Matching Christmas Gift Set

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Project by MHarper90 posted 12-22-2013 02:56 AM 2244 views 10 times favorited 12 comments Add to Favorites Watch

My parents refuse to give me Christmas suggestions for them, so I had to come up with something myself. At one point this year my mother asked me to make her some wooden coasters, but I never got around to it (I cut off part of my left thumb at work not even a month later…). I purchased a small stack of 8/4 hardwoods back at Thanksgiving from the store near my parents’ house in order to take with me back to work in New York (I’m a carpenter). I had no planned projects, but wanted to get some materials because I haven’t found a good supplier in New York yet. I decided to use some of the hard maple and purple heart to make this matching set for them.

I copied a fairly common end-grain cutting board design I’ve seen several times here on LJ. I really liked the design, and this is my first ever cutting board, so I wanted to give it a go. Let me just say that it was hell. We have some pretty nice tools in the wood shop at work and I just kept burning the purple heart every time I cut it, and I spent a lot of time sanding after every glue up. We have a C-drum sander, but it’s not quite wide enough so it took hours of passing it through, rotating directions, and running at a very slow speed. Eventually the thing turned out great, and I’m very pleased, but I never expected it to take so long. I also used an old bottle of Titebond III we had laying around at work for my initial glue up, and I think it might be a little too old. The first glue up fell apart on me, but not until after I had already made the second set of cuts. It took me an extra day and a new bottle of glue to get back on track. I finished the cutting board with Watco Butcher Block Finish.

I made the coasters to somewhat match the theme of the board, but with it being much smaller, I had to condense it down. I did this by cutting the dimensions you see in the coaster, but made them 10 inches long and glued them together to form a giant log. I then sliced them on the table saw (I was waiting on a new bandsaw resaw blade in the mail), ran them through the drum sander, and routed and sanded the edges round. I then built a quick little holder for them with some scraps I had. I finished these with several coats of lacquer.

The final piece in the set is a salt & pepper & napkin holder. I picked up the pepper grinder and salt shaker at TJ Max for a good price and built the holder around them. I thought the pattern used on the cutting board and coasters would be too busy for the middle of a dinner table, so I went with a simpler pattern. The vertical pieces are dadoed into the base and the grinder/shaker are recessed about a 3/8” with a 2” round forstner bit. Also finished with several coats of lacquer.

My parents loved these items when the opened them tonight while we celebrated Christmas a few days early with family. I was also very impressed with what I was able to come up with. This is the first time I have made any of these types of items and it’s also the first time I’ve ever done much with hardwoods. I build with oak a lot at work, but that gets old. I also don’t do much glueing without fasteners like I did here. That was an experience…

I hope you all enjoy looking at these! Merry Christmas!

12 comments so far

View Betsy's profile


3391 posts in 4037 days

#1 posted 12-22-2013 03:00 AM

I think you did a great job. The whole set looks really nice.

-- "Our past judges our present." JFK - 1962; American Heritage Magazine

View kdc68's profile


2689 posts in 2418 days

#2 posted 12-22-2013 03:10 AM

Wow…Excellent work ! Everything together as a set look great. Well done…thanks for sharing

-- Measure "at least" twice and cut once

View Hawaiilad's profile


3276 posts in 3162 days

#3 posted 12-22-2013 04:20 AM

Very nice looking set…I’m sure your parents will like them

-- Larry in Hawaii,

View BobWemm's profile


2533 posts in 2067 days

#4 posted 12-22-2013 06:16 AM

That is a very beautiful looking set. Congratulations.

-- Bob, Western Australia, The Sun came up this morning, what a great start to the day. Now it's up to me to make it even better. I've cut this piece of wood 4 times and it's still too damn short.

View majuvla's profile


13009 posts in 3008 days

#5 posted 12-22-2013 07:00 AM

Beautiful stuff for gifts.

-- Ivan, Croatia, Wooddicted

View Jake's profile


850 posts in 1772 days

#6 posted 12-22-2013 09:24 AM

Very nice looking indeed.

-- Measure twice, cut once, cut again for good measure.

View davidmackv's profile


317 posts in 1788 days

#7 posted 12-22-2013 11:44 AM

Sorry you had such a rough time. They are beautiful though and well worth the effort.

View TDominy's profile


128 posts in 2683 days

#8 posted 12-22-2013 03:56 PM


-- By hammer in hand, all things do stand.

View Vagabondwheeler's profile


50 posts in 2131 days

#9 posted 12-22-2013 04:22 PM

Very nice work.

-- KDW

View CalgaryGeoff's profile


937 posts in 2623 days

#10 posted 12-22-2013 07:02 PM

Awesome set, nice patterns and wood selections,,plus a unique collection. Great idea.

-- If you believe you can or can not do a thing, you are correct.

View JJones98042's profile


228 posts in 2393 days

#11 posted 12-23-2013 12:22 PM

Outstanding! :D

-- "Keep thy airspeed up, lest the earth come from below and smite thee." - William Kershner

View Fishinbo's profile


11362 posts in 2316 days

#12 posted 12-26-2013 02:54 PM

Wonderful set! Like the attractive wood combo and great finish. They sure make great gifts indeed. Great job!

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