I made a small cutting board from a walnut branch. It was a present for my little sister Abbey. She got it yesterday so I can finally post pictures of it.
It started with these walnut log circles. I cut them a couple months ago and immediately boiled them. Then I wrapped them in a paper grocery bag and let them dry slowly.
If you don’t boil them they’ll split and crack while they’re drying. I don’t know why it works, but work it did.
I used the bandsaw on my ShopSmith to cut them roughly square. You can see the mold that was growing on them since they were drying slowly in a basement. It’s OK though, because it’s all going to get cut off in the next few steps.
I used the disk sander to flatten each edge so they’d glue nicely to each other.
Next I glued each set of 4 or 5 blocks into single strips. I only have 3 long clamps so I had to do this in two phases. What I need to do is get some of these pony clamps and long pipes. Then I could clamp anything.
Once they’d all dried I went back to the bandsaw to even up the edges, making 4 strips with flat sides.
Once those were sanded I glued the four strips together and clamped them again.
Now I had a rough uneven board. I don’t own a planer, so I put a flat router bit in the drill press, cranked the speed up and passed the board under it again and again. It was a bit sketchy, but after several passes, taking 1/8 of an inch off at a time I ended up with something close to flat. I used the belt sander to clean up the tool marks and make it smoother.
I used my router to round over the edges, and then started applying butcher block conditioner to it. Butcher block conditioner is just mineral oil and bees wax. I did about three coats with that, then a coat of just bees wax which I buffed with a rag.
And that’s how it’s done!
The last step is to give it a good coating of mineral oil every month for the next 6 months or so until the oil has really soaked in well.