Cafe Wall Cutting Board

  • Advertise with us
Project by KnotCurser posted 01-09-2010 02:47 AM 4997 views 4 times favorited 9 comments Add to Favorites Watch

I really enjoy optical illusions and fell in love with one called the “Cafe Wall”. Staring at it one day it occured to me that I could possibly pull this off in a cutting board.

“Piece of Cake” thought I. Oh how I would to come regret that thought!

I quickly cut up and planed the Maple and Walnut and figured out how I was going to stagger everything – easy!

After I had all the strips cut, I then realized that to glue it up with the offset pattern the lines would be going the wrong way and totally ruin the effect! Doh! I then had to take every third strip and cut it in half and glue it to the end of a bunch of full length strips to get the pattern running in the correct direction. Double Doh!

In the meantime, I was REALLY dumb and sprayed a bunch of water on the strips to see the finished look. “This is gonna look good” I think and then go into the house for a Ham Sammich. Came back later and every piece looked like the letter “C” – the water had warped everything! Triple Doh!

Must persevere! By just gluing one row at a time with a ton of clamps, I was able to get a fairly flat board out of the warped pieces. About 45 minutes of belt sanding and here’s the result!

The last image is what I was staring at and tried to mimic. It a sidewalk in Italy – really awesome effect in that all the lines and blocks are absolutely parallel to each other but certainly do not look like it!

I don’t think I QUITE got the effect I was after, but it still looks pretty cool! This may wind up a wedding gift later on this spring.

Live and Learn!

-- Robert Rhoades WoodWorks / Email: /

9 comments so far

View Durnik150's profile


647 posts in 3319 days

#1 posted 01-09-2010 02:51 AM

Super cool. I really like the size and the design of this board.

-- Behind the Bark is a lot of Heartwood----Charles, Centennial, CO

View Glen's profile


116 posts in 3074 days

#2 posted 01-09-2010 03:41 AM

Very nice, Bob. What kind of finish did you put on it?

-- Glen

View KnotCurser's profile


2025 posts in 3065 days

#3 posted 01-09-2010 03:53 AM


The only finish I ever use on my cutting boards is CVS Brand Mineral Oil. It’s available in the laxative section – no puns please! ;-) Make sure it says “Mineral Oil for Laxative Use” and NOT Baby Oil – baby oil is not food safe.

Very cheap and perfect for cutting boards. Basically flood it on, wait 10 minutes and wipe off. Do this three times over three days and then every month or so just wipe some on if it needs it. Glad you asked!

Here ya go – just found this link – this is what you are looking for.

Oh yeah – I should state that the only reason I choose CVS Brand is that it’s the closest to my home – any brand will do! :-)

-- Robert Rhoades WoodWorks / Email: /

View degoose's profile


7233 posts in 3352 days

#4 posted 01-09-2010 11:59 AM

You are good…this is not the typical TWW board… for sure…

-- Don't drink and use power tools @

View richgreer's profile


4541 posts in 3072 days

#5 posted 01-09-2010 04:24 PM

Great job!

How many clamps does it take to get a “ton of clamps”?

-- Rich, Cedar Rapids, IA - I'm a woodworker. I don't create beauty, I reveal it.

View KnotCurser's profile


2025 posts in 3065 days

#6 posted 01-09-2010 04:36 PM

Well, A pint’s a pound the world around and four pints to a Bessy Clamp…..... But I have Jorgeson’s as well….... I’m gonna guess around 20 clamps to the ton. Unless it’s at the end of the day and you are the one who has to hang them all back up – then it’s around 5.

Sound about right?

-- Robert Rhoades WoodWorks / Email: /

View KnotCurser's profile


2025 posts in 3065 days

#7 posted 01-09-2010 04:38 PM

Wow Larry, I am humbled – thanks!

-- Robert Rhoades WoodWorks / Email: /

View Brad_Nailor's profile


2539 posts in 3954 days

#8 posted 01-09-2010 04:50 PM

Nice board! Here is a few tips I use when making cutting boards

After you cut up either laminated or solid wood pieces try and glue them up as soon as possible. If you cant glue them up right away then clamp them together to prevent them from cupping and warping.

I like to raise the grain on my boards after I do the dimensional sanding before I start polish sanding. So right around 150 grit, I spritz the board down lightly with water and set it on some painters triangles to dry. You can feel the fibers of the grain raise up. Then I sand with 180, then do the same thing again, and sand with 220. This has a tendency to make the boards really smooth, even after you oil it and it gets wet on the kitchen counter…it wont get fuzzy. Never wet anything down before its glued up!

I use a mixture of mineral oil and beeswax. I put some mineral oil in a mason jar and then I shave some beeswax into the oil, and place it in a pot of water. I heat the water slowly, just letting the oil get warm enough to melt the wax. Then I oil the board with the mixture. I return the mason jar to the water to keep the mixture warm between applications. The heated oil seems to penetrate the wood better and the beeswax gives it a nice sheen and feel. Sometimes I also will melt a little pure beeswax and apply it to the board sparingly, and buff it into the wood…really gives it a cool shine like a real finish. Some guys like to use diluted varnish, or salad bowl finish. I like just pure mineral oil.

You can buy mineral oil in different viscosity’s. I have a real light viscosity (thin) one I use for highly polished side grain boards. The lower viscosity allows the oil to penetrate easier into the polished wood fibers. I use a higher viscosity(thicker) mineral oil for my end grain boards. The end grain really soaks up the oil and the thicker oil slows that down a little.

Just my take on a few tips for making some borads…hope that helps and good luck!


View KnotCurser's profile


2025 posts in 3065 days

#9 posted 01-09-2010 09:01 PM

Thanks for the tips David! I am going to look into mixing in beeswax with my finish – I have heard that from other sources as well and all have stated positive results.

I, as well, do tend to spritz the boards down while sanding to get rid of the “fuzz” – it really makes for a smooth board.

Thanks again!


-- Robert Rhoades WoodWorks / Email: /

Have your say...

You must be signed in to post the comments.

DISCLAIMER: Any posts on LJ are posted by individuals acting in their own right and do not necessarily reflect the views of LJ. LJ will not be held liable for the actions of any user.

Latest Projects | Latest Blog Entries | Latest Forum Topics