So I’m at Toronto’s One Of A Kind show a few weeks ago looking for gifts and such. I found a nice selection of cutting boards, and remembered that I have one friend who needs a new one to replace the nasty hunk of mildew she has now. I almost pay for one until I realized that I could just make a cutting board out of some scrap burly maple I have. So after coming come I grabbed the aforementioned hunk of tree, and headed straight to the lab to get a start on it.
I first cut it into a nice square-ish shape. Since it’s got some nice bark on one side, I decided to keep it intact and only cut 2 other sides, making a nice triangle. I clamped some straight scrap to the bandsaw to make an impromptu fence, and made the cut. Gus was able to find a use for the scrap wood, so I gratefully passed it on to him.
After the cutting, I needed to trim and round it out. Here, the belt sander was indispensable. I rounded the top corners, and the side corner, and smoothed out the saw marks. The last remaining thing to sand was the very point of the corner, which I decided to do by hand. I started with a coarse file, which roughly chewed out the corner I wanted, then finished with 2 grades of sandpaper.
This all took about thirty minutes, but the last part would be much, much longer: varnishing. After reading up on finishes, the consensus seemed to be to use mineral oil only on the surface. However, I did need to seal the bark, and put a nice shine on it. Since the bark was a non-food area, I used about ten coats of Varathane there. To keep the varnish from getting into the food areas, I sandwiched the board between scrap lumber before spraying.