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Another Cutting Board Design

I am in the process of building another board and thought I would share my thinking process along with some build pictures. When I came up with the design for the Steps board, I was thinking about how one draws a 3D box on a piece of paper. You draw a large square, and then add small mitered edges to one corner to give the appearance of seeing it slightly from the side. Making these miters out of two different woods adds to the shadows, which adds to the effect. I did this for the Steps board, but I also added a notch so that the boxes would nest into each other.

On my long commute, I was thinking about this and wondered what would happen if I reversed the sizes and used a small box with large miters. Here is a pic of the standard style of box, along with the new version:

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And then I started playing with tiling this style to make a board. This really has potential. Kind of like looking into an egg crate. It believe it is only possible with an end grain style board (?). But there is a fairly large miter to contend with.

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I played around using the two miter woods to obtain a banded look rather than a shadowed look. Not bad. It starts to look like boxes stacked on top of each other, rather than an egg crate.

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Then I tried two different woods for the bands. This seems to increase the stacked boxes concept. I really liked it, Karen did not.

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So on to a fourth (actually more than that) design. It was a compromise between the egg crate and the banded design. And it also happens to be the hardest to build.

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OK. Design settled, end grain not face grain, on to the build. First step: lots and lots of stock prep. I used maple and cherry for the miters, separated by thin strips of mahogany. Some reclaimed walnut for the dark square. There is a mock assembly on the left hand side of the stack-up. Each strip is 1/2 inch thick, which should yield a board about 12×16 inches.

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The next picture jumps ahead a bit. The stack-up layers were glued and lightly sent again through the thickness sander to make sure all eight were the same size. Then I rip cut the miters. This was a bit tricky and a lot scary; they are large and long. I started out rough cutting them on the bandsaw. Then I trimmed them on the tablesaw. Not bad, but not good enough for a showy board. So I did something for the first time and jointed a miter. I tilted the jointer fence towards me and fashioned a push stick. I set the blade depth to absolute minimum and sent them through. I worked amazingly well. Then I glued up the sticks.

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As in the Steps board, I lightly jointed the corner of the miter to reestablish the 90 degrees. Then I formed the square on the bandsaw. The thickness sander cleaned them up.

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So here is where I am. I stacked the sticks to have a look. So far pretty good. A little misalignment, but I think it is acceptable. The sticks fit together extremely nicely. All my fences were square. Now to crosscut, glue-up, sand, and finish. Things can still go wrong. The sticks are over two inches square, so I am thinking of crosscutting them on the bandsaw. This usually leaves a rough finish (which I can sand out), but a rough edge which I cannot. Maybe a sled on the BS?

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I need a break (and I have a real job), but this is kind of exciting. It will try to finish this board and then I will post it to the project section.

Steve
I think you have too much time on your hands. :)

Seriously, this is going to be beautiful. I haven't seen a pattern like this at all before.
 
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