This was supposed <supposed !> to be a quick, easy project. I had no idea going into this project it would take as long as it did, and be as complicated as it was. After all, it's only a simple wooden serving platter.
It started off easy, I had a piece of wood with natural edges that had been sitting around in my wood storage room for several years because I didn't know what to do with it. I started off by selecting a section of it that would be perfect for the platter ... even sawed it off with a hand saw to be safe.
Next I planed the thickness of the board to around 3/4 inch, just thin enough it was easy to handle but still showed off enough of the natural edge to make it look great.

 

Now, unbeknown to me, the hard part started. How to you prepare the edges of this board without destroying it's natural look. It was quite craggy and rough and needed to be smoothed down but still retain the natural edge look. I decided to start off with a tiny wire brush on my rotary tool. To my delight it worked great ...

... but it took a long, long time to cover such a large area. To get to some of the less craggy areas and go a little faster, I found that a fine wire brush on my corded drill worked fine as long as I went slow and didn't push too hard. The end result, after about 2 hours of light sanding with a sponge sander, my muliti-tool and a combination of brushes ... the edges looked great.

The next little "challenge" was to to do something with a couple of holes from a knot and a crack in the wood. My idea with these was to fill them with some sort of compound that would be clear so that you could somewhat see through it and it would help to give the board a 3 dimensional look. I decided that a clear, 2-part epoxy glue should work fine. I knew that mixing smaller quantities is best and layer the epoxy for best results. I also had to make sure it would not run out, or run down the crack so that took a bit of extra work as you can see in the video.

What I didn't count on what how long and tedious it would be mixing small quantities ... applying it to the cracks, waiting for it to dry and harden ... then re-applying more layers. This was much more work than what I counted on, but finally that job was done too and the board was now ready to be sanded.

During the process of waiting for epoxy to harden, I took one of the cut-off pieces from the end to test it for color and finish and decided that using an amber dye with a Saicos finish looked the best.

Of course the amber dye is a water based, so after applying that, it had to take time to dry thoroghly too ... more time !!!  After the dye was dry, now I could finally apply the top finish, the Saicos. It does take a while to apply this finish and it is extremely important that you do NOT apply too much. If it is too thick it takes longer to dry and is harder to work with. With Saicos ... less is best, if you even think you have too much Saicos on, you probably do so wipe it off with  clean cloth or paper towel.

And yet again, I am waiting for another finish to dry before I can apply subsequent coats ... but finally, 4 days later ... yes folks , 4 days later the platter was finished and dry, and ready for use. The good news is it looked fabulous and when you put food on it, even the food looks better.

WOW ... what a great project, but don't think this is something you can do in a few hours, it could take you days and days to finish but it is well worth it in the end, as you will see if you venture into a similar project.

Copyright Colin Knecht
woodworkweb.com

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