My wooden rolling pin has a rough patch on it due to the grain of the wood. When I roll out pastry with it, the pastry tends to stick to the rolling pin at that point and lift. Is there anything I can do to get a smooth surface all over the rolling pin or will I have to buy a better one?
Woodworker and cook here. Here's something that might work (without having seen the actual problem). You'll need some 220, 320 & 400 sandpaper, alcohol and shellac (which is food safe). Create a small amount of thinned shellac by mixing it with the alcohol. Next use the alcohol to raise the grain in the affected area. It'll create little nibs that'll stick above the surface of the rolling pin. Use a thin coat of the shellac to 'freeze' the nibs and sand lightly to remove them and the shellac. Start with the 220, lightly sanding and work up to the 400 after the shellac has dried (it's fast). You may have to repeat this a couple of times. Keep going until you can't feel the problem area any longer.
It might be easier to just buy a new one, but things are always better when you've got some sweat equity in them. Plus now you've got a story.
Got a lathe? Without one, about anything you try will distort roundness. That'll cause problems. I'd try fine sand paper on the rough spot, but be prepared to buy anew. Rolling pins are best examined carefully before buying. If they still make Teflon or nylon ones, they might be a better choice than hard maple. Mine's maple, about 70 yrs old, and perfect. I expect that is hard to find in natural products anymore. Plastic is really not such a bad choice. At least they make them smooth and round. No nice slick shortening enriched surface though.