Sunday, October 08, 2006

I'm Tired of Cupolas!

I'm tired of thinking in multiples of eight. Enough octagons for a while. Here's a work table I made five or six years ago for the kitchen in my apartment. I wanted a "real" butcher block top, by which I mean one with the grain running top to bottom. All the old butcher blocks I've seen were made that way, I suppose because the harder end grain is more resistant to knife strikes. Apparently, the butcher would use his table all day, then at work's end, he'd pour scalding water on it and scrub it with a stiff wire brush. That's why all the old tables one sees in antique stores are so wallowed out in the center.

I don't know how I could have made this thing without Harrison's Time Saver sander. I started by making a bunch of 1.75" x 1.75" x 40" strips of hard maple, making sure they were dead square by running them through the sander on each face several times. I then glued four of these lengths together at a time resulting in a pile of 3.5" x 3.5" x 40" pieces. I cut these into 3.25" lengths, then glued six of them together to form a single row. Then I started gluing the rows together. Finally, I ran the whole thing through the Time Saver for what seemed like forever to get it nice and flat.

Big lesson learned while making this table: Use MINERAL oil to coat your butcher block if you ever decide to make one, not vegetable oil like I foolishly used. Oh, why didn't I spend half an hour doing research? Why? Why? Why did I spend that half an hour dousing $250 worth of maple endgrain with vegetable oil which quickly went ransid, creating a yucky film on the surface of this top? The poor thing isn't even close to suitable for kitchen use. It's holding my stereo and printer these days. So sad, yet so instructive.


John said...

I'm very amused. Vegetable oil... hah!

On the other hand, I'm really enjoying learning about your craft.

MaxPower said...

Yeah excellent blog, really.

The Wood Mechanic said...

Thanks, Maxpower; I'm looking forward to reading your blog as well.