This simple little project made me so happy, so happy, I nearly cried.
There’s something magical about taking a discarded and unloved piece of wood and turning it into something useful. When I was little, I loved spending days with my father in his boat-building workshop. The scent of fresh sawdust still makes me smile. Bags of the stuff sat like tubby cartoon characters in corners and a light dusting covered every surface. We loved kicking up the saw dust and watching it play in the shafts of light breaking through the rust holes of the corrugated iron roof.
Dad gave us projects. I used to think it was to keep us busy, but now I realise teaching little people how to make things is, ahem, quite involved. A lopsided ‘square’ chopping board made of marine ply was my very first project. Now, I’m not sure about the wisdom of using marine ply and all its epoxy resins for a food prep surface, but it was incredibly durable, surviving daily use and the dishwasher for nearly twenty-five years.
Making this serving board reminded me of that (minus the epoxy resins). This type of project is a great place to start if you’re new to the world of woodworking and for the experienced it’s a quick, easy and practical gift.
The most time consuming part is sourcing the piece of timber. I found my piece in a thrift shop, propped up against a bed head. I think it might’ve been a small cupboard door, once. However, old skirting boards or off cuts from a timber yard are other good options. The nail holes and the like will give it character.
Piece of timber
Sandpaper, grade 80 and 180 (you can use an electric sander if you have it)
Tung oil (bear in mind it’s a seed oil, this may be a problem for people with nut allergies)
You may also need:
Pencil and ruler
Saw (you can also use a circular saw if you have one)
1. Using a ruler and pencil, out line the shape you would like. Cut along the line with the saw, while putting weight on the timber so it doesn’t wobble too much during the cutting. It can take a while to get a rhythm, but it’s one of those things that seems to happen better when not thinking too much. Maybe that’s why Dad always told me to, ‘Keep breathing.’
2. Sand the board. Start with the coarser sandpaper and give the whole thing a rub down. When you’re happy with how it looks move on to the finer sandpaper to smooth it out. Wipe down with a damp soft cloth and let it dry.
3. Paint with tung oil, according to the instructions on the tin. This is always my favourite part. I love watching the colour change the pattern in the grain jump out.
What are the smells that have the biggest impact on you?
Linking up with Grace for Flog your Blog Friday.