Tag Archives: homemade

Woodworking: Cherry Cutting Board from Scratch Project (Part 3)

I left off last week having planed the cutting board after the first glue-up. I wanted to cut the board further, and that’s where I ran into a cutting issue with the tools I had. The riving knife on the table saw did not allow for cuts that do not go all the way through the material because the plastic blade guard is required to be on. And there’s no chance I’m going to cut anything without a riving knife–even if it’s a lower horsepower table saw with a small blade. I’m going to going to risk kickback.

See, the riving knife is a piece that sits behind the blade of a table saw. The table saw blade spins in the direction toward the operator of the table saw, so if a piece gets caught in the teeth, the blade acts like a batting cage pitching arm to hurl a caught piece of wood at the operator.

Terrifying video.

I tried to get a riving knife that sat lower with my table saw that would allow me to make slots in boards rather than cut all the way through. That way I could cut on one side and then again on the other so I could get a deeper cut all the way through. I had no luck in that area. Is it worth modifying a riving knife to do that?

But then something happened.

The DeWalt jobsite table saw went on sale on Amazon and Calah and I were about to use our 20% off all sold by, shipped by Amazon items because enough had been purchased from our wedding registry.

The DeWalt table saw has enough cutting depth to go through thicker pieces of wood. But it has a much thicker blade than the Proxxon table saw does. I’m now lucky enough to have both and use them in tandem, which I think is pretty cool.

For an understanding of scale.

I have mentioned in the past about how crosscut sleds are important with table saws. Miter gauges can work, but the cuts are harder to keep straight.

I was able to trim off the edges, but they were not as uniform as I would have liked. But the table saw worked!

So then it was on to making a sled.

I took a 1/2″ plywood board that was left over from the cushions project, some plywood pieces I glued up, and then some additional plywood pieces I cut into strips on the Proxxon table saw.

I also needed an outfeed table because I couldn’t have things fall off the end.

I had the vacmaster connected to the lower part of the table saw (you can see the hose in the bottom left corner of the picture) and the outfeed table made up of a plywood board I have used as a tabletop for my sukkah that I had finished with polyurethane so the termites don’t get it.

I put all the pieces of the sled together and put a block in place for repeated cuts of the same size.

I was about ready to cut it up for the next stage of gluing. More next week.

Woodworking: First Cutting Board from Scratch Project (Part 3 of 3)

I left off last week with the planks cut up and ready to glue up.

The first step to gluing always is to dry fit. If the boards do not fit perfectly together before the glue is applied, adding glue won’t overcome that permanently. Sure, glue may work initially, but the bond will be weak, and the split will reform eventually.

Then for the glue. I used Titebond III because it’s written up pretty much everywhere as the glue for things that contact water a lot. Some say that Titebond II is enough, but why risk it?

Also I’ve had this glue for a long time, so why not use it? The hope is that it hasn’t gone bad.

With such a small board, the clamps on one side might be good enough, but just in case the push from the bottom would cause the pieces upward while drying, I put clamps on to better balance out the direction of the push.

The part I hate the most is waiting for it to dry. There’s debate as to how long you really have to let a glue-up stay in the clamps. I don’t usually have enough going on to need to free up the clamps so fast, so I like to leave whatever it is in the clamps at least overnight.

With the glue dry, I popped the board out of the clamps and got ready to plane.

The unevenness of the pieces makes sanding as the first smoothing step impossible. Planing accomplishes that goal quickly and repeatedly. So I sharpened the iron of the plane and got to work.

OK I got to work to get the strips of glue out with the tiny plane, but then I really go to work with the Stanley No. 5 plane.

Here are a bunch of progress photos in a row:

And then look what I got!

Oooooh, right?

With the table saw setup and a need for a larger jig to get a straight cut, I realized that I could get the excess off easily with my belt sander.

I held a bubble level to it as the belt sander removed more and more material to make sure that the end result wouldn’t be all cattywampus.

I raised the grain to make to make a smooth surface after the sanding.

I sanded the board from 80+ to 220+. And when I felt the surface, the back of my hand slid on the edge, and I ended up with a decent slice. I didn’t expect that to be the reason to call it a cutting board.

So I decided to put a chamfer on the edge so it would be easier (safer?) to handle.

And then it was time to prep for oil.

And then apply the oil.

Check out next week’s post for the first installment of a series about a second, more complicated cutting board.

I made latkes for the first time!

Happy Chanukah, everyone! Thursday night I made latkes for the first time.

For years I’ve enjoyed the latkes that Lauren has made for me, but stupid COVID has made certain that I won’t be seeing her this holiday. So I asked her for the recipe, and she linked me to the one on Epicurious as a good starting point.

The recipe says that it takes 45 minutes to make, but that was absolutely not the case for me. Holy smokes. I don’t know if it was just that it was because it was my first time and wasn’t yet practiced at what I was doing, but it took me more than two hours.

The recipe calls for use of a food processor rather than hand-grating. Some of you may be thinking that it took me so long for that reason. Nope! I used a food processor. I don’t think my food processor is small, but I did have to dump out the contents after each potato. I guess it’s possible that I didn’t have to do that, but the container seemed full, and I wasn’t prepared to risk the safety of my only food processor.

I realize now that it’s probably a good idea to register for a new food processor for when Calah and I can finally get married. STOP DELAYING MY LIFE, COVID!

Lauren said that draining the mixture is important. I didn’t do a comparison, but I agree with this assessment.

These aren’t the latkes that my bubbie would make. Those latkes really capture the Chanukah feeling of never-ending oil. They didn’t have the hash brown consistency of these latkes but seemed to be made from like a potato puree, though I’m sure that description is inaccurate.

The latkes were monstrous. Each was the size of a plate. It’s like she was running IHOPP–International House of Potato Pancakes. Massive latkes.

Each was cooked to a different level of crispiness. There were some that could stand up on end. I’m salivating at the memory of that crunch.

She knew that my dad and I loved the latkes, so she took advantage of the strength that she had to make them for us at every opportunity possible rather than limiting it to a Chanukah specialty because she knew it wouldn’t be long until the pancreatic cancer gained the upper hand.

I don’t know if I can replicate those. It’s been nearly a decade without her and therefore without them. If I had the recipe, I don’t know what I’d do. I might try to make them, but I don’t know if I even want to be certain what those are made of. I feel better about them because I don’t know exactly how much oil she used. She may also have grated the potatoes by hand, and I have no interest in doing that.

This all said, I wish she could make them for me again.

Last night’s dinner

I used to make rugelach, and I know I will again. I found a recipe online, modified it, modified it again, and then finally crossed it with a puff pastry dough recipe.

Since I had hotdogs in the freezer, I decided that Friday night would be the perfect time for pigs in a blanket. I swear this was not the result of Trump’s chants of “pigs in a blanket: fry ’em like bacon!” But also yum.

Yesterday I started the puff pastry dough. I used margarine instead of butter because hotdogs, but I trusted the recipe from Serious Eats before and felt it wouldn’t let me down.

It’s a long process. Most of the time is waiting, but there are so many times of rolling it out before it’s finally ready to use. I knew I wanted to let it rest in the fridge till today, and that gave time for the hotdogs to thaw, too.

I pulled this out of the fridge, and it’s solid, so that’s a good sign. But I hadn’t yet cut it to see if the layers were what they were supposed to be.

Look at those layers!

Well, the layers look pretty good. Encouraging sign.

I was really hoping it would be cold enough today to roll this out with out any problem. I decided to use the cutting board to roll it out and cut it.

I decided to use the pastry cutter that I use for rugelach to crinkle cut the edges before rolling them up.

I do this with rugelach, too. But this going to wrap meat rather than chocolate spread.

There they go!

Put these in the fridge to cool for a little bit.

Egg wash! Almost time to put it in the oven.

Ready to go in the oven! Hope this turns out!

Oh maaaaan. Halfway done!

And done! Will make this again for sure. Some modifications, sure, but overall looks pretty good.