How did I make this thing????? well, honestly you have to have alot of things be right for it all to be right. There is just an EXTREMELY narrow window for error. Accuracy is vital if not required. Otherwise, you'll spend ALOT of time trying to figure out how to make it right. This project was/is a great example of how "Accumulated Error" can ruin your day.
"Start with an idea of how you want it to look"...
Contrasting woods obviously make for the best look. The one I made in this thread is made out of cherry (primary wood), hard maple (trim/edges) and walnut (filler
The filler almost has to be a dark wood to lend to the illusion. Basically it lets the weave stand out. I suppose any dark wood would work well enough. The body and edges can be any combination ya like. I went with cherry only because the person getting this thing had mentioned that she really likes cherry wood and has a cherry kitchen. When pulling the stock for the project, I also pulled some purple heart, blood wood and snake wood. They all looked pretty cool to my eyes for a build like this. Walnut with maple looked REALLY sharp but not sure how well the filler would work out. I may just have to find out
"It's all about the math"...
OK, so the "weave" itself is made up of millions of individual pieces (well, maybe only a slight exaggeration there) Each piece needs to be identical in size to all of the others. They also need to be perfectly square. For this project I kept it simple and went with 1 1/4" squares, 3/4" thick (final dimensions). The walnut filler is 1/4" square x 1 1/4"s. Each square is made up of 1/2" cherry (center) and 1/8" maple (sides). Take and subtract the width from the length and divide by 2 and you get the size of the filler squares.
I drew up several combinations on graph paper to get an idea of the general look and this numbers won out.
I started off with milling up some relatively straight grained cherry (qty. 1) to 1/2" thick by 4 1/4" wide by 48"s long then some hard maple (qty. 2) to 1/8" thick by 4 1/4"s wide by 48"s long. I left the maple a little on the heavy side + .015 or so heavy. The idea was to give myself a little wiggle room for a few final passes thru the drum sander.
Did the glue-up, nothing special here just make sure your grain on all 3 pieces is in the same direction... and waited a day.
After drying, I cleaned up one edge with hand planes and straight edges. Once satisfied I went about setting up the tablesaw for 1 5/16" rips. Again, giving myself a little wiggle room for the drum sander.
Gotta love dat wiggle!!!
Set about ripping three lengths of the glue up. Go figure, when you are NOT worried about a little burning (espeically cherry) you don't get none. absolutely NONE...gotta love it. So now I have 3 nice lengths of wood to size up. I put some 120 on the sander and sized everything up. Both faces to within .003 give or take. Edges same thing.
Next was to set up the tablesaw for exactly 1 1/4" squares. Now setting up to get things close... no biggie. Setting up to get things really close no biggie. But getting her set up to cut consistently within a couple thousandths, what a pain in the but!!!! I set out cutting 3 or 4 pieces and then measuring.. All were a heavy 1 1/4". by heavy, I'm talking .020 or there abouts. Long story short, cut around 120 squares then ran each one past the blade again by "hand".. and nailed it... everything was within 5-10 thou. Yaaahooo says I. I gather up all those little blocks, turn around and drop a few. On the way down to pick em up I see my sled. I only have 3 of em ya know... Well, I kicked myself in the ass SEVERAL times, had a few choice words for my stupidity. Ya know what I mean!!!!! I put the squares on the bench, turned off the lights and just walked away. Honestly, my woodworker card should have been suspended! I didn't go back down to the shop for a couple of days I was so upset with myself.
Few days later I went back down and just shook my head then set about making the 1/4" fillers out of walnut. Ya'll can figure out how to do that...
I took the time and made a few measurements. Things were all dead on square and all were within a few thousandths of one another. OK, I get my woodworker card back!
The messiest, sloppiest glue up EVER!!!
OK, it was time to see if this thing was gonna come together nicely or just be a pile of really nice looking squares. I grabbed a piece of 3/4" MDF and squared it up to something like 20"x14"...then put a couple of 3" maple sides on. Did a dry fit and and dang... it really did look cool. very, very pleased at this point.
Then I started thinking about the glue up schedule. It wasn't long before my head started hurting. Well over 200 pieces and the edges all have numerous 1/4" offsets.
I over came the offsets by placing 1" wide x 1 1/2" tall x 1/4 thick pieces of MDF where each of the offsets would be. Not only on the 2 sides I screwed to the MDF base, but I had to make up a couple more sides for clamping. Used the pin nailer to hold in place. Man, I love that pinner!!!! what a work saver.
OK, 1 problem down, 1 to go.....slapping on the glue. I made several dry runs at it. Getting a feel for how long it was going to take...No matter how I went about it.. it was gonna take at least an hour if not more. Thought about gluing up in sections, but wasn't sure that would work out. Might have, might not have. I didn't want to take the chance if I didn't have to.
In the end, being the suave, experienced craftsman that I am, I decided to just slop it on and go for it. And thats just what I did after putting down some wax paper on the bottom so that the board wouldn't stick to the MDF when dry. What a Mess LOL..I had glue everywhere, on everything. My fingers felt like shedding snake skin. Well maybe it wasn't quite all that bad, but it was a mess. And to be honest, a bit of fun after I just quiet sweating it. When I put the clamps to it, had just a nice if not excessive amount of squeeze out. BUT, what little variations I had due to size the glue did a great job of picking up the slack. And in the end, worked out perfectly.
Let her sit 3 days to dry thoroughly.
A couple taps with the hammer and the sides popped off then removed the screws from the sides attached to the MDF and popped them off. The wax paper just peeled off of the bottom. Then let it sit another 2 days.
Somewhere under that mess of glue.....
I know there is a cutting board. It's just a matter of getting to it. Once I knew she was good and dry I decided to use the bottom as a reference. So I cleaned it up. Took a little time to clean up all of the glue and even less to plane down the bottom to perfectly flat. The top took a good bit more effort since there were so man fillers that stood proud of the board. Flush cut saw and hand plane and a good sweat and got it down to a workable finish.
A couple passes thru the planer and then onto the drum sander. Then cut off all of the 1/4" proud edges all the way around. A little time to hand plane down the sides.
Sanded down to 320 with the ROS, then added the juice groove.
The finish line:
3 applications of Bohem salad bowl finish followed up with a pure bees wax topcoat. Added 4 food grade silicone feet this morning and shipped her out...
If anything seems a little confusing in all of this, let me know and I'll try to do a better job of explaining...
so, there ya have it