Right, so if I have a variety of pieces that need to be made, I always start with the cutting boards. I’ll get into why a little later, but for now, just know that this is where we’re beginning.
Wooden cutting boards are a better idea than plastic. A study by the University of California found that wood doesn’t turn into a germ colony like a plastic. And it’s definitely, definitely better in the “marital bliss” department than using your kitchen counters to cut things on.
I don’t laminate little strips for a cutting board. The glue fails in every one I’ve seen. We’re also preferentially using a diffusely porous hardwood. I found some cherry for a good price, so I’m using that, but rock maple or beech (walnut if you’re a Warbucks) work fine.
So taking our board, give yourself a cutline with a pattern. Nothing too fancy, or too large. I’ve seen a Shaker cutting board in this style (in Shea’s book) that looked like you could use it as a table afterward. My pattern is about 8″ wide by 18″ long. 4/4 (3/4″ thick) stock is good for this.
Once you have a cutline down, we can cut this out. You can rough it out with a handsaw, but it’s fair bit of rasp work later to clean up. Cutting along the entire perimeter of the handle with a coping saw is usually doable, but it’s slow. I’ve done both, but my preference is a bandsaw. Makes pretty quick work of it. Just like a handsaw, though, we don’t want to saw right on the line. Cut it a little fat so you have some material to smooth up without getting undersize.
And it looks like a cutting board now! Well, maybe if you unfocus your eyes a little…
So once we’ve got the shape roughed out, we need to clean it up. On the flat areas, I typically use my #4 smoothing plane, but you could use a rasp or a spokeshave if you want. You’ll need a rasp for the curved areas anyhow.
This is by no means the finished edge yet, but a regular surface will make it easier to work with and give you a more uniform edge. At this point you should be cutting right down to your cutlines with both the plane and rasp.
We’ve got more planing and rasping tomorrow, cutting the profile on the edge and putting in a detail that will make this a lot friendlier board to work with than a store-bought one.