Not as Easy as it Looks, Here's what I Learned

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Project by CueballRosendaul posted 03-08-2015 09:53 PM 3740 views 16 times favorited 9 comments Add to Favorites Watch

Nothing to spectacular, just a little 9”x12” cutting board made of hard maple with strips of black walnut and quilted maple running through a cut line. Everyone said it was trickier than it looks and I’d have to agree. Here’s what I learned:

1. Create your thin strip ripping jig first and cut the inlay strips no thicker than 1/16” (or plane them down). Mine were almost 1/8” and were really stiff. I softened them up with a little water and a minute in the microwave but it was still tough.

2. Definitely need to clamp a cleat board across the top and bottom surfaces to keep it flat. I thought I could skip this with a small board but ended up with a little extra sanding to get it flat.

3. My flush trim pattern bit isn’t so flush after all, it was taking a little off the pattern piece

4. My flush trim bit is only 1” cutting surface but my board was 1 1/8” thick so I had to plane it down after cutting it in half to get to a thickness I could use

5. Keep the curves rolling in the band saw. I spent too much time at the spindle sander taking out flat spots in my pattern piece

6. I used a 2’ piece of ball-chain to lay out the curve because I really wanted a naturally occurring curve. I laid it on the pattern board and gave it a wiggle until I liked the curve then carefully followed the contour with a pencil.

7. I had extra pieces of cherry to add to the stripe which would have made the inlay as wide as the material removed. Since it was difficult enough to glue up, I decided I could live with the opposing board glue lines not matching up perfectly, but in a future board, that seems critical for eye appeal that the stripe exactly replaces the amount of lost material.

I used some butcher block/toy finish instead of just oil because I really like the way it makes the board more waterproof and shiny.

If you haven’t seen the video: Click Here to Watch Scotty Lewis make it look easy

-- Matt CueBall Rosendaul. I don't think I've ever had a cup of coffee that didn't have cat hair or sawdust in it.

9 comments so far

View calisdad's profile


334 posts in 2249 days

#1 posted 03-08-2015 11:52 PM

I didn’t take you long to make use of your clamp stands. Nice job and write up- thanks for sharing.

-- Groveland, CA.

View Marty 529's profile

Marty 529

344 posts in 2459 days

#2 posted 03-09-2015 12:06 AM

Nice job. Making this kind of board really is a learning experience for sure. Mine took longer than I thought it would to get it all right. But I was pleased with the outcome. I will try it again I’m sure. Next time adding more lines. I use the butcher block oil as well :)

-- Marty, Ohio

View Musiclogic's profile


31 posts in 2817 days

#3 posted 03-09-2015 02:00 AM

Nice job, Scratch.

-- a man never fails, he just quits trying.

View exelectrician's profile


2339 posts in 3166 days

#4 posted 03-09-2015 03:12 AM

Nice sweep in the pattern, and yeah I had the same experience with eBay bits being 7 thousands larger in the cutting than the bearing, which tore up my expensive pattern, so the ‘bargain bits’ came back to bite me.

-- Love thy neighbour as thyself

View kjwoodworking's profile


266 posts in 4626 days

#5 posted 03-09-2015 12:26 PM

One of the best looking cutting boards I’ve seen. I like it more than the checkerboard designs you see every day, for sure.

Good job Matt.

-- Kirk H. --

View Roger's profile


21030 posts in 3543 days

#6 posted 03-10-2015 11:50 AM

I agree w/Kirk. Nicely done.

-- Roger from KY. Work/Play/Travel Safe. Keep your dust collector fed. [email protected]

View helluvawreck's profile


32119 posts in 3606 days

#7 posted 03-10-2015 05:10 PM

you did a nice job on this and thanks for the tips.

helluvawreck aka Charles

-- helluvawreck aka Charles,

View Lou's profile


89 posts in 1929 days

#8 posted 03-10-2015 11:52 PM

Nice job. It’s a favorite for me…

-- What to make next. Hmmm.

View BTKS's profile


1989 posts in 4203 days

#9 posted 04-10-2015 04:28 AM

Well done. Nice tips on getting it right.
I would rather learn from your outline than my own mistakes.
Thanks for the tips.

-- "Man's ingenuity has outrun his intelligence" (Joseph Wood Krutch)

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