Wednesday, January 1, 2014

What a Great Neighborhood

Flat portions ripped.
We just moved to Largo from St. Petersburg. We had not been here a month when I noticed that my neighbor across the street had a set of wooden shutters sitting out by the curb. As I am a fan of building things out of reclaimed wood, I crossed the street to liberate them from the trash.

What I came home with, however, was a pile of black walnut moulding, the shortest piece of which was around four feet. He even threw in a cedar 2x6 and a handful of white oak trim moulding -- all for free. 

So what on earth was I going to do with intricately profiled moulding? Make cutting boards, of course.

I started by ripping off the flat portions of the moulding on the table saw. I ended up with stock measuring about one to 1 1/2 inches in width. After cutting the strips to more manageable lengths, I threw them onto the crosscut sled and cut a few dozen 11-inch blanks.

Blanks arranged into groups before gluing.
My walnut strips were about 3/4" thick, and the oak were around 3/8". That gave me options for setting up contrasting color patterns, and options are a good thing when you've decided to make a batch of cutting boards as Christmas presents for your relatives.
Not owning a planer, drum sander, jointer, or even a jack plane, I was a little worried that the glue-up was going to leave me with a set of twisted washboards, especially considering the flexible nature of my cheap-o clamps. As it turns out, all but one of the boards came out smooth enough to proceed (note to self: when gang clamping, use decent clamps, and make sure to clamp vertically), so I cut them to final length using a crosscut sled on the table saw.
After glue-up
I was pleased to find that a little work with the block plane and the random-orbit sander (60 grit paper) evened things out nicely. The glue lines disappeared; the hills and valleys blended together.
After rough planing and sanding

I sanded the boards further using 100, 150, and 220 grits, achieving quite a smooth surface, then hit the edges with a 1/2" roundover bit in the router.

After softening all the edges and corners, I slathered all five boards with three coats of mineral oil.

On Christmas Eve. We wrapped them in paper towels the next morning.

All in all, I'm pretty pleased with how they turned out, and I'm planning on turning the rest of that pile of black walnut into even more cutting boards...hopefully in time for next Christmas...

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