|Project by jfk4032||posted 10-21-2013 11:58 PM||2586 views||13 times favorited||15 comments|
After browsing beautiful examples of tumbling block cutting boards, I wanted to make some. I researched many Lumberjock posts and Youtube clips and I felt pretty comfortable venturing into these. I bought a Wixie digital angle gauge for very accurate cutting and slapped together a miter sled complete with (3) toggle hold down clamps. I tested a few boards, sanded them all down to the exact thickness and ripped them to the correct 30 degree angle. I had perfectly cut a diamond shape that 3 fit together to form a hexagon pattern when holding them together by hand. So, just to make sure I ramped up the learning curve I followed through further and glued the three different color diamond blanks (maple, black walnut and cherry) up using about a dozen thick rubber bands to serve as clamps every couple of inches. Everything went well and I had a single log about 2 feet long. I sliced it up into blocks and I was on my way to making my first tumbling block cutting board.
Now that I was confident in what I was doing, I went into production mode and ripped the rest of the wood, (12) 30” lengths, (4) of each wood type. After making all of the cuts, I noticed that they didn’t fit together that well. I followed the same steps and procedures I did on the test log but I wound up wasting a lot of wood and time as somehow the angles were off a degree or two. I used my drum sander to make sure all of the side miter widths were the same, but it was back to the angles being off. After racking my brain, trying to figure out what I did wrong, I think it came down to the position on the toggle clamps on the miter sled being too close to the sloped bank the wood rests against. By clamping down too close, I think it pinched the wood away from the sloped bank and caused the angle to be off. See photo with arrows. Afterwards, when I moved the clamps over left to the edge of the flat top of the blank so that the downward pressure is directly above the flat surface below, it didn’t seemed to pinch out the wood at the sloped bank. I also think I’ll work with shorter lengths of logs, back to 20” or so instead of 30”. Now, off to buy more wood and try this again. I was still left with that one perfect laminated log.
As most of us woodworkers do, we make design modifications to work with our mistakes and miscues, right Ron? With that one 20” length log I really couldn’t make a small cheese cutting board that I would be happy with. So I came up with the idea of making a set of coasters with a matching base/holder.
I glued up all of the coasters into the 7 piece pattern that is the same as the coaster base picture (2 on top of 3 on top of 2). I then sanded the (8) coasters to the same thickness with my drum sander. I made a circle shape template with my circle sanding jig on my 12” disc sander and then was able to lay that template over the 7 piece tumbling block shape and with a pattern cutting bit, cut them all precisely to circles on my router table. After doing that, they looked great, but they needed something else design-wise.
I decided to put a border around them made out of Paduak. This was to be long grain glued next to the end grain tumbling block pattern so I don’t know if I’m breaking any basic woodworking rules that I’ll later regret, but so be it. Since I had a perfect circle to work with I first tried to make a border template with a router circle cutting jig, but the size I needed was in the dead zone of that jig, so I couldn’t use it. I then turned to my lathe…no pun intended. I wound up taping a roughly round 4/4 blank to a waste block and turned the outside edge to a true circle and then carefully cut the inner circle to snugly fit the tumbling block circles. I then resawed the paduak border bands into 1/3’s and did that two more times to yield the (8) borders I needed. I then glued the borders to the tumbling block centers. For all of the gluing I used Titebond III as most of you LJ’ers endorsed that glue for cutting boards and pieces subject to water and cleaning up with water.
With the majority of surface area being end grain, it left some pesky tooling marks running through my drum sander to get the surfaces totally flat. That required much further sanding with a random orbital sander up through 220 to eliminate the scratches and get to a nice surface. I finished the sanding with a mop sander to sand/polish the coasters and to easily sand the endgrain edge of the paduak borders.
I had 4 tumbling block pieces leftover that I resawed in half to create the pieces for the base/holder. The same 2 on top of 3 on top of 2 pattern used on the coasters, but I left all of the corners intact leaving some real estate to attach the holders. I cut, sanded, rounded over the top and polished 5 pieces of brass bar to serve as holders for the coasters. I carefully drilled the holes to house those and used CA to affix them in place. I finished the coasters with a light coat of Tung oil and then sealed it in with several coats of Ren wax. I applied a felt bottom to the base/holder to prevent scratching my tables, and 4 rubber buttons on each coaster to prevent them from slipping when used.
I’m happy with how the coaster set came out, but now I need to make a matching cutting board which I originally intended to use with this wood. Hopefully this time Plan A will come through with no more design modifications!
-- ---Joel; Central MD...rookie empter nester and getting back into woodworking!