I made a charcuterie board over the holidays.
Actually, I started out wanting to make a cutting board. An end grain cutting board. Inspired by this one. But it turned out so good looking that I’m calling it a charcuterie board.
First up, a shot of the finished product.
My dad has been a wood-wizard for a long time and he has a whole mess of scraps lying around the shop, including these pieces of (l-r) birch, walnut, mahogany, and purple heart. I figured these four species would provide some good contrast to create an interesting design.
First step was to rip each board into strips. The purple heart was the shortest I had, so I cut the longer boards down to match, about 50 cm. I ripped the resulting boards into various widths, between about 2 and 5 cm wide.
Here are all the strips cut to size and arranged into what I thought might be a nice order for my cutting board. This was also shortly after I discovered that I had enough strips for 5 or 6 cutting boards. Cool.
Since my dad’s planer is 33 cm wide, I measured things out and discovered that I could get 6 boards between about 30 and 33 cm wide.
Seemed like a good idea to do a test run with one board before making the same mistake with all of them right off the bat. Here is the first one set up for the first round of gluing. The middle strip is walnut, and everything else in this one is birch.
The more bilateral assymetry you set up here, the more noticeable the pattern will be.
Once the strips were set up, I rotated each of them 90 degrees, and applied the glue.
Notice the third strip from the left? Too rough, so I planed it down a little. Here it is glued up and ready to cure in clamps.
Next morning, I used a nice sharp chisel to scrape the glue bits off before sending it through the planer.
Next step was to cut the glued and planed plank across the grain and into strips.
Cutting 13 strips cost me about 3 mm per cut due to the width of the blade, so the final result was quite a lot shorter than the original. Here are the strips oriented with the end grain up. You can see in this image that there was some chipping in the walnut that led to gaps, so we decided to change blades on the table saw to a narrower blade with more teeth.
To create the pattern, you need to rotate every other strip 180 degrees, as below.
Now, it’s time to go through the same gluing, clamping, chiseling, and planing steps as previous. The main difference is that you need to add a couple of sacrificial strips on either end, otherwise, the planer will cause major chipping on the ends. It’s also important to note that planers will have a much harder time cutting the end grain, so take it slow.
Here’s a shot of the glued and clamped board along with the sacrificial strips on either end. Next time, I’ll make sure that the sacrificial strips are closer to the same height as the board.
After planing, it’s time to cut off the sacrificial strips, trim up the edges so that they are square and then rout the edges. I used a plain quarter-round bit to smooth all the edges.
Once the edges are rounded, it is time to haul out the orbital sander. I started with 100 grit, but that was too slow to get rid of the lines left by the planer (now fixed), so I dropped down to 80 to do the first pass. Then I used 180, then 240 grit to get a nice smooth finish.
The final step is to finish the board. I used Clapham’s Salad Bowl Finish, which is a mixture of beeswax and mineral oil. The finish waterproofs the board.
I figure it looks too nice to use as a cutting board, so it’s been dubbed a charcuterie board.
Charcuterie Boards by Colin Madland is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.