When some friends from church learned I was a wood worker they brought me a box of samples they had left over from building their house. These were squares of finished wood, about 5 to 6 inches a side and around 3/8 inch thick. Some were stained, some painted; some were milled, some flat. There was alder, oak, birch, mahogany, walnut, hickory, cherry. “We were sure you could find something to do with them,” they said.
It was an interesting pile. But what o do with it? I made a couple small boxes, just for the heck of it. Then I thought of a cutting board.
First I had to get rid of the finish. I ended up running everything through my planer. That got rid of most of it.
Next I ripped the pieces on my table saw. I discarded the parts with milled profiles. That gave me a pile of strips about 1 1/2 inches wide.
I glued those up, trimmed the resulting pieces, then ripped them, ready to glue up.
I spent some time getting these square and flat – some if these woods were pretty hard. Finally I glued it up, trimmed the edges to a 12 3/4 inch square and sanded … a lot of sanding. I discovered several defects that were too deep to sand out. To take care of them I drilled them out with a 1/2 inch forstner bit. Then I cut end-grain plugs of maple and walnut I had in the shop and glued them in the holes. After trimming and sanding the result came out like an intentional accent contrasting the hundreds of rectangles.
I finished the board with a mix of mineral oil and bees wax. I like the way it turned out.
-- Dave K.