Author Archives: Stephen Hall

Wooden Sugar Bowl – Bird’s Eye Maple, Cherry & Walnut

wooden sugar bowlThis stacked wooden sugar bowl was inspired by a wood whisperer piece that was used as a salt cellar.  I made two of these – the wood-donor uses it for a couple of different kinds of salt while we use ours as a sugar bowl.  I always liked white sugar in my tea and raw in my coffee (although I now use raw in both, if you care), so I wanted a fairly compact way to have both on the counter.  A good friend found a warped piece of bird’s eye maple in the garage of his new house and figured (insert own, “no i said bird’s eye” gag here) that I might be able to use it.  After planing it down, I decided to use it in several smaller sections due to the extent of the warping.

wooden sugar bowl  wooden sugar bowl

I used a piece of the bird’s eye maple that was a little over 1/2″ deep, and 1 3/4″ deep pieces of cherry and walnut and cut them to size.  In hindsight, I would use a slightly thinner piece of each of the cherry and walnut, as the flush-trim router bit that I have didn’t easily reach the template on top.

dish carving template  dish carving templateAfter drawing the outline of the pieces on a piece of 1/2″ ply, I used a drill press and a hole set to drill two overlapping, but different sized holes that I then used a rasp to even out the edges so that there was one suitably sized and shaped hole to use as a template for the wooden sugar bowl.

glued up sugar bowl  glued up sanded sugar bowl
I glued all three pieces together with paper in between them so that I could work with them temporarily as one piece of wood.  I then sanded them and rounded the edges on the belt sander.

split out bowl  routed wooden bowlAfter sanding, the three pieces were pried apart with a putty knife and then the paper was sanded off on the belt sander.  Following that, the bulk of the material was removed with a forstner bit, and then the templates shown above were used to rout out the final bowl-holes.

mineral oiled bowl  odies wood butterAfter routing, the wooden sugar bowls were sanded and then mineral oil was applied.  After resting for a day, Odie’s wood butter was used to seal and stabilize the wood, and act as the final finish.

wooden sugar bowls  wooden sugar bowl The almost finished article(s).  (After this, i inserted magnets to make the lids close to a specific point.)  The sugar bowls (ok, he uses his as a salt bowl…) came out nicely, but not all that well balanced with their height.

wooden sugar bowls  wooden sugar bowlsI’m not sure this post shows how great the bird’s eye maple is, but here is a close up – just amazingly bright and textured:
bird's eye maple


Matching Walnut Salumi Boards With Maple

Walnut salumi boards

The matching walnut and maple Salumi boards were a wedding present for good friends Justin and Rebecca. After hearing that they, “eat a Salumi plate almost every night”, I set to work. Obviously a variation on several of earlier pieces on the site, I made a plan for two matching boards – one 12″ board for the two of them, and one 16″ board for if they are entertaining (or REALLY hungry). I gathered from the groom that their apartment stuff was more “square” than “round”, so that went into the shape of the piece.

walnut              walnut in the planer

This is the original piece of wood prior to planing, and being run through the planer. After that, the stock was milled to the various sizes needed for the two boards. 1/2″ was cut on the band saw from the bottom of the handle piece.

walnut salumi board unglued  cutting the handle

One board was cut at an angle to generate the second “root” of the maple.The trickiest part (in hindsight, likely as my blade was not true!) was getting the diagonal stripe cut and then getting enough pressure to glue it up tightly (answer: loads of clamps, much patience).

angled maple stripe

Glue-up below:

 Glue up   Glue up

Following that, holes for biscuits were cut in the pieces, and then everything was glued up in sections.

biscuits   Glue-up

Glue-up  Glue-up

Profile of the small board, prior to adding the removed half inch to the top of the handle
small-walnut-salumi-board  small walnut salumi board

small walnut salumi board  small walnut salumi board

Then Gluing up the bigger walnut salumi board, and the both of them at the mid-way point:

large salumi board  walnut salumi boards

Next, making templates for each board. I enlisted the help of Marc Green to make some templates that I used as a guide, then cut them on the band saw, and smoothed the edges with a rasp and sandpaper.

salumi board template  cut salumi board template

Template then drawn on boards, cut closely with band saw, then the template stuck to board with double-sided tape, and flush-trimmed at the router table:

template with board  flush trim template

The rest of the handle glued on and clamped.

handle glued  handle glued

After using a flush trim bit on the additional handle, a round-over bit was used to, erm, round-over the handle.  Then the center of the base was dadoed, and then smoothed on the underside with a bowl-carving router bit to create two rails on the outside edges of the base.

round over handle  dado out bottom

Then all remaining edges rounded over and ready for finishing

unfinished salumi board  unfinished salumi board

Mineral oil was then used as an initial finish (left), before using Odie’s Wood Butter to stabilize the wood and as the final finish.

mineral oiled  odies wood butter

The boards were then buffed and the job complete.

  walnut salumi boards

walnut salumi boards  walnut salumi boards

Wishing them happiness ever after!

Maple Cheese Board with Walnut Inlay

maple cheese boardThis maple cheese board with walnut inlay was a gift for my wife. I didn’t take many pictures on this one, but after milling the maple to the correct size, I made three partial cross-cuts for the inlay (obviously on purpose – I hadn’t originally planned for two or anything…), and then cut and glued in the walnut inlay.

maple cheese board  maple cheese board

Then a dado stack was used to remove the wood from the underside of the board and create two rails for ‘feet’. Following that, a bowl-carving router bit was used to make the underside and interior curves smooth before using a round-over bit to make all the outside corners rounded.

maple cheese board   maple cheese board

The cheese knives were made from maple and walnut to match the maple cheese board and it’s walnut inlay. Knives were cut from a template using a band saw and then a belt sander was used to shape them into functioning knives.  Knives and boards were finished with Odie’s wood butter.

maple cheese board

Cherry Wood Cheese Board

Cherry Cheese Board

This cherry cheese board was a housewarming gift for a friend’s new vacation home. The board is made of 2″ deep cherry and is approximately 19″ long x 8″ wide. It features walnut inlay, and a routed area for holding crackers (biscuits!). There are also three cherry cheese knives. Unfortunately, I failed to take pictures throughout the process, however, it was similar to others on the site, with the main difference being the routed cracker area.

Cherry Cheese Board - underside Cherry Cheese Board Grooves

First, I used a dado stack to take out most of the underside. Following that, I ran a regular blade from underneath to make a space for the inlay on the underside. Likewise, I used the table saw and crosscut sled to add the two inlay dividers on the top side of the cherry wood cheese board. Following that, I used the router table and a bowl carving bit to flatten the underside of the board, leaving two ridges along the underside ’cause I thought they looked cool. 🙂

Cherry Cheese Board Cherry Cheese Board

I removed some initial material from the ‘cracker slot’ using a large forstner bit, and following that, I set up a ‘template’ on my router table using corner brackets attached to the fence to set the area to be routed out. Following that, the board was sanded and then a round-over bit was used to add a curve to the edges. Small fingered immigrant offspring was then used for sanding (limited success).

Cherry Cheese Board Cherry Cheese BoardThe cherry wood cheese board and knives were then oiled with mineral oil (images below), and following that, were treated with Odie’s wood butter.

Cherry Cheese Board and Maple Cheese Board Cherry Cheese Board and Maple Cheese Board

Hopefully Mel likes it and it gets well used!

Cherry Cheese Board

Cherry Cheese Board

Matching Walnut and Maple Pizza Peel & Cheese Board

This is the matching walnut and maple pizza peel and cheese board photographed together (thanks for the pictures, Jess and Lucas!)

walnut pizza peel and cheese board
In an attempt to save the finish on each board – they are long/edge grain, rather than end grain – I made some cheese knives from walnut for the cheese board and a walnut pizza cutter for the peel.

walnut cheese board and knives walnut cheese board and knives walnut pizza peel

walnut pizza peel and cheese board


Wood Whisperer Pizza Peel – Walnut & Maple

Wood Whisperer Pizza Peel - Walnut and Maple

This take on the Wood Whisperer Pizza Peel (Thanks Marc!) was made for a friend who requested one after I had previously made her this walnut cheese board with maple inlay. I wanted to use the same design for the pizza peel, and after watching the Wood Whisperer’s video, set to work creating one of my own.

After creating the template (using string and a pencil for the arcs, as I do not have the “bow” that he used), rasping the edges and sanding it smooth.  Here it is with the piece of walnut prior to cutting the required pieces.

pizza peel template    pizza peel template and raw walnut

Walnut and maple stock ready for glue up.  Then the glue up for the maple “stripes” with the walnut (these were just the first two clamps – several more were used along the length of the piece!).  The wood whisperer pizza peel uses 1/2″ stock – this is a little thicker – almost 3/4″.

pizza peel milled stock  maple walnut glue up

I did up the glue-up in several sections to make sure that I got it right.

pizza peel glue up left side  pizza peel glue up right side

then glued the final two parts together, and aligned it to my template.  Draw round the template in pencil, then rough-cut at the bandsaw.

pizza peel post glue up  pizza peel with template

After the bandsaw, I used double sided tape to stick the peel to the template, and used a flush-trim router bit to mimic the shape of the template with the walnut. Following that, I used a round-over router bit to round over all the edges.

pizza peel after flush trip  pizza peel round over

I rounded over the top parts of the handle, and then rough cut the handle shape on the band saw. Then flush-trimmed the top part of the handle before rounding over each side of the handle.  Then used a rasp, but mostly the belt sander to make the front lip for the peel.  No pictures of that though!

pizza peel handle glue up   Flush trimmed and rounded over pizza peel

The pizza peel was then sanded with 120 and then 320 grit sandpaper and ready for finishing.

pizza peel handle  pizza peel ready for oil

First I gave it several coats of mineral oil

pizza peel with mineral oil  oiled pizza peel

And then finished it with Odie’s Wood Butter.  I don’t know if this is the best finish to use for this purpose, but didn’t manage to find any good guidance online for the best choice of finish for this purpose.  Obviously I want it to last, as it’s not going to a woodworker, so I came up with a potential solution with a custom pizza cutter.

Finished Pizza Peel  Finished Pizza Peel

After I met with Jess, we decided that it should have a hole in the handle for hanging it in storage/display, so back to the workshop to do that, and then i was inspired and used some of the left over scrap to make a pizza cutting arc – time will tell if it works.  I think it needs to be a few inches deeper to be really effective, but the hope is that avoiding a metal pizza wheel will keep the board looking pretty for a long time… fingers crossed!

Pizza peel  Pizza peel handle with hook slot

A little inlay on the cutting arc to make it match, natch.

Walnut Pizza Peel with Cutting Arc    Walnut Pizza Peel with Cutting Arc

I hope you like it!

Walnut Cheese Board with Maple Inlay

This was a request from a friend who had seen some of my previous boards.  This was the first board that I’ve made without any need for “retouching”.  Hooray!  It is a walnut cheese board with maple inlay.

walnut cheeseboard with maple inlay

walnut cheeseboard with maple inlay   walnut cheeseboard with maple inlay

First the walnut was given two runs through the table saw at different depths for the maple on the topside, then the bottom was dadoed (that is a word, I’m sure), to take the bulk of the stock out and create the feet.  I went east-west because of a knot on the base.  Then the maple was cut and glued in place, and after drying, the excess maple was planed until flush with the walnut.

walnut cheeseboard with maple inlay  walnut cheeseboard with maple inlay

walnut cheeseboard with maple inlay  walnut cheeseboard with maple inlay

After using the plane, the board was run through the router table with a bowl carving bit to give a smooth bottom and rounded inside edges.  Then the cheese board was given round-overs on the router table to remove any sharp edges.

walnut cheeseboard with maple inlay  walnut cheeseboard with maple inlay

After finishing with a few coats of mineral oil (above), Odie’s wood butter was used as the final finish.  I love the single deeper line from the top showing through on the bottom.  Cool board.

walnut cheeseboard with maple inlay  walnut cheeseboard with maple inlay

Walnut cheeseboard with maple inlay.

walnut cheeseboard with maple inlay  walnut cheeseboard with maple inlay

Glassybaby Votive Holders – Steel & Walnut

glassybaby votive holders

These walnut and steel glassybaby votive holders started as a project for a Christmas and birthday present for my mother-in-law.  The original one can hold five glassybaby votives, while the “birthday present” holders pictured can hold two glassybaby votives each.
Two double glassybaby holders double glassybaby holder

The Process

After milling the stock and creating a jig, a bowl-carving router bit was used to create the indentations in the walnut to hold the glassybaby votives.
glassybaby holder jig

After cutting the steel angles, and grinding and filing the edges, a drill press was used to bore holes for attaching them to the walnut.
glassybaby holder unattachedglassybaby holder unfinished

Following attachment of the feet/handles to the glassybaby votive holders, they were sanded and then treated with Odie’s Wood Butter, and then buffed to a shine.
glassybaby holder with wood butterlassy baby holder finishedlassy baby holder finishedChristmas glassybaby holdersteel and walnut glassybaby holders

End Grain Chopping Board

End grain chopping board - walnut, maple, cherry

This end grain chopping board was made as a (late – shock) housewarming gift for some close friends.  Made from walnut, maple and cherry. I used the CB Designer program to design the board.

End grain chopping board - maple, walnut, cherry  End grain chopping board - maple, walnut, cherry

After milling the stock to size, and glue up, the long grain was run through the planer.

End grain chopping board - maple, walnut, cherry  End grain chopping board - maple, walnut, cherry

The long grain board was then cut into 1 1/4″ chunks, turned to end grain, and flipping every second strip to create the checkerboard stripes on the outside.

End grain chopping board - maple, walnut, cherry  End grain chopping board - maple, walnut, cherry

Following the second glue up, the end-grain board was planed (carefully!), and the board was trimmed on the cross-cut sled.

End grain chopping board - walnut, maple, cherry  End grain chopping board - walnut, maple, cherry

A small round-over was used on the edges, and then handles were carved out at the router table using a bowl-cutting bit.

End grain chopping board - walnut, maple, cherry  End grain chopping board - walnut, maple, cherry

The unfinished end-grain board was then oiled up with mineral oil on my favourite finishing surface – a big long-grain board that always enjoys the left over oil, but is obviously not great for taking photos against…

End grain chopping board - walnut, maple, cherry  End grain chopping board - walnut, maple, cherry

After oiling the bottom of the board, the top got several treatments.  I added four rubber feet to complete the chopping board.

End grain chopping board - walnut, maple, cherry

The finished article – End grain chopping board in cherry, maple and walnut.  Not perfectly aligned, but still a good looking board, and the recipients have been hacking away nicely at it and using it as intended! Here it is after a few months use:

End grain chopping board - walnut, maple, cherry


Walnut, Maple and Steel Centerpiece

I had a gift in mind for several of my family members, and up stepped a friend who – incredibly generously – donated his time to help make the Christmas present a reality (obviously, it’s not Christmas yet, but I’ll post a picture of his work once the time has passed!).  I wanted to find a way to pay him back, and along with some shaving oil to make his life better, and a SodaStream, that I was told he’d been eyeing, I made him a piece in the workshop. Not even close to an equal trade, but hopefully he likes it!  Below is the walnut, maple and steel centerpiece.

Oiling the walnut and maple centerpiece

Oiling the centerpiece

This is a beautiful piece of 2″ thick walnut, with amazing grain on both the top and both visible edges. Almost the last piece from the wood Dora bought me as my 5th Anniversary present.  A wee stripe of Maple inlay, and some handles/feet created from steel angles.  I love combining the metal and the wood, and love how the dark wood mixes well with the dark steel.

Walnut, Maple and Steel Centerpiece

Walnut, Maple and Steel Centerpiece

Walnut, Maple and Steel CenterpieceAnd for the record, here is the amazing piece that Gabe did for me – a picture of the house where I grew up (apologies for my amateurish appearance in the reflection):

Gabriel Machmacha Pencil Drawing