigerator Mount.

Keep it protected

The kitchen can be one of the messiest places in the house, especially while you’re actively chopping and stirring. While many of the iPad mounts and stands can keep your iPad further away from the counter, there’s still a high chance you’ll accidentally splash water or oil or worse onto your shiny tablet. Plus, touching your iPad’s screen with dirty fingers isn’t good for the iPad screen. Luckily, there are a few ways to protect your kitchen iPad from liquid terror and grease marks.

Protective sleeves like the Chef Sleeve, CleverWraps, and Locksaks fit tightly around your iPad while waterproofing the device. (For $20 you can get a 25 pack of Chef Sleeves, $15 gets you five CleverWraps, and a three pack of Locksaks costs $9.) All of these are fairly thin sleeves, so they don’t obstruct your iPad in most stands and mounts. Looking for a quick and cheap DIY option? Just stick your iPad into an appropriately sized plastic baggie, like Ziploc.

Reset and load up on food (apps)

Like with any dedicated use of an iPad, it’s best to clear the device of anything that won’t be useful to you in that particular setting. For kitchen use, you might consider clearing out your email settings, games, and non-food related media and apps. You’ll be able to focus on exactly what you need from your iPad while you’re in the kitchen.

There are plenty of visually pleasing and interactive cookbook apps, such as Allrecipes, The Photo Cookbook, and Food Network’s In the Kitchen. The original 20 Minute Meals app for the iPhone featuring celebrity chef Jamie Oliver won an Apple Design Award for its meticulous organization two years ago, and the iPad-optimized follow-up—Jamie’s Recipes—is available as a free download. (You buy content packs of recipes through an in-app purchase.) Appetites also has an eye for the visual: The free app features video recipes, so you can see exactly how a dish should be prepared. (Again, you purchase recipe packs from within the app.) Martha Stewart Cookies, recently updated for the new iPad’s Retina display, is a must-have for anyone who enjoys baking. But iCookbook may take the most clever approach for a dedicated kitchen iPad: It features simple voice controls for navigating through recipes, so you don’t have to worry about dirtying up your touchscreen interface when working with raw food.

Interactive book publisher Inkling also offers a full-length interactive iPad ebook of The Professional Chef by The Culinary Institute of America, packed with instructional videos, images, and note-sharing capabilities. While the $50 price tag is a lot steeper than cookbook apps, the book’s 36 chapters cover everything from nutrition basics to braising and stewing to charcuterie.

Beyond cookbooks, there are plenty of iOS offerings that can help you manage your food, shopping lists, and personal recipes. If you find that you’re fridge and pantry get overstocked with old produce and snacks, both the Fridge Police and StillTasty apps can help you keep track of when you need to toss out your food. (Both of these apps are iPhone apps that run on the iPad, though they will not be optimized for the tablet’s screen.)

For keeping track of your grocery list, ShopShop – Shopping List and Shopping List are both excellent apps that can sync across all of your iOS devices. (The latter Shopping List, however, is not optimized for the iPad’s screen.) I tend to remember when I need when I’m in the kitchen and realize it’s not there, so entering your grocery list onto your iPad and opening it back up on your iPad while in the store is really useful.

Of course, just because you turn your iPad into a dedicated kitchen tablet doesn’t mean you can’t use it elsewhere. Most of the stands and mounts mentioned above make it easy to attach and remove your iPad. But using your old iPad as your go-to tool to access all of your favorite recipes, cooking videos, and more right in the kitchen will certainly give the tablet a new and useful life.

[Alexandra Chang is a Macworld staff editor.]

Cook Calls 2012 An ‘Incredibly Successful’ Year For Apple

In his email to employees, Apple CEO Tim Cook describes 2012 as an “incredibly successful year” which continues “to show Apple’s unrivaled leadership in this post-PC era”.

And in order to mark the company’s accomplishment, Cook announced Thanksgiving vacations will be extended for employees…


Apple is having another incredibly successful year, thanks to all of the hard work by you and your teams. Your focus and dedication to making the best products on earth is what makes Apple such an incredible place.

In a little over six months, we’ve launched outstanding new products in each of our major categories, starting with the new iPad this spring. The response was incredible, and continued to show Apple’s unrivaled leadership in this post-PC era. Over the summer we introduced the radically thin and light 15-inch MacBook Pro with Retina display, and shipped Mountain Lion, the fastest-selling update to OS X ever. Today, the iPhone 5 is taking the world by storm. And in the next few weeks, we’ll ship the new iPod touch and completely redesigned iPod nano with innovative designs that our customers are going to love this holiday season.

To recognize the efforts that made this amazing year possible, I’m happy to announce that we’re extending the Thanksgiving holiday once again this year. We will shut down with pay on November 19, 20 and 21 so our teams can spend the whole week with their loved ones.

Retail and some other teams will need to work that week so we can continue to serve our customers, but please check with your manager about taking time off at a later date. Our international teams will also get an extra three days off during this quarter, scheduled at a time that’s best for them. Details will be available on AppleWeb.

Thank you for everything you do for Apple and please enjoy this much deserved break.

Again this year, Apple will extend paid Thanksgiving vacation between November 19-21, except if you are a drone working in an Apple store.

It has been a whirlwind few months for Apple.

The iPhone 5 sold 5 million units in the first three days of availability, destroying the previous four million units record set by the iPhone 4S during its opening weekend in October of 2011. Despite the huge demand, Wall Street was bummed that the smartphone didn’t reach ten million in sales for the first weekend, prompting a blame game over who slowed the roll.

Unmentioned in Cook’s congratulatory note to workers was last week’s high-profile mea culpa by the CEO over the whole Apple Maps fiasco. Perhaps Cook knew what analysts were telling investors this morning: the controversy won’t cool the red-hot demand for the iPhone 5.

For long-time Apple watchers, most notable about Cook’s memo is the tone of openly congratulating Apple employees for the corporation’s success.

Under Steve Jobs, the dynamic leader had a way of commanding the spotlight to the point where Apple was Jobs. Under Cook, we see a managerial style permitting all employees to bask in the glow of corporate success.

What do you think about Cook’s email to troops?

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