Tag Archives: homemade

Woodworking: End Grain Cutting Board from Scratch Project (Part 2)

I left off last week ready to glue up my cut pieces of ash and walnut. It bears mentioning that I didn’t start out this project expecting to do an end grain cutting board. Rather, it was my cousin Neil who asked me if I’d make an end grain cutting board, and I said no because the additional steps were annoying. I’ll go into those later.

I used my DeWalt clamps as usual, but I added a set of Bora 50″ clamps. One of the pair that arrived was working freely and nicely. The other one needed more convincing. I set that aside in favor of just using three clamps (the two DeWalt and working Bora).

After the glue-up, it was on to what has fast become my favorite part of the process: hand planing.

I use a Stanley No. 5 plane to have the longest flat surface while still being reasonable to hold. That way I don’t ride dips but get rid of them.

The thing slowing down this process was using the skinny pieces. Since they weren’t as thick as the other pieces, the entire board had to be brought down to their level.

As fun as planing is, there are real benefits to cutting everything perfectly right the first time. I know I’ll get there. But I haven’t yet, so there’s more cleanup.

Once the planing was done, I took out my basic crosscut sled to cut up the board into pieces again.

And I had that decision to make about whether to go edge grain or end grain.

I lined up how edge grain would look:

and compared it to end grain.

Wow, did I ever go back and forth.

More next week!

Woodworking: End Grain Cutting Board from Scratch Project (Part 1)

I had two cutting boards under my belt to this point. The first, a simple edge grain that was maple and walnut. The second, a more complicated edge grain that was entirely cherry and had an offset. I had done some planning for each, but the planning factored in the cutting depth of the Proxxon table saw that only makes through cuts. I had gotten my DeWalt table saw in the middle of the cherry cutting board project, and this would be the first one without limits for cutting depth.

I had some desires for this cutting board project:
1. I wanted very little waste. The amount I had to cut off the edges for the offset bothered me. I would have to build that in to preserve as much wood as I could.
2. I wanted the contrast of the light and dark woods. The cherry was fine, and I’d do it again with cherry, but I like the contrast more.
3. I wanted to play around with thicknesses. The prior projects had uniform thicknesses of pieces of wood that I glued together, but the increased cutting depth would allow me to play around with a mix of thicknesses.

I was still at the mercy of whatever the guys at House of Hardwood decided to put in the scrap area.

When I went shopping for this project, I found a lot of poplar. But poplar is bad for cutting boards. I also found ash. Ash can be good for cutting boards.

I found no walnut.

But I had a little bit of walnut left over from my first cutting board project!

I had enough of an idea to start up.

I set up my table saw with my makeshift outfeed table of a board attached to a folding table and set up my fence to rip the walnut. I have since become aware that the fence flips down for closer cuts with the blade guard.

I liked the uniformity of these cuts and the variety of colors. I was off to a good start. I’d have more play with the ash.

Again, the fence flips down for closer cuts. I know that now.

With more uniform pieces, I’d cut some thinner ones.

I had it almost all lined up perfectly. It was those thin piece that threw off the height. But I was sure it’d be worth it.

The glue-up starts next week!

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: Cherry Cutting Board from Scratch Project (Part 2)

I left off last week ready to glue the pieces of cherry together.

For the strong, very water-resistant hold, I used Titebond III wood glue and tightened the parallel clamps.

I complemented these clamps with bar clamps and let the whole thing dry.

I had read differing opinions on how long to let things dry. Some said that the project could be popped out of clamps after half an hour. Others said an hour. Others yet still said 24 hours. I wasn’t going to take any chances with this one and let it sit for a full day.

Then came one of my favorite parts: Planing.

A lot of people have planers they can feed something through to take predetermined amounts of wood off a project to make an even surface.

I have hand planes.

I rely most on my Stanley No. 5 plane because the sole (flat part underneath) is very long, so the plane spans much of a project for an even surface.

I used the chamfer method to prevent tearouts. I’ll go into that another time, but it was very effective.

I planed the other side to make a flat surface I could then cut up for the next step.

Now, I’ll take a quick diversion to write about a cool thing I will be using later in this project.

During my sanding of projects in the past, I’ve had a small dust collection bag for the Makita sander, a small dust collection bag for the DeWalt sanders, and then finally a big vacuum that I had connected to the DeWalt sander, but the connection was through a rubber piece that had come with my table saw. It was not designed for the DeWalt sander and made a seal that worked but was prone to disconnection.

I saw that someone had posted on a 3D print site that a connector specifically for the DeWalt sanders because DeWalt itself does not offer a connector that allows for vacuums to be used with the sanders. That meant I was able to send the instructors to my cousin Yaakov for a 3D printed connector because he has a 3D printer. This would make it so that the sander wouldn’t disconnect from the hose while I was sanding something. He printed it, and I connected it to my sander, and I was in business!

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.