What the heck is a spurtle? In short, it's a stirring stick. Spurtles have been used for centuries by Scots and Irish to stir their oatmeal and porridge. In Hammler's Civil War Woodworking Vol. 2, he shows how to make one using a modern, electric lathe. Being a fan of traditional woodworking, I use a spring pole lathe that I made. My 1850's, German style lathe was made popular by the great Roy Underhill. I might make a video on how to turn a spurtle since it's much cheaper to build a spring pole lathe than it is to buy a $600-1,500 power lathe. Plus, what's more hardcore than not using electricity for Civil War items?
The wood is big leaf maple that I cut down in the last week or so. The log was about 14 1/2" long. Spring pole lathes are usually meant for turning green wood, though they work okay turning seasoned wood. Using my froe, I split the log in half, then in quarters. With my blank, I laid out an 1 1/8" by 1 1/8" square that I split out and cleaned up with my draw knife. I found my centers and set them with an awl. To help it turn easier, I used my curved spoke shave to round the corners. You could also just use the draw knife to do the same thing.
Once on the lathe, I used my timber framing gouge to rough in a one inch dowel that tapered on one side to 1/2. I added a little flourish for a handle and cleaned it up with my timber slick that I used as a skew chisel. Like many English bodgers, I use large chisels rather than modern gouges and skew tools. I hit it with a bit of sandpaper before finishing it by burnishing it with it's own shavings.
While I turned mine, I don't see why you couldn't just make one with a draw knife or a spoke shave. For a real field made look, you could even use a pocket knife. How ever you decide to make yours, be sure to use green, straight grained, hardwood. Avoid ring porous woods like oak or ash. Spurtles would have been common to the many immigrants who served in the Civil War and have seen a bit of come back in modern kitchens. Whether making oatmeal or soups, this handy, hardcore cooking tool will be a handy addition to your kit.