|Project by eisbar||posted 05-20-2010 10:11 PM||3779 views||3 times favorited||9 comments|
From what I’ve read, I’m now officially a woodworker, since I’ve produced my first (technically second) cutting board. I was inspired by someone who’d made a Space Invader cutting board out of maple and walnut.
My sister-in-law had a birthday coming up, and she’s generally a fan of anything geeky. She likes video games, and was a kid back when the first Super Mario came out for the Nintendo. Mario seemed like a good character to do, because he was fairly “low res” (i.e. large-ish blocks) and only four colors.
The board is done in walnut, maple, cherry and birch. The maple and birch don’t contrast quite as much as I’d hoped, but maybe they’ll age differently and look more distinct in the future. It’s finished with mineral oil and beeswax, so should be food safe. I’d originally planned to screw rubber feet to the bottom, because I like the idea of end grain boards never sitting in a puddle of water on a countertop. I figured I’d get clever and insert some cross dowels to hold screws better, so that’s what you see in the 3rd picture. The recipient prefers to be able to use both sides of the cutting board, and has promised to care for it well, so the feet won’t get attached in the end – all that cleverness for nothing ;)
It was glued up one row of wooden “pixels” at a time, with some cauls to keep things straight. A little sanding of the glue squeeze-out, and the rows were glued and clamped up into the full grid. If I make another one like this, I’ll probably either glue up several rows at once with a larger clamping station, or maybe glue up a “taller” cutting board that I could resaw into several at the end, because the block-at-a-time method was very time consuming to produce a single board.
On this project, I learned that a router on rails is a much better tool for flattening end grain than a thickness planer. Despite trying to only take off a 1/32” at a time, I managed to gouge the board and warp a blade retaining plate on my planer (hopefully a replaceable part). After damaging the planer, Google found me many articles where people had done the same, and were strongly recommending against trying to plane end grain. Of course, Google didn’t find those articles the first time I searched (because I hadn’t added the keywords “damaged planer” I guess). Although damaging a tool makes me mad, I’m glad that I didn’t injure myself like some of the posters whose comments I read (sprained or broken thumbs from kickback).
The pictures were taken with my phone, so they’re pretty poor quality. I’ll take a better photo this weekend of the cutting board in its final home at my sister-in-law’s house.
Hope you enjoyed looking at it.
- UPDATE ** New photo attached, taken with a much better camera. Thanks to my brother for snapping it for me.