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Making 3 Simple Cutting Boards

Making cutting boards continues to be a very popular project. The nice thing with making cutting boards is you can can use almost any hardwood available and even if you only have cutting left they can often still be re-fabricated into a usable cutting board. Cutting boards are a popular items at swap meets, country markets and garden markets. They are available in many different kinds of woods, shapes, sizes and grain patterns. In some parts of the country they can command a fair dollar, which make they popular among hobbyist woodworkers who can use up their cutting to help support their hobby. A great way to make a few dollars to help offset the cost of wood. 

Woods to Use for Cutting Boards
I am often asked what woods can be used for cutting boards? My answer is that from what I know almost any hardwood can be use. Most woods are considered toxic as far as inhaling sawdust but in terms of being used for cutting boards I am not aware or any wood that could not be used. Some people do have some allergies to some of the oils found in some woods. These are very rare and random, and the most common one I have heard of is Cedar, which should not be used for cutting boards mainly because it is such a soft wood and doesn't hold up well at all. The only other other woods that should not be used are spalted wood, these woods are colored the way they are because they have begun to rot, which is not an ideal for cutting boards. Boards with "live" or natural edges should also not be used. With edges like this they are hard to clean and could harbor food particles and bacteria. Cutting boards need to be flat and smooth on all sides.
Some people suggest that Oak and similar open pore woods should not be used for cutting boards. The choice is up to you, but personally I like oaks because the the tannin contained in oak wood helps to kill off bacteria. Some argue that the porous wood harbors food and bacteria but even a nice smooth wood like maple, after a few weeks of cutting will have slice marks in it equal or bigger that what would be seen in oak. I leave the decision on what to use for woods up to you now that you have the information to make your own choices.


In terms of size and shape, that is totally up to the maker. I have seen cutting boards as thinner that half an inch and as thick as 2 inches. I have seen the outside dimensions as small as 6 inches by 9 inches and as large as 20 inches by 30 inches. Cutting boards can be constructed in many different ways ....

Building a Hand Plane Wall Rack

There is a reason that the image of a hand plane is on so many business cards for woodworkers and business that do woodworking. The hand plane has become a symbol of woodworking and is recognized around the world as such. For me, moving them to a wall mount rack wasn't about the woodworkers spirit moving me to do so, it was all about freeing up more room in my woodworking cabinet.

For some reason I seem to have accumulated a few more tools over the past few years and finding a place to put them is at a premium. Storing hand planes on their side, in a drawer is fine, if you don't need the room for other things ... which I did. I felt the only reasonable alternative would be move them out of the drawer where they really were taking up much more space than needed, and moving them on to a wall rack would make good sense.

This was not a complex build but because you everyone has different planes and different numbers of them it's pretty hard to work from plans. And so, another "build it on the fly" project began ...

Building a Child's Picnic Table

child's picnic tableKids always seem to get such great use out of their toys and furniture. For that reason alone it's rewarding to build things for them, and that's exactly what Graham did ... while I stood around and watched and held a few boards. Actually, it was kind of nice to be an observer for a change and let someone else do the building. Lucky for me Graham has build a few of these in the past so not only did he know exactly what he was doing, he had a few tricks along the way to share with us too, which could make our builds quicker and better.

Graham started off with a number of red cedar, 2" x 4" and 2" x 6" boards of varying lengths. Because the plan for this picnic table called for use of pre-cut boards, all Graham had to do was to cut the boards to their correct lengths and he rounded over all the boards to help eliminate any chances of getting slivers from the wood.

The build was fairly straight forward when you understand that in this case Graham wanted to hide all the joinery underneath the table for a couple of reasons, first it makes it nice to look at, but secondly it helps to keep the weather from the screws and bolts, which in term helps to reduce the incidence of rusting, which will still happen, just not as quickly.

Chisel Tune-up and Sharpening Overview - On Tormek Grinder

All woodworking tools need to be kept razor sharp. It really does make a difference. Not only is woodworking easier when cutting tools are sharp, the outcomes are better with less tear-out, less fuzzy edges and sharper cleaner cuts. All of which often means less sanding (at least for some things).

I have always found chisels to be the one tool in the shop that you can instantly tell if they are sharp or not, just by how they work. If you are a carver, you will really know the meaning of sharp tools because to carvers, trying to work with tools that are dull is exceedingly frustrating. I know carvers, and woodturners as always sharpening their chisels. They very quickly get to know the condition of the sharpness of their tools and are constantly "tuning them up" which really means adding the fine razor edge sharpness to what many of us would consider a sharp tool.

There are a few different methods, jigs and tools for sharpening, either by hand or with some sort of a machine. One of the sharpening machines is called a Tormek Grinder and is produced by a Swedish Company.


The Tormek Grinder development started around 1973, but long before that, around the world, large grinding machines were quite common. Often the wheels were 24" in diameter and were driven by a foot pedal or a crank, and some of them even had water cooling troughs attached to them. What Tormek did was bring this old concept and adapt it to more modern electric motors and make an amazingly accurate and efficient sharpening tool.

Shop Tour of Coventry Woodworks

wall mirrorI don't think there is anything more enjoyable than paying a visit to another woodworker ... except maybe paying a visit to 2 woodworkers. Not long ago I had the pleasure of visiting with a woodworking couple, both of whom are amazing woodworkers and between them have a wealth of knowledge. Cam Russell and Karen Trickett of Coventy Woodworks.
To make it even more enjoyable I got to see their new woodworking shop, which has been, I believe about 3 years in the making, and worth every second. This is easily a "Dream Workshop" for most of us. The shop it'self is 24 feet wide and 32 feet long with a vaulted ceiling. At the apex of the ceiling there is another open area where you can open windows that helps to create a natural draft on hot summer days and keep the workshop cool to work in. 

They have brought together some great tools that most of us would love to have. A large Powermatic Table Saw, a Makita Sliding Mitre with what looks like a 10 or 12 foot work bench for long pieces of wood. And then their is the Minmax combination 12" helical head, jointer/planer, and the list goes on ...

Colin's Holly Wood Sunglasses

wooden sunglassesWhen ever I start some kind of a different woodworking project that I have never attempted before, I have learned that making a prototype or working model of the object is a great way to learn about how to build it. And this is the case with making Sunglasses. I have never attempted to make sunglasses with wooden frames, but have always wanted to do do this. I have seen them - rarely - so I know it can be done but have no idea what the pitfalls might be.  The first thing I need is lenses and the quickest and easiest place for me to acquire sunglass lenses is ... you guess it one of the Dollar Stores. I picked out a pair of sunglasses, that looked to me, like they would be something I could work with. Fairly flat lenses 9or so I thought) and not fancy. Something actor Jack Nicholson would wear - how could I go wrong with that?

I had given this project a fair bit of thought and I theorized that I could pop the existing lenses out of the frames, then use the frames as a template to make the new wooden frames. It all worked in my head, too bad it didn't quite work in practice.


After spending a couple of hours making a jig to hold the sunglass frames, which I would then use a patterning bit in my router table to easily make the inside of the frames, I had made myself a beautiful jig that anyone would be proud of ...