Batch One, the Story - Fall, 2023

Batch One, the Story - Fall, 2023
A few of the first batch

Someone—I think it was Chris Salomone at Foureyes Furniture—said that making stuff out of wood is a process of taking a tree, which is a very large chunk of wood, and cutting it into smaller and smaller chunks of wood just so that you can reassemble those chunks into larger and larger chunks again. That is never more true than when making fancypants cutting boards.

The first thing you do is cut a bunch of wood planks into very small strips.

Actually, the first thing you do in this specific case is build a rolling stand for your new portable table saw with which you will cut a bunch of wood planks into very small strips. But I digress. You take some interesting wood (local reclaimed wood, some exotics that you buy when you find them on sale) which you have collected for a while and you make that wood into very small chunks indeed.

Then you horse around for a little while, laying out your strips in various patterns until they're between 11 and 12" wide, which is how wide your semi-pro planer can manage and is therefore as wide as you can realistically make a board. Oh, you should also like the pattern. If you don't find the pattern pleasing, fiddle around until you do!

Step Three: How Many Clamps Do You Have?

Then you glue and clamp, and there's some unwritten rule that you will never have enough clamps to glue everything you want to glue. Or at least that's the case in my small shop. It's waterproof glue, safe, the good stuff.

Steps Four, Five, and Six I don't have good process pictures of, sadly—maybe next time. You send the boards through the planer until they're uniformly thick. Then you cut to size and round the corners over on the router table, and then you spend way, way longer than you really want to sanding through the various grits, wetting them down to raise the grain, and sanding again. You listen to some books on tape during this because you have to think about something. In my case: it's murder mysteries. Always a sucker for a detective story.

Finally, my favorite part: cleaning the boards and finishing them with oil and conditioner. The wood pops into vibrant life, taking on a sheen and luster that pleases the eye and warms the heart. Sure, you have to do multiple coats, but each coat brings a little more out of the wood.

Finally, you decide that you'll put this stuff online. After all, you've made these not just for yourself, but to see if other people will want them too! If you do that, you may as well go all-in and make some refresher wax so that anyone who buys one can touch up the finish on their board and keep it looking shiny and lovely for the foreseeable future.

If you want MORE PICTURES, here's a post showing off the boards in more detail.