Two summers ago, I spent an afternoon at St. Jacob’s Farmers’ Market walking around the craft tables and stumbled across a stall selling unfinished slabs of wood. One look at the rustic, live-edge slabs and I knew that I had just found the perfect DIY project to give my “hard-to-buy-for” friends that year for Christmas. I bought five slabs and paid $20 in total. What a deal! It totally made my day!
When selecting wood, oval slabs are better than circular slabs as they are less likely to split and crack. Cherry wood is hardwood and ideal for heavy duty work surfaces.
The wood spent the next six months in the garage curing. It wasn’t until the week before Christmas that I remembered them and immediately got to work turning the raw slabs of timber into trendy-looking cheeseboards.
I thought I’d be able to get all five boards ready in one night…. talk about delusional. After spending 20 minutes sanding the first board by hand, I quickly realized that I would need much more power, and ran next door to borrow my neighbour’s palm sander.
As a side note, my neighbor was thrilled when I returned his sander a week later with a handmade, one of a kind (except for the other four) cheeseboard.
I sanded the top of each board using 60 to 400 grit paper until it felt like glass. I opted to leave the bottom untouched, preferring the rustic, organic look and feel and, truth be told, I was running out of time. To protect the tops, I applied numerous coats of butcher block oil, letting the oil completely soak in and dry before applying the next coat.
As you’ll see from the photos below, the boards have a live-edge and to avoid the bark from peeling and landing in the cheese … unless you want the added fiber, I applied a very light coat of shellac.
I loved how the boards turned out and so did everyone who received one for Christmas. I’ve even had a few friends ask if I can make more. It might be a lucrative project as similar boards retail for $70.