WWM-Kentucky-Cheese-Board

Today I generated a cheese board in the shape of Kentucky.


 

Creating the Template:

I started by making a template that would allow me to make duplicates using a flush trim bit and a pattern bit on my router table. My first limitation that I knew I would have was that my pattern bits were all 1/2″ or larger. Now, Kentucky has a lot of jagged edges… So, I had to smooth those out a bit so that the bits could flow along the pattern. Still, you don’t want the board to have a whole lot of sharp, jagged edges on it anyway…

I printed off a detailed outline of Kentucky to the size I wanted my template to be. I then adhered the template to a piece of MDF with spray adhesive.

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Then I proceded to rough cut near the lines with my bandsaw. I wanted to get as close as possible to the lines without actually touching them.

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After that I moved on to my oscillating spindle sander. Because I knew I would be using 1/2″ template router bits, I put in a 1/2″ sanding drum in. I then started to shape the template to keep as much detail as I could while still allowing for the router bit to do all the cutting when following this template later.

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Now the template is ready to be used to re-create the same KY shape as many times as I want.


Preparing the board:

I chose to stick with all Kentucky grown woods for this cheese board. I gathered a beautiful piece of Spalted Ash, some Maple, and some Walnut. All of my boards were rough cut, so first, I rough cut them to length. Then milled them flat on one side and made one square side with the jointer.

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Then proceeded to flatten the other side parallel using the planer and cut other square widths to have all of my boards prepped.

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Once I had square lumber the size I wanted, I was ready for glue-up. So, In the clamps they go. And then we wait…

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Once out of the clamps, I smoothed out each side with the drum sander.

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Using the Template:

With the board flat, I attached the newly created template using some double sided carpet tape.

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I then trimmed most of the wood off close to the template with the bandsaw.

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Now off to the router table with a pattern bit with a top bearing. I only trimmed the edges following with the grain along the direction of the rotation of the router bit.

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I then switched to a bottom bearing pattern bit and flipped the board and pattern over so I could cut the opposite direction and still be cutting along the grain direction. By doing this, it avoids most of the tear-out.

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Once I cut the board down to match the pattern, I separated the pattern. Then changed the bit in the router to a chamfer bit to give a nice edge to the board.

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I then moved on to sanding. Lots and lots of sanding. For all of my cutting boards and cheese boards, I run through the following grits: 80, 120, 180, 220, 320. Then I spray the board with water to raise the grain and let it dry and sand again with 320 and then 400. I know it’s a bit excessive, but it is a finish that everyone tends to appreciate.

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The best part is then applying a finish. For this board, I used Mineral Oil. It sure made the curly maple pop and the spalted ash look amazing.

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