Walnut Cheese Board

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.

Another view of the finished bowl
The finished cheese board

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.

Walnut log discs
Walnut log discs

I used the bandsaw on my ShopSmith ┬áto 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.

Planning the square layout
Planning the square layout

I used the disk sander to flatten each edge so they’d glue nicely to each other.

Flattening the edges of each square for gluing
Flattening the edges of each square for gluing

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.

Clamping the squares into strips
Clamping the squares into strips

Once they’d all dried I went back to the bandsaw to even up the edges, making 4 strips with flat sides.

The 4 strips cut flat along their edges
The 4 strips cut flat along their edges

Once those were sanded I glued the four strips together and clamped them again.

Clamping the 4 strips into a single board
Clamping the 4 strips into a single board

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.

Using a router bit to flatten the board
Using a router bit to flatten the board

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.

Oiling and Waxing the board
Oiling and Waxing the board

And that’s how it’s done!

The finished Cheese Board
Another view of it on a white counter

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.

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