Steps Cutting Board Version 2 (Two Step)

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Blog entry by SPalm posted 08-18-2010 03:03 AM 224145 reads 393 times favorited 89 comments Add to Favorites Watch

This is a second generation Steps cutting board made out of walnut, maple, and cherry. The first Steps board I made used a basic square with edge of maple and cherry to make it a block and a notch to do the stepping. I wanted to try to make a stepping board using the hex Tumbling Block design, and this is what I came up with.

In order to make the hex do the stepping, I needed to notch all three sides, as can be seen in the Sketchup drawing. The cool thing here is that it steps in two directions. I spent a bit of energy trying to create the hex block drawn in the middle, but ended up with a ‘built up’ block on the right.

After staring at the drawing of several of these blocks placed together, it seemed easiest to use triangles as the first subassembly. This never would have occurred to me if I had not drawn this all out. These triangles are made of three identically shaped Trapezoids (pyramids with the tops chopped off). The dimension of these is such that the top = the sides = 2 times the bottom. This ratio makes an easy check in the beginning to prove that the parts are cut right before proceeding. There are only two triangle combinations used.

I thickness sanded the three woods and another sacrificial piece of poplar to around 3/4 of an inch and then ripped one side at 60 degrees. I then made a 60 degree ripping sled with clamps to help hold these boards. It worked great and was easy to make. I kept creeping up to the correct width using the poplar to test. Once the width was set, the rest of the ripping was simple and safe. Clamp the board to the sled and slide the whole thing through the blade.

I then glued up triangle sticks of the three woods, remembering to make an equal total length of the two versions. In hind sight, I should have made shorter sticks. It would have been much easier to align the edges, as any error here is carried forward.

I lightly sanded these sticks before crosscutting them into little blocks. Reminds me of Stratego.

Then the big glue up. What could possibly go wrong? Well…… There are only 60 degree angles used (i.e. really pointy), and those little triangles really like to slide (i.e. shoot) around. I ended up gluing them into 8 vertical columns, and then lightly sanded the sides before gluing the columns to each other. I wish to have a second chance at this and come up with a better or more relaxed version. But there are always tradeoffs on choosing the size of a subassembly, or in choosing not to use them at all.

Here is a pic after the first sanding with the drum sander. I also cut the tips off of the outside triangles. It just has a coat of mineral spirits on it.

And here is a view from the diagonal. I love this view. It looks like a weave pattern.

I will post this to the Project section when I am done with the cleanup.

-- -- I'm no rocket surgeon

89 comments so far

View Porosky's profile


619 posts in 3872 days

#1 posted 08-18-2010 03:07 AM

Nice. Yes. Smart and Nice. Thanks for figuring this out. With friends like you there is no need for me to think at all. Favorite.

-- There's many a slip betwixt a cup and a lip.--Scott

View PurpLev's profile


8551 posts in 4156 days

#2 posted 08-18-2010 03:13 AM

very very cool. this seems so much easier than my trial to plane those triangles down… UGH.

-- ㊍ When in doubt - There is no doubt - Go the safer route.

View Pete Jansen's profile

Pete Jansen

250 posts in 3429 days

#3 posted 08-18-2010 03:22 AM

Super nice, I wish I had the patients to do something like that. Also the tools.

-- Lovin' sawdust in beautiful Fort Collins, Colorado

View blackcherry's profile


3343 posts in 4331 days

#4 posted 08-18-2010 04:23 AM

I’m in on this one Steve, very cool design the diagonal pic is off the chart…BC

View Mark Shymanski's profile

Mark Shymanski

5623 posts in 4220 days

#5 posted 08-18-2010 04:32 AM

Now you’ve gone and done it, now I want to make a cutting board! A really great piece of work, thanks for the great explanation.

-- "Checking for square? What madness is this! The cabinet is square because I will it to be so!" Jeremy Greiner LJ Topic#20953 2011 Feb 2

View sras's profile


5197 posts in 3637 days

#6 posted 08-18-2010 04:33 AM

Fantastic design! Thanks for sharing your process with us!

-- Steve - Impatience is Expensive

View cwdance1's profile


1160 posts in 3767 days

#7 posted 08-18-2010 04:40 AM

Very cool design, wish I had the patients for doing that kind of work.

View SPalm's profile


5334 posts in 4390 days

#8 posted 08-18-2010 05:16 AM

Thanks guys. It’s a pretty cool one. These boards just fascinate me.

BC: The diagonal view looks like a different board. That blows up my mind.

Porosky: I doubt you will stop thinking. You got skills.

LTC, Mark and CWD: You can do it. It is not That hard. The trouble is that people keep requesting them.

-- -- I'm no rocket surgeon

View BarbS's profile


2434 posts in 4593 days

#9 posted 08-18-2010 05:19 AM

Great tutorial, Steve. The creativity sure flows around here! Very nice board. Thank you so much for sharing the method.


View fernandoindia's profile


1081 posts in 3451 days

#10 posted 08-18-2010 05:25 AM

Hi Steve,

Cool design. And impressively done. I can´t even see the triangles !!

Thank you for the blog

-- Back home. Fernando

View SPalm's profile


5334 posts in 4390 days

#11 posted 08-18-2010 05:33 AM

Thanks Barb.

Fernando, isn’t that cool? I can barely find the triangles too. I am glad I drew it out before starting. It was really easy to get one of them in backward, so I had to triple check when glueing.

-- -- I'm no rocket surgeon

View Blake's profile


3443 posts in 4382 days

#12 posted 08-18-2010 06:26 AM


You do some cool stuff Steve.

-- Happy woodworking!

View Ken90712's profile


17741 posts in 3696 days

#13 posted 08-18-2010 11:00 AM

Awesome, you are one of our Masters on here no doubt! Amazing doesn’t describe what your pulling off or thinking up! It says alot that not only do you share this with all of us, you go through such detail to help anyone who wants to make one.

Very unselfish of you THANK-YOU for sharing!

-- Ken, "Everyday above ground is a good day!"

View helluvawreck's profile


32086 posts in 3374 days

#14 posted 08-18-2010 11:12 AM

Wow! That’s beautiful. I never paid much attention to this sort of thing before coming to LJ but this really looks like something that wood be fun to get into.

-- helluvawreck aka Charles,

View Dennisgrosen's profile


10880 posts in 3623 days

#15 posted 08-18-2010 11:18 AM

there is times where I want to have powertools , oboy
to make this with handtools is nearly impossiple or at least very time comsuming
I realy like the last picture :-)


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