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Hi all. I am about to take the plunge and start working on a project. I am hoping to get some guidance on making a cutting board/serving tray. Im thinking if i can make these, i will be able to fishish them with some pyrography artwork in one of the corners/edges to give it a real original look and blend a handmade piece of a cutting board with some creative art. I have been reading through a lot of helpful posts here on the forum that have helped me get some info on what I want to do but i have a few questions before I proceed.

All of my current tools are from my grandfathers old collection. I have a table belt and disc sander, random orbital sander, circular saw, and a variety of hand tools. What is the 1 power tool that i would most need for this type of project?

Table saw? Can i get by with just my circular saw?

Planer? Is this just nice to have or will this be necessary?

Both? I have a small budhet to add one of these if necessary. But was hoping to work with what i have as much as possible to learn beofre spending money on more tools.

Also, where does eveeyone source their woods? Is there a good online store or do most people find somewhere local. Im in New Hampshire so i dont think it should be too difficlut to find someone local but i wasnt sure if there was a perferred online shop.

Thanks in advance.

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Hi Micheal,
Once you start making cutting boards you will get addicted to it.

I would say both a TS and a jointer. If you are going to glue up strips ,you need tight joints.

Lots of clamps.

A good way to sand them flat, belt sander,or drum sander.

Get your wood locally.

You can take all the strips of scrap from the TS and make trays out of them too. Just glue them back together,mix and match, and make a new board out of them.

Herb
 

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I do not have a jointer.

Would you suggest buying a jointer before a planer?

Knowing the project i have in mind.

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You can get a "Glue Line" blade for the TS and get glueable joints most of the time, or use a hand plane to joint the boards. The main thing is to have tight joints in glue-up cutting boards. If you are doing big slab ones like the pizza paddles, then thats a different story.

If you can afford a planer, then you could rip them on the TS and run them through the planer on edge .

On end grain boards, I preferred a drum sander to a planer for dressing them down after glue-up. I see on the forum several woodworkers are making them using a planer to plane the end grain. Extra caution must be used when doing this, light cuts, and surrounding them with a sacrificial board to eliminate the tear out as the cutters exit the board on the edges.

Herb
 

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Just my opinion but I'd buy a 'lunch box' planer before a jointer. You can joint with a hand plane, TS, or router table.
But absolutely you need to get perfect mating joint faces.
If you're not doing endgrain cutting boards (ie you want to run the grain lengthwise) a planer will give you dead flat finished faces on the glued up panels. You will need to be careful and make sure all the grains are running in the same direction. If they aren't, most likely the grains going the wrong way will lift; you won't be pleased.
 

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David - Machinist in wood
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Hi Michael,
Once you start making cutting boards you will get addicted to it.

Herb
I take exception to that, Herb. We've built over 50 and I can stop any time I want!

Hold that thought... headed to the shop to start another cutting board! :nerd:

David
 

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I take exception to that, Herb. We've built over 50 and I can stop any time I want!

Hold that thought... headed to the shop to start another cutting board! :nerd:

David
Yeah, David, I have gone through withdrawals,on that. Got addicted to making wooden locks too. When it is so much fun it is hard to stop.
Herb
 

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The tools I consider essential in a work shop, in this order:
Table saw
Jointer
Planer
Router Table
Some people would substitute a bandsaw for the router table, it is probably a tie in my mind.
But here is the rub: There are work arounds that will accomplish the same thing for each of those tools. Those work arounds increase your skill, and will probably make you appreciate the tool your currently missing all the more, when you finally buy that tool. But in my experience people get frustrated and quit the hobby when they don't have the proper tool. That probably speaks more to our "gotta have it now" mind set, but never the less if you get frustrated by failure, it takes all of the fun out, and then you quit.
Long way of saying, buy the best table saw you can afford. Used if your handy and can do some repairs, new if your not, it is one of the few tools you can actually be better off buying used. With the table saw and correct blade and a couple of jigs, you can joint, resaw and dimension your wood. A decent hand plane or two will take care of the surfacing. Then make some stuff. As your skills improve so will your knowledge and then you can decide what you need next. One last thing, the biggest and most costly mistake I made starting out, was buying cheap and poor quality tools. I told myself I was saving money. The exact opposite was true, it costs more to replace a crappy tool than it does to "buy once, cry once". Good luck and have fun!
 

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As an alternative to gluing up your own boards and doing all the planing and sanding, you might want to look at some unfinished countertops. Home Depot, for example, sells unfinished maple countertops in various sizes. You could cut them to whatever size you need and skip the whole planing/standing/flattening step. It might even be easier to do end grain boards from them by cutting strips.
 

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Mike
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Michael I would say you can make a cutting board or two with the tools you have and you will learn a lot about the tools you have and which ones are best for the job but it will take more time than it would if you had more tools to chose from.

I would say the table saw would be the first power tool to add to your shop and as Bob pointed out get a good one to start with instead of getting one that will save money but will never give you good results. I don't mean you need to buy a $4000 table saw but buy one that is a proven quality saw. A good table saw will up your cutting board game by quite a bit.

You will be able to quickly joint boards, cut stock to width and length and it will save time and material costs.
 

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Michael; I'm not sure we addressed the circ. saw usefulness issue, did we?
If your saw is properly plumbed and squared...the blade and sole plate...and you have a really decent SHARP blade, you can do some very acceptable work with it. There are a ton of posts here in the archives on using cutting guides and jigs. A lot of us more 'aged' members use the circ. saw for cutting up 4x8 plywood. The fun of packing a sheet of 3/4" around the shop has lost it's charm... :(
The key is to have your saw as tuned and accurate as you can make it. That, and to repeat myself, the correct, SHARP, blade.
It should cut like the proverbial hot knife through butter; virtually no resistance.
 

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First Mike, please fill out the rest of your profile when you get a chance and list the tools you have. Some of us check that before we tell you how to do things to see if you have the tools you need to do it that way.

The tools you need are scalable to the size of the projects you do. For example I work on some fairly large projects at times so my tables saw is a Unisaw with a 5' long outfeed table. My jointer is an 8" with a 6' bed. Planer is a 2hp 16", etc. If you stick to small projects like cutting boards then you can scale way down from that. For example a short 4" jointer is good enough and old ones show up with some regularity on buy and sells, Craig's List, etc for $100 or less. You'll have to clean the rust off most likely but there are some good threads here about that, one especially good one by David Falkner. For planing something that small you could use a router on skis instead which Harry Sinclair covered, or build a sled which uses a router which has also been covered. (If your cutting boards are wider than 12" most planers aren't wide enough anyway to plane the finished board flat.) Just like old jointers, want ads are a good place to find old table saws. A friend wanted to upgrade his and sold me his old Rockwell 10" saw for $100. It's a 220v 2 hp that I added an aftermarket fence to and it comes close to doing everything my Unisaw will. One of those with a glue line blade as previously mentioned might be good enough to make your joints tight enough. With a home made cross cut sled it will also allow you to square the ends of the finished cutting boards. A decent table saw and crosscut sled are a must for many of us. If you want to add a juice groove and round edges on the finished cutting boards you'll need a plunge router. It doesn't need to be a big one for doing this.
 

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You probably don't want to hear this, but the tools to make the boards look nice (and your skill), will not only make your life a lot easier, it will reduce your work load.
My shop has a Grizzly 3hp 1023 table saw. Ripping boards that are 1 1/2 inches thick are no problem.

My planer is a DeWalt DW 734 - works well and I have no complaints except for the width limit of a little more than 12 inches.

I bought jet 6 inch jointer off Craigslist used, but in fairly good condition. I have since upgraded the cutter head to spiral.

A drum sander will help smooth out the top/bottom of any unevenness. But you will still have to do some sanding to get that smooth surface.

And yes, lots of clamps. If you plan accordingly, you can glue up a panel that can be cut into several boards. I have a variety of clamps and use what ever is necessary to get good tight joints.

Good luck.
Mike
 

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I have a Laguna Hybrid, 10 inch table saw and really like it. At 115 volts, it has about 1 3/4 hp. You can also run it on 220, probably available for your dryer in a garage. Increases the hp for not much money. To me, a really good table saw and fence, along with a sled is the key to good cuts. I have a Glue Line rip blade by Freud and get ready to glue surfaces every time. I'm sure you'll get other recommendations.

The key thing is setting up the table saw and fence. If you use the table saw to flatten one edge (planer function), you will want to make a carrier with a very straight edge and clamps to hold down the piece you want to cut. Clamp the new piece down on the carrier, then use the carrier's straight edge against the fence and you get a straight cut. Once you have one edge perfectly straight and flat, all other cuts will be straight.
 

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Hi all. I am about to take the plunge and start working on a project. I am hoping to get some guidance on making a cutting board/serving tray. Im thinking if i can make these, i will be able to fishish them with some pyrography artwork in one of the corners/edges to give it a real original look and blend a handmade piece of a cutting board with some creative art. I have been reading through a lot of helpful posts here on the forum that have helped me get some info on what I want to do but i have a few questions before I proceed.

All of my current tools are from my grandfathers old collection. I have a table belt and disc sander, random orbital sander, circular saw, and a variety of hand tools. What is the 1 power tool that i would most need for this type of project?

Table saw? Can i get by with just my circular saw?

Planer? Is this just nice to have or will this be necessary?

Both? I have a small budhet to add one of these if necessary. But was hoping to work with what i have as much as possible to learn beofre spending money on more tools.

Also, where does eveeyone source their woods? Is there a good online store or do most people find somewhere local. Im in New Hampshire so i dont think it should be too difficlut to find someone local but i wasnt sure if there was a perferred online shop.

Thanks in advance.
Firstly, the tools and machinery you need for any project depends on the level of your skill. More skill you have less sophisticated tools and machinery you need and vice versa.
Secondly, what material/wood are you going to start with. Obviously, if you going to start from lumber, you will need will need more machinery to cut and dress it, than if you are starting from material already dressed.
In my case, I have limited woodworking skills and need machinery to compensate for the lack of skill. Here is the machinery in my workshop, listed by order of importance:
1) Table saw - this is your workhorse and you can accomplish a lot with it if. I have 3.
2) Router - I have Triton, mounted on Triton table and use it on Triton table as shaper/moulder. I have two other routers that I occasionally use handheld.
3) Planer/ thicknesser - this is essential if you starting from lumber. If you starting from material already dressed you may get away without it.
4) Bandsaw - very useful but to make cutting boards you may get without it.
5) Scrollsaw - not essential for making cutting boards, I use it for more complicated projects.
6) Lathe - I have a metal lathe - combination lathe and milling machine. This is my luxury because I fancy myself as metalworker rather than woodworker - I was trained as the engineer.
I am attaching a few examples of cutting/serving boards I made with the above machinery:
 

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David - Machinist in wood
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While it was with a bit of levity earlier saying I had to go out in the shop to do another board, in actuality that's what I did. This is a mountain scene in Maple, Walnut, and Cherry. I cut the 1/2" thick overlay on the CNC yesterday and the laser shop I do work for did the engraving for me today.

Completed board, 12x15 - no oil or engraving
Wood Hardwood Wood stain Table Plywood


Freshly oiled and will get the Beeswax treatment tomorrow -
Table Wood Wood stain Rock Cutting board


Starting on another one this week that will have a deer and trees to be engraved, Maple board.

David
 
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