I’d like to take our visitors through the board building process. As with everything, there are many ways to make a cutting board. I continue to use the following method to construct our boards. Of all the boards we have built I've not had one returned due to construction issues. I welcome any feedback or questions and hope this post conveys the effort we put into making each board. Special thanks to my wife for taking the pictures for this Blog. Let’s start with the raw materials.
We get our stock from the local hardwood dealer. Hughes Hardwoods in Chico, Ca. http://www.hugheshardwoodschico.com. We’ll buy the cut-offs from larger boards. The cut-offs are usually 1-3in wide and 8-10ft long. Here is a picture of a group we bought last year.
In this group there is Walnut, Mahogany, Oak, and Maple. As you can see most of the boards are fairly narrow. In this group we also bought some Padauk and Purpleheart. From time to time we’ll buy Bubinga, Lacewood, Wenge, Red Oak, Yellowheart and Zebrawood. After we get the wood home we cut some of the wood into 18" lengths and try to keep it in pairs. I usually cut these on our sliding table saw (tool people…wait till you see this saw! It was made in the 50’s and was built for a special purpose...more on that in Part 2). Because I use a lot of symmetrical patterns I want wood colors and graining to match as much as possible. Here is a picture of some wood waiting to be made into boards. Notice how they are paired.
I think we spend more time cutting and grouping wood more than anything else. Although, it seems like I'm constantly sanding something. Having a variety of wood to choose from (all pre cut) makes it easier for me to design the board.
So, that is our raw materials and next we’ll show how we design the cutting board.
For symmetry we start with a center board and work our way out. I want the cutting board to be between 9.5" and 11" wide. I use a piece of tape to mark the center and a couple of board sizes. I like to make the center board unique. Some kind of special graining or color and then I try to build contrast as we work our way to the outside of the board. First I will cut the matching pair to the same size.
I need to stop and talk about our shop safety. For my full time job I work for a company that manufactures fiberglass and it’s a loud, dirty and potentially dangerous environment. Safety is of the upmost importance to our company. Our home shop environment is the same. I have a great deal of respect for the equipment we use and do my best to use hand/eye/ear and dust protection whenever working around the machinery.
Back to the design…
Here we are sizing matching pairs.
Lets put all the pieces together:
So, this looks ok but it is a little too plain for me. We usually make our boards to standout. Lets add some contrasting accents.
After we like the design we’ll mark the board for glue-up.
This is important because some of the laminates have patterns I want to match up after gluing. I've circled the area I'm talking about. You'll see the two laminates line up.
We now have a board that is ready for glue.
Coming Soon: Part 2
In part 2 we'll cover glue-up, planning the board, rough sanding and routing. Thanks for your interest in Willows Woodtech. Your feedback and comments are always welcome.
Over the years I've had many hobbies. I love building and fixing things. Woodworking is probably the most satisfying. It’s always nice to make something that others like. I think that, more than anything pushes us to be creative and try new things. I’d like to share some of our stories and techniques. Your feedback is greatly appreciated. Thanks for your time.