Category Archives: Woodworking Projects

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, 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

Maple & Purple Heart Centerpiece with Stainless Steel

This was a house-warming present for two friends who had just moved into a new house.  This was a hefty piece of Maple, some half inch thick purple heart, and some large stainless steel angles, drilled and screwed into the maple.

Maple & Purple Heart Centerpiece

Once I had finished it with Odie’s wood butter, the purple heart turned more red-looking, and ultimately make this piece look like the Scotsman’s favourite: the England flag.  I thought I was safe with the American recipients, but after a few minutes, he looked at me and said, “St. George?”.  Damn it.

Maple & Purple Heart Centerpiece

Building a Cedar Storage Bench

cedar-bench-pre-clearcoatOne of my first projects was to build a cedar storage bench for the back deck at our house.  I  wanted to avoid the trips to the back of the garage to collect the cushions for the patio furniture, and also give us a place to sit with a coffee in the morning sun.  We had a small table and chairs squeezed in there previously, but got rid of them for the bench.



The design for this was based on some planter boxes that Marc Green had made.  Definitely overkill with the amount of lumber, and definitely harder without a table saw!  The cedar storage bench needed a clear-coat (and admittedly needs another coat now…), to avoid the wood graying, which would have not been a recipe for marital bliss.

I was pretty happy with the end result.  I’m sure there are things I would do differently now, and I’ll likely remake the lid at some stage, but not too bad for a start.  Functional, and (I think) pretty good looking.

Cedar storage benchWooden cedar storage bench