I wanted to take some time to give everyone a look inside the shop and see the build process i go through from start to finish.
The process starts with selecting the right piece of wood to work with, which in this case is this awesome piece of curly ambrosia maple that i found at the local saw mill. I didn't originally know my intentions for this piece of wood but sometimes the wood dictates what it wants, and in this case the grain was just to awesome to chop up into a cutting board, so i decided to keep it intact the best i could.
Once i have a general idea and direction established i need to mill my lumber so that it is the size i need and that it has two flat and parallel faces and two flat and parallel edges.
I cut the board down to 25" on my table saw and saved the other piece for a later project. Then i need to make sure that each edge is straight. To do this i have to run one edge through my table jointer, This maschine will give me one straight edge to work with. I can then take that new straight edge i just created to the table saw and cut the other edge, So i now have two straight edges that are parallel to one another.
So now i have to make sure that the board is flat on both sides, nobody wants a cheese board that is wobbling on their kitchen table. To achieve a nice flat board is a little bit tricky and complicated, while my jointer is designed to flatten wood its only 6" wide and my lumber is 10.5" so i need to get creative. So to fix my problem i pulled out another woodworking tool, my thickness planer. I shimmed the corners on my board so that it sat nice and flat on my sled and fed it through my planer, this gave me one nice flat side of the board, then i merely had to flip it over and run the other side through the planer to finish it off.
Ok great, so now i have a board that is cut to my desired length, has to straight and parallel edges and each face ( Top & bottom) is also flat and parallel. From here i sketch out my design on the wood and once i am happy with the design i cut it out on my jigsaw. The jigsaw will just get me a rough cut, the rest of the handle i need to shape by hand with varying degrees of sandpaper. To sand the board i start with 80 grit and then move to 120 grit to get the board nice and smooth. Once the 120 grit is finished i wet the entire board down to raise the grain on the board, when it dries i give the entire board a good sanding at 220. If i didn't do this last step your board would get pretty rough when you wash it for the first time
So that is pretty much it, the board is sanded down and shaped just the way i want it to be. The last step to finishing off the project is to apply a few coats of food safe mineral oil and bees wax. To learn more about this process, see my previous post on board maintenance.