Well-Rounded

So we stopped yesterday with a nice even perimeter all the way around our cutting board.  So now, while the edges are flat and easy to grip, let’s go ahead and plane our cutting surface even.

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If you look closely, you’ll see that it appears that there’s a dark outer edge and a lighter area in the middle of the board.  The dark areas are what the plane has been cutting.  The light area is a shallow hollow in the middle of the board.  So plane until the surface is a nice even texture, visually and palpably.  Once the other side is done too, here’s a detail that makes a difference.

When you try to pick a cutting board off the counter where you’ve been cutting things, it never wants to come up!  Especially since invariably you have wet hands, and it’s just a mess.  Here’s a way to make the board easy to grab off the counter.  I start with the planed handle, which is even with the rest of the board.

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I then take my plane and cut a sloped surface down to the end of the handle.  It doesn’t have to be a huge slope, but maybe an eighth or so.

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Remember that the grain is reversed on the opposite side of the board, so you’ll have to plane up from the end.  It feels a little strange, but it will work out.  This slope, along with the rounded edges, lets your fingers slide up under the handle and pick up the board easily, even if it’s on a flat surface.

To round an edge gracefully, it should be beveled first.  Otherwise it looks bloated.  Draw a line around the outer edges of the board on both face and edge.  I do it by eye, but it works out to be about a quarter inch or so.

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Once we have those lines as a guide (you could just do it by eye if you’re feeling frisky), connect them with a bevel, all the way around the board.  Once again, I like to use the plane on the flat edges, and a rasp on the curved ones.

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And finally, at long last, we can make the edges round.  I use a fine rasp for this all the way around.  Don’t go past your inside line, and try for a nice, even radius.

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That pretty much finishes the structural part of this.  Tomorrow we’ll sand and finish, and that should be it for this build.

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