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Chopping/carving board

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default Chopping/carving board

Post by Chilli-head on 25th June 2013, 10:20 am

Finished my chopping board the other day.  To go with it, a knife which had a broken plastic handle, but a good quality Sheffield made blade - I gave it a new handle of black cherry wood, attached using Corby bolts.

To make one like it, you will need:

A suitable wood - beech, sycamore or fruit woods are good - this one is beech offcuts, all 19mm (3/4") thick strips in various widths.

Food safe and water resistant glue - Titebond3 is ideal.

Oil to finish - if you have no family or friends with nut allergies, walnut is good.  Otherwise, a variety of food grade mineral oils / butcher's block oil can be used - or liquid paraffin from the chemist, it is the same stuff.

The strips of wood are first butt jointed edge to edge to make a board, clamping it all up with 4 sash clamps. It is important to pay attention to the arrangement of the widths of the strips - the pattern can be random if you have lots of odd pieces, or at least asymmetric - the blocks of the final board will be done by flipping alternate strips, and you don't want the joints all lined up, random or a brick pattern are better.  To make a final board 400 wide by 300 deep, at this stage you need a board about 400 wide and 500 long.

This board is then planed smooth and flat, and cut, cross grain, into strips about 28mm wide (to make a 25mm/1" thick board - or as you prefer).  the strips are stood on edge, and each alternate strip flipped to stagger the joins between the strips.  Then glue them back together into the end-grain board. It's best to build the board up a few (2-3) strips at a time: if, like me, you have planed the wood by hand, any slight error in the planing to thickness will accumulate as the board is built up - doing it in stages allows you to plane the edges back to square and parallel in between each stage so that the final board is square and flat.

Then comes the hard bit - plane the two end grain surfaces of the board flat.  I used a No 5 jack plane with a sharp, well cambered blade.  Time spent sharpening is greatly repaid in the reduced effort !  A bit of candle wax on the plane sole helps a lot too.

Finally, the finishing touches.  Round the corners to a visually satisfying radius.  The groove for collecting meat juices is a carving exercise; I marked the groove with a mortice gauge, and a compass for the radiused corners.  The position of the well is marked simply by making that corner curve into a full circle.  Carve out between the lines (I used a 1/4" gouge).  The well is roughed out with a gouge, and finished with a spoon knife.  A once over with a cabinet scraper cleans up any layout lines  (or minor slips with the gouge), before oiling copiously - the end grain will soak up a lot - 150ml, I used.
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Post by freebird on 25th June 2013, 1:17 pm

CH that is just beautiful.

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Post by polgara on 25th June 2013, 3:15 pm

Really nice a+

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] Enjoy every second of your life, because time races by so much quicker than you think...

So take care of yourself, be Happy, Love Deeply and enjoy life!


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Post by Jaded Green on 25th June 2013, 5:41 pm

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Post by Dandelion on 25th June 2013, 10:40 pm

So beautiful it seems a shame to risk marking it by cutting on it!!

The richer we have become materially, the poorer we have become morally and spiritually. We have learned to fly in the air like birds and swim in the sea like fish, but we have not learned the simple art of living together as brothers and sisters.

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Post by Chilli-head on 26th June 2013, 11:23 am

Glad you like it. I've been wanting a good board to carve meat on for a while, to save the edges of my knives. I do mean to use it, but the idea of making an end-grain board is that is should suffer less, as the knife cuts don't sever the wood fibres in the way that they do in a cross-grain board. I can always clean it up again with a block plane every so often.
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