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50 for 50 - turning 50 as I turn 50 #38: Incorporating work into my work

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Blog entry by mnguy posted 08-28-2019 05:44 PM 495 reads 0 times favorited 0 comments Add to Favorites Watch
« Part 37: Another apple and resin bowl Part 38 of 50 for 50 - turning 50 as I turn 50 series Part 39: Sprucing things up »

I work in product design and engineering for a major retailer, and earlier this year I was working on designing a new collection of cutting boards. We focused our wood board development on rubber wood; the wood is reasonably strong and durable, it is widely available in many Asian countries (where we source many of our housewares products), and it is inexpensive. The wood is harvested from latex rubber trees that are no longer productive; much like mango wood, the old trees are harvested for lumber and a new tree is planted. So, rubber wood is a good choice for cutting boards at a mass / discount retailer.

As part of our development process, we receive samples from vendors. Many of the extra / leftover samples are donated or recycled, but for direct food contact items like cutting boards, we cannot donate the samples because they have not gone through the same testing and quality assurance process that our products go through before they ship to stores. So, these types of items get thrown in the trash. I couldn’t just toss a small pile of rubberwood cutting boards into the dumpster, so I rescued them and took them home. I sanded off the lacquer finish, then ripped the boards into strips and then cut segments. 16 segment rings, with a beech bottom. Diameter is 11” and height is 4”. Finish is Clapham’s Salad Bowl finish. I am going to give the bowl to someone on the team that also works on kitchen items.

BTW, rubberwood turns nicely. I doubt I will ever find any in a US hardwood store, but I liked working with it.



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