|Project by Elyasaf Shweka||posted 10-01-2014 06:18 PM||3616 views||5 times favorited||19 comments|
I apologize for this exaggerated title, but i guess it reflects the process i went through this project:
From waste to 8 Walnut ‘wild’ end-grain cutting boards.
[This is my first attempt for a proper standard end-grain cutting board. my first boards were all 3d end grain boards, and now i realize i jumped too far straight to the most complicated patterns without trying the basics. but then again, even though i thought this would be a classic end grain project, seems it didn’t come up that way. guess that what happens when you learn how to be a carpenter from youtube.]
a few weeks ago i went visiting one of our carpenters’ workshop (i work daytime as a contractor). He was cleaning his workshop, after finishing a big project of making 82 stairs of solid walnut, for a private residence. since the shape of that staircase was oval, he had many leftovers from that project. he was throwing a big pile of walnut scraps, which looked useless: dozens of triangle shaped scraps, 1 meter long, 4 cm on one side and 4mm on the other, not even and not planed, many with defects. i couldn’t see that wood go to trash, so i loaded my car, without knowing exactly what im going to do with that. i could only fit in half of the pile.
back to my tiny workshop: first, i planed each piece from both sides. then, i glued them one to another, in opposite directions, so one two pieces together gave something that is close to straight timber. since its the first time im doing such a big glue-up, and i was out of tb3 glue (not avliable here in israel, i foung only tb2), i did it in 3 small glue ups, and then glued it all together. by the way, my glue up table is a broken folding ironing table. very handy, and for free! you can see it laying on my table.
then, i cut the board into stripes and glued it again in end grain pattern, (this time clamping the length, thank you pony clamps! :) with every other stripe facing down, which gives a mirror look to every couple (book-like shape). but since the scraps were triangles to begin with, the pattern wasn’t static, but it went gradually. this made the unique unstable pattern. i know not everyone like this, mainly because it may look not ‘precise’ enough. i guess that the price you pay when you get stuff for free. on second though, if i had made a frame from a stable pattern, it would maybe look more ‘calm’. see pictures below:
at this point,crossed my mind the idea of making a nice table or a butcher counter top from this end grain walnut piece, but at the end i didn’t go that way.
next stage was sanding. i have a shop built drum sander (you can see it in my projects page), but it was really hard to push it all the way through. the piece was big, my workshop is small, and the heavy friction of the end grain asks for a powerful push to resist the slippery granite-table of my machine. so i went to another carpenter i know, which owns a powerful big drum sander. that made this task quick and easy. no doubt, the good friendly relationships i got (due to my work) with many professional carpenters – is priceless.
next stage was cutting it into small boards, sanding, installing feet and finishing with tunng oil.
from the big piece i made 5 boards in different sizes. i still have 3 more boards to finish, waiting patinely in my shop.
When it is a full size cutting board, i prefer not to make a handle, but i do the bevel hand hold which works well for me. i also like the airy look that the bevel gives to the board:
I am constantly looking for a decent feet for my boards. i know most board makers prefer rubber feet, but i think it looks cheap and too technical. until now i was using stainless steel glass-shelf holders, which were installed from both sides of the board, but it was too expensive. here you can see them on a small cheese cutting board:
UPDATE: i improved a bit the way i connect the feet.
I use Brass threaded spreading inserts, which accepts 4mm threaded set screws. First I drill a hole that accepts the inserts. then, when i screw the set-screw in, the insert splits into the wood and lock itself. but since i cant use a regular machine screw, I use the set screw which accepts allen key. this enables me to go to handles store and pick from thousands of cheap possibilities.
untill now i made 8 boards from less then half of the pile that i took. i can only regret that i took only less than half of the original quantity…
-- Only by the 4th time I realized how it was suppose to be done in the first place.