Why the heck is a chef making cutting boards?
Life is funny sometimes. Growing up I was never part of a household that did a lot of DIY projects. However over the years I’ve gotten tired of spending money to have people do work that I thought I could do myself. Sometimes I was mistaken, but other times I have been rewarded by doing a project that stretched my brain to dimensions I didn’t think it could attain.
One such project is my current kitchen. We moved into our house January of 2010 and the kitchen was a disaster. We traipsed to all the different home shows, interviewed many different contractors and got bids for all of the work that we wanted completed. The end result was that “Project-Kitchen” was going to take a huge amount of dough. Some of the bids were almost half of what we purchased the house for in the first place.
We were stuck with a kitchen that wasn’t very friendly to cook in and not wanting to spend huge sums of money to remodel it. So after some crazy talk we decided to embark on the remodeling ourselves.
You can see all of the updates as our kitchen has taken shape.
To complete much of the work we needed to acquire tools, tools, and more tools. We purchased a table saw, miter saw, jointer, wet saw, hand tools, hammers, planes, routers,… The list is almost endless.
As the kitchen started to take shape I started thinking about what else these tools could do. I’ve never been a woodworker and I’ve never worked with many of these tools before. After some thought I decided to attempt to make a new cutting board. I watched a bunch of videos, read many how-to articles and my desire to make an end grain cutting board grew.
That’s pretty much the seed from which this grew. I started posting pictures of my wood blocks as they were progressing and they were turning out beautiful. For Christmas of 2011 I made some larger cutting boards for family and friends.
From that moment on many people asked if I would be selling my cutting boards. I hadn’t thought about it but after some coaxing I decided to give it a try.
Here is the process that I go through to build a cutting board from scratch for each of my customers. Enjoy looking through the pictures. It take approximately 2 weeks from start to finish before the boards are ready to ship out.
First I go out and pick out my wood. Currently I’m using pine which is a soft wood but in an end-grain configuration it will hold up to the knife edges well and the knives won’t dull like they would on other surfaces.
I cut each board into manageable lengths and get them ready to run through the gauntlet of things necessary to turn out a beautiful cutting board.
After the pieces get cut to length they then are run through a machine called a jointer. This machine helps to flatten out the wood on a few sides so that the rest of the building goes smoothly.
After the wood is flat I go to my table saw and cut my boards into square sticks that are ready for their first glue-up.
At the first glue-up each stick is laid out with glue and clamped together tightly to each neighboring stick. This plank is then left to set overnight.
The next day the plank is pulled out of the clamps, looked over to make sure the glue dried properly and then the plank is planed flat.
Once the plank is flat, back to the table saw to cut the plank into strips again.
Once the strips have all been cut, its back to the gluing table. I first lay all of the strips down to take a look at the grain of the wood and try to pick a pleasing pattern.
Once I decide on a pattern it’s time to get busy gluing them all together. After the glue is applied, everything gets clamped tightly and it sits overnight.
The next day the clamps get taken off and the cutting board blank is looked over. If everything looks great then it’s back to my worktable to flatten and smooth the blank.
Once the blank is flat and relatively smooth, it’s back to the table saw to cut the blank to size.
Depending on the style of the cutting board that I’m making I will cut handles out of the board so that it’s easy to pick up off of the counter when in use.
If everything has went well then the board now goes to final sanding. I sand all of the sides of the cutting board as well as the edges so that the board feels silky smooth and nice to touch.
The board gets another inspection before I mix up my special tung oil mixture and apply it to the cutting board. This happens in two stages. The first day the tung oil gets applied then I wait a day. The next day I apply another coat of oil.
The cutting board at this point is almost finished. It gets set aside for a week to let the tung oil cure.
After the week is complete I look over the board one more time then give it a final coat of paraffin wax. The wax helps to further protect and beautify the board.
I then package up the cutting board and send it off to the excited owner so that they can use their beautiful, and functional art piece. Along with instructions for the care and use of their new board.
Check out our line of hand made kitchen products. Not only my beautiful cutting boards but also other amazing items made with love by artisans that you will be proud to own. http://ourdailysalt.com/shop