I had written about Venkataramana Upadhya's tender coconut opener few years ago. Recently learnt that the innovation is now being mass produced by a Coimbatore based manufacturer and is available in open market for Rs 150
Recently I also wrote about various innovative rat traps devised by Mr Upadhya
In this post, I am introducing another of his innovation- table top Coconut grater. Before we go into the device, be advised- if you've never worked on a coconut piece to extract its contents, you won't be able to appreciate this device much. Coconut is a must have item in almost all south Indian kitchens, as most of our food materials need a bit of coconut to optimize taste
Most of the traditional coconut grating devices involved sitting on them and scrapping the coconut against the blade. While it has its merits, it didn't really suit the modern kitchen where everything is done standing. Some brands of grinders do come with a tool to grate coconut- this is handy but one needs to hold the coconut tight against the powerful motor.
Mr Upadhya has devised a simple tool to make coconut grating easier. What you're seeing below is his innovation, table top coconut grater. It has got two legs, rear one with a grooved rubber padding. This leg is to be positioned at the edge of the table and thanks to the edgy rubber pad, the grip is phenomenal. One should put their hand near the front leg and scrape the inside of coconut against the tool.
I happened to meet him at his shop in Saligrama, Udupi district and sharing in this post a few interesting pieces of information related to his work
Before finalizing on plastic moulds for his tool, Mr. Upadhya experimented with other possible raw materials- steel and wood.
The wooden version, though seems simpler, is a fairly complicated one to make. It has a total of 21 holes in it to hold all the components together. (Only 5 are visible clearly in below image, try to guess the rest)
Initially nails were used to hold the rubber against the wood, in addition to adhesive. Eventually Mr Upadhya realized that adhesive (Fevibond) is extremely strong and additional nails are not required. Holding these wooden pieces in a vice (if not clamped in a vice, wood may crack while drilling holes or punching screws) and shaping them is a laborious task. Wood as a raw material is also expensive. It is difficult to get consistent supply of good quality wood.
The other material was steel. Couple of pieces well affixed and the blade affixed. To cut the steel raw materials into the desired shape, Mr Upadhya had to take help from nearby factory owners, how had devices to cut steel. But substandard quality of work puts off Mr Upadhya
Below: Mr Upadhya's small workshop where his ideas take shape.
Similar: Tender coconut in Thailand * Branding tender coconut *