Suggestions wanted as to dressing-up this "Plain Jane" cutting board

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Project by C_PLUS_Woodworker posted 03-03-2014 10:36 PM 2171 views 1 time favorited 15 comments Add to Favorites Watch

I am looking for suggestions as to “dressing up” this Plain Jane board (and matching cheese board).

I made this rock maple – walnut cutting board for a lady who wanted a “Real Plain Jane (my term) board. I showed her many photos of boards that I had made and also boards that others had made, attempting to make her understand she did not have to get such a plain board.

But, she was adamant that something like this was what she wanted. She had brought in a little drawing and we both agreed the proportions were wrong, so we talked about that. Then, very happily, she left the shop under the totally (mis) taken impression I knew “Just What She Wanted. I actually do think this is either exactly (or real close) to what she wanted as far as design and we had already settled on Walnut and “some” white board strips.

Frankly, I just cannot bear having this boring board leave my shop looking this plain. She didn’t want a blood groove, she did not want a paddle-style board……….this is what she wanted.

Well, I just cannot see me rounding off all the edges, putting in the finger pick-ups, recessing holes in the bottom for gluing-screwing feet into it, getting it oiled and sending it off.

Now, obviously I can’t go crazy with some basic feature changes of the board(s) but I do have one idea that I actually really like, but would very much appreciate any other ideas that will give the lady what she wants, but still make the boards more interesting.

My only idea is to run a fairly aggressive chamfer along the top-sides. ½” into the top and ½ down the sides. I saw a board on here a while back with that feature and I really liked that look, but did not “favorite” it like I should have. Anyone know where that board is on here? It would easy enough to do on the table saw………..and I think the lady would think the chamfer a “lovely” way to finish the board.

I had some good scraps from this and other boards, so I made her a matching cheese board to go along with the cutting board. I do that a lot, and everyone who gets one is thrilled. ”Never saw or heard of such a thing”. Big brownie points. I had enough scrap for two, so I simply made two. This lady will get one and now I will have the other ready as a nice gift for some last-minute event. They go together so fast when all the set-ups are ready in place.

I almost always make the bigger glue-up about 8 inches longer than called for. I do this so that I end up with a cheese slicing board already to cut off and finish….. with very little extra work. Some designs I like better for this than others. This is an example of a cheese slicer that I do not particularly care for. I like the cheese boards to “run” WITH the grain, not “against” the grain, as this one does, but that is dictated by the running grain of the cutting board.

But it will more than suffice as a present for someone I don’t particularly care for. My wife has tons of friends, with a lot of them spending a lot of time here. Thank God for my Cave and my Shop.

I like little private jokes…. jokes that are for me only.

Occasionally I will give one of these “unsavory” friends a “mis-matched” cheeseboard ………… like the one I DO NOT like in these pictures. Talk about a win-win-win. My wife will say “Now THAT was a REALLY nice thing for you to do. I didn’t think you particularly liked her”. I can immediately go into my “whatever gave you that idea?......routine. And from then on, both my wife and this “woman” think I am just the best guy in the world. That little game I play really does crack me up.

So, back on topic:

Any VERY simple ideas for “dressing up these Plain Jane cutting and cheese boards?

Thanks, everybody.

15 comments so far

View BinghamtonEd's profile


2298 posts in 2972 days

#1 posted 03-03-2014 11:18 PM

I’m confused, so you made this to her specifications and now she says it isn’t what she wanted? Or it is what she wanted, but you feel it’s too plain?

-- - The mightiest oak in the forest is just a little nut that held its ground.

View AandCstyle's profile


3258 posts in 2859 days

#2 posted 03-04-2014 12:07 AM

I think I might try a 3/4”radius on each corner and then chamfer the edges with a router. FWIW

-- Art

View rdwile's profile


166 posts in 2714 days

#3 posted 03-04-2014 12:47 AM

Here’s something I have done a few times to remove the boring from an un-exciting piece.

Add something to it for efffect. Cut it at a diagonal and laminate a contrasting piece of wood or veneer sandwich. OR drill a couple of holes in random spots and add in some dowel of that dimension. I bought some 3/4” exotic dowels years ago and have dropped it into a couple of maple boards just for visual interest.

Or you can try this:

Just a couple of thoughts…

-- Richard D. Wile,

View C_PLUS_Woodworker's profile


602 posts in 3510 days

#4 posted 03-04-2014 01:40 AM


She has not seen the board yet, at all.

She just kinda left it up to me as to how to finish it off….........but she was firm about the large(er) walnut pieces separated by the “white” strips.

She left the shop totally confident I would put out a board to her liking.

Sure, as suggested above, I could round-over (with more and /or less aggressive bits) all the edges, but I just think that adding something like the big chamfer would add so much to the board, without detracting at all from its intended simple design.

View Betsy's profile


3393 posts in 4498 days

#5 posted 03-04-2014 02:14 AM

I did a board for a friend with a chamfer on top and bottom leaving a small edge that I slightly rounded by hand. The board looked quiet elegant and yet was pretty plain Jane in actual design. The bottom chamfer gave it “I have feet” look without actually adding feet.

-- "Our past judges our present." JFK - 1962; American Heritage Magazine

View C_PLUS_Woodworker's profile


602 posts in 3510 days

#6 posted 03-04-2014 02:32 AM


The more I think about it, the more I like the idea of a biggish chamfer along the top.

You made my point much better than did I.

The board looked quiet elegant and yet was pretty plain Jane in actual design

THAT exactly describes what I want to do here.

You nailed it.


View Thewoodman2000's profile


822 posts in 2573 days

#7 posted 03-04-2014 02:02 PM

Looks like you have a plan but my 2 cents: How about adding a 1/2” maple frame around it and then doing the chamfer. The chamfer would take away from the framed look somewhat.

Nice looking glue up! I am sure she will be happy with what you give to her!

-- (the only thing in there she says is....tap on head..........tap..........tap..... saw dust) - James

View rmac's profile


224 posts in 3663 days

#8 posted 03-04-2014 03:23 PM

Maybe a quick SketchUp drawing to show her what the chamfer would look like? Or … go ahead and do the chamfer and if she doesn’t like it, just cut it off. That would only shrink the board by a little bit. Or … give her what she asked for and don’t worry about it. The customer is always right, you know!


-- My table saw laughs at hot dogs.

View C_PLUS_Woodworker's profile


602 posts in 3510 days

#9 posted 03-04-2014 05:25 PM

Thanks, everyone. I really like the opportunity to B.S. a little with other wood nuts on stuff like this.

Friends, actually.

View Max's profile


56000 posts in 4876 days

#10 posted 03-04-2014 07:09 PM

OK so here is my 2 cents worth. First I would fill the knots with T88 epoxy with some color mixed in with it. Probably black to match. I would probably chamfer (45 deg.) the bottom edge to give the board a lighter feel and maybe a 1/8” round over on the top…..

-- Max "Desperado", Salt Lake City, UT

View C_PLUS_Woodworker's profile


602 posts in 3510 days

#11 posted 03-04-2014 07:27 PM

Hey Max, you are a neighbor ain’t ya?

I kinda kinda love the knot and was planning on just keeping it as is.

Would that create problems down the road?

I have left knots in a lot of things, like hickory cabinets. No prob and they always make the piece more interesting.

I have a hunch you are going to say that cutting boards do not do well with knots like other stuff does….and i have not given that any consideration. So, go ahead…...........ruin my day…..... lol\

Thanks, Bud

View Max's profile


56000 posts in 4876 days

#12 posted 03-04-2014 07:35 PM


We are neighbor’s in a long way…. OK you ask me to so hear ya go. The know will create a great place for food and other stuff to get in and create bacteria and other nasty stuff. I to like to leave some knots in some of the things I make, but if you fill it with a black colored epoxy it will still have interest. Again just my 2 cents worth.

-- Max "Desperado", Salt Lake City, UT

View C_PLUS_Woodworker's profile


602 posts in 3510 days

#13 posted 03-04-2014 07:42 PM

I knew it I knew it… soon as you brought the subject up….......and ou are totally correct.

How about this as a fix. I think it accomplishes what ou are suggesting.

We use resin a lot…....recess photos in wood, etc.

I could easily top of that knot with resin and sand it flat with the rest of the top. When finished there would be sanding marks on the resin, and I just put a tad more resin on the top to act as a clear top coat to the resin. Cannot even tell … is still so flat?

Thoughts?? Man, I am glad ou picked up on this.

View Max's profile


56000 posts in 4876 days

#14 posted 03-04-2014 07:48 PM

I am sending you a private message on Lumberjocks.

-- Max "Desperado", Salt Lake City, UT

View 58j35bonanza's profile


395 posts in 3295 days

#15 posted 03-05-2014 07:00 PM

I would make it into an end grain cutting board.

-- Chuck

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