|Project by TimBridge||posted 04-05-2014 12:42 AM||1872 views||2 times favorited||8 comments|
This is my first “finished” project in that it’s the first project that is for use outside the shop.
It is made from maple and oak. I know that oak isn’t the best wood for a cutting board but at the time, I was still only purchasing wood from my local Home Depot and the selection there is: maple, oak, and poplar :(.
Another negative thing about the HD is they only stock 3 quarter wood so I purchased enough to allow me to laminate two pieces them together for 6 quarter wood. I think the original TWW plans calls for 7 or 8 quarter so my final dimensions are slightly smaller but it works just as well! I was a bit nervous that having each “square” in the board be composed of 2 separate pieces (thus causing mismatching in the exposed grain) would make the piece look weird, but I think it came out okay.
I found a cool looking piece of maple with some darker grain running through it so I picked that one and cut it so the end grain would be book-matched once in their final position. I think this is called ‘figuring’ but please correct me if I’m wrong. I’m always looking to learn!
I had a heck of a time flattening this board. I neither have an electric thickness planer yet (it’s on my list but I’m not sure if I want to go with a jointer or planer next and I just got a little 9” bandsaw for really cheap last week so I’ll need to upgrade that eventually as well), nor would I want to run an end grain board through a thickness planer based on the horror stories I’ve read. Apparently, end grain + electric planers = flying wood shards.
What I ended up doing was using my one and only plane, a block plane, to flatten it as well I could and then followed up with 80 grit sandpaper. Unfortunately, my perfectionist attitude got the best of me and I saw that I had some glue marks in between a few joints. I’m not sure what caused them to show in these few locations versus others but I really wanted to get rid of them. To do that, I built a little router jig that let me place the bit ever so slightly lower than the current height of the board and move it across the surface.
However, and I’m not sure if it was the bit I used (3/4” straight), my jig (a quickly thrown together MDF and construction lumber make), or my technique (I did notice that I went ‘backwards’ more than I probably should have), but I ended up having some scratch marks and slight gouging in places on the board. I then decided to just sand it up through the grits from 80, 120, 150, 180, 220 and it took care of most of it. There were a few marks still remaining at this point but I figured “hey, it’s a cutting board. It’s built to get scratched.” Plus, I had already taken about 1/4” to 1/2” of stock off of it through all my planing and sanding. I have since purchased a Diablo mortising bit and I got some better plans to built a router planing jig so I plan on working on a better router surface planing system in the future.
In order to keep the thing food-safe, I opted to finish it up with some Butcher Block Conditioner which is basically Mineral Oil and Beeswax. I decided not to put handles in this one because of its low height.
I think it came out pretty well for my first one and I plan to make a few more for friends and family. I just wish I could find some 7/8 or 8/8 wood around here so I wouldn’t have to waste a day and glue laminating two boards together.
-- Tim Bridge, Northern NJ,"Education is when you read the fine print; experience is what you get when you don't." Pete Seeger