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Archive for the ‘Woodworking Projects’ Category

Here’s One Way to Make a Cutting Board with Ipe

Friday, September 12th, 2014

basic cutting board built out of ipe decking

Sometimes, an idea for a project just jumps out at you when you see a piece of wood. That’s what happened when we brought in a small load of dimensioned ipe (ee-pay) lumber that was cut into uniform sizes of 3/4″ x 5.5″ x 72″.  I made a small bet with myself that I could make a reasonably size cutting board out of one piece of ipe. So I grabbed a piece, gave it a shot, and succeeded.

Ipe is a handsomely dark wood, especially when it’s sanded and oiled. Because the wood is so dense, hard, and resistant to weathering, the primary use of ipe is in outdoor decking. That’s also what makes it such a fine furniture wood – and it’ll make a good looking chopping block, too. When it’s sanded and oiled, the color turns to a bold brown-saturated color with hints of red and green. And the color stays dark for a long, long time. If you like dark woods, you should explore ipe.

Using our 3/4″x 5.5″ x 6′ dimensioned ipe boards, here’s how you could make a cutting board:

Step 1

Starting with a piece of 3/4″ x 5.5″ x 6′ ipe, send the 6-foot length through a thickness planer or drum sander, just graze the surface to clean it up.

Cut the board into 3 equal lengths, approximately 18″. Working with these shorter lengths is a little easier to control in the next step.


Step 2

Rip each of the three pieces into strips 1-1/8″ wide. You’ll get four pieces from each length of ipe.

Table Saw Tip: Be aware that ipe is very hard, but with a decent carbide-tooth table saw blade that’s designed for ripping, ipe cuts smoothly and with very little resistance. A 10″ ripping blade most often has between 24 and 30 teeth, deep gullets, and the carbide teeth will have a flat top grind and be raked at 20 to 22 degrees. 



Step 3

Prepare to glue up the strips into a panel. Rotate the strips onto their edge. This forces the rings of annual growth to run more or less perpendicular to the face and back of the cutting board, resulting in a more stable product.

If the strips were recently planed or sanded, ipe will accept wood glue. Use Titebond III to take advantage of the longer working time the glue offers.


Step 4

Clamp the strips.

Once the panel is dry, use a planer or a drum sander to flatten the face and the back. This will determine the final thickness, but a precise final thickness is not important. It may finish out to 7/8″ or thicker.

Glue-up Tip: When the glue sets up, but before it’s dry, use a glue scraper to clean off the squeeze-out. For the most part, the glue will peel off in long strips. It’s easier in the long run to clean up the squeezed-out glue before it’s hardened.


Step 5

Trim to length. On the table saw or with a track saw, crosscut the ends of the block so they’re square to the edges and so that the board is sized to a length you like. In this case, the cutting board ended up a little over 17″ long.


Step 6

Optional. Soften the corners with a radius. The bottom of an aerosol can makes the perfect radius. Trace it onto the cutting board, then cut it on the bandsaw and sand it smooth on the disc sander.


Step 7

Add a 3/8″ round over along the top edge.

Once again, despite ipe’s hardness, it actually routs quite easily.


Step 8

Sand the cutting board. No need to sand any finer than 120 grit.

Coat it in a block oil, a simple wipe on and off procedure.


Other Ideas

You can also get more creative. As an example, a couple of thin strips of hard white maple added to the ipe makes the cutting board a little wider while giving it a new look.


Poll: Cast Your Vote for The Best Table in Our Woodworking Contest

Tuesday, March 11th, 2014

***We’re turning the voting to you, our website visitors, to choose a “People’s Choice” winner in our table making contest. Check out the entries below.***

The elected winner among the tables shown below wins this selection of tools; Bora Wide Track Clamp Edge Set, Festool Toolbox, Trend diamond sharpening stone

The top elected winner among the tables shown below wins this selection of tools; Bora Wide Track Clamp Edge Set, Festool Toolbox, Trend diamond sharpening stone

In our latest woodworking contest, there were 74 entries. The constraints on the showdown were simple: build an occasional table no larger than 32″ in length width or height of any design or style. May the best one win.

That turned out to be a daunting task for our panel of 7 judges. The tables we received were all so different. There were modern style tables, Queen Anne tables, triangular tables, circular tables, hall tables, coffee tables, period replicas, unique designs, and everything in between. The judges selected their 10 favorites, then scored the semi-finalists by inspecting joints and workmanship and tallying up the results to determine the top 3 winners. They also chose 9 other tables for Honorable Mentions for outstanding details of one form or another. Like best finish, best fluting, etc.(You can see those here >>>)

So now we turn to you to elect the “People’s Choice” winner. Tell us which table you think deserves it. Browse the pictures of the tables below (there are 71, so be patient). I’ve removed the 1st, 2nd and 3rd place winners. You can choose up to 5 tables as your favorites, and then the table with the most votes wins, and the owner will be awarded a Bora Wide Track Clamp Edge Set, Festool Toolbox, Trend diamond sharpening stone.

PLUS! Prizes for the 2 through 10 voted positions: Be sure to vote for 5 tables you like! We also have other small prizes for the tables voted into the first 10 positions: A Festool Toolbox, Tajima pull saw, Bessey tool bags, Trend table saw blade, Taunton books and DVDs, and a few other items.

Choose up to 5 tables, check them off on the right, then click “Vote”

Voting ends on Friday March 14 at 11:59 pm

Current Results - 1865 Voters
Voting Closes March 14, 2014 @ 11:59 pm

  • Entry 55 by Kevin Billings (24%, 441 Votes)
  • Entry 20 by Alan Call (18%, 339 Votes)
  • Entry 7 by Bob Zicafoose (14%, 253 Votes)
  • Entry 40 by Eric Larsen (11%, 203 Votes)
  • Entry 37 by Maureen Knudson (10%, 189 Votes)
  • Entry 64 by Joe Tripodi (9%, 164 Votes)
  • Entry 60 by Bob van Osdel (9%, 159 Votes)
  • Entry 63 by Steven Siler (7%, 129 Votes)
  • Entry 1 by Jeff Christman (6%, 117 Votes)
  • Entry 69 by Ron Clark (6%, 112 Votes)
  • Entry 38 by Richard Switzer (6%, 106 Votes)
  • Entry 72 by Dave Griffith (5%, 101 Votes)
  • Entry 62 by Rob Haenszel (5%, 97 Votes)
  • Entry 18 by Chris Ewald (5%, 93 Votes)
  • Entry 12 by Richard Slosky (5%, 93 Votes)
  • Entry 15 by Harland Tompkins (5%, 92 Votes)
  • Entry 70 by Carey Reed (5%, 91 Votes)
  • Entry 14 by John Bowers (5%, 88 Votes)
  • Entry 61 by Hugh Mulligan (5%, 86 Votes)
  • Entry 44 by Mark Jansen (4%, 77 Votes)
  • Entry 65 by Joe Tripodi (4%, 73 Votes)
  • Entry 34 by Brian W. Adams (4%, 71 Votes)
  • Entry 42 by Silas Kyler (4%, 66 Votes)
  • Entry 11 by Robert McGinnis (3%, 63 Votes)
  • Entry 39 by John Goodwin (3%, 62 Votes)
  • Entry 41 by Gard Gardiner (3%, 56 Votes)
  • Entry 53 by Ron Beauregard (3%, 54 Votes)
  • Entry 19 by Michael McKovich (3%, 48 Votes)
  • Entry 29 by John Bohlke (3%, 48 Votes)
  • Entry 71 by Tom Roper (3%, 47 Votes)
  • Entry 73 by Rickey Williams (2%, 46 Votes)
  • Entry 30 by Clayton Landwehr (2%, 44 Votes)
  • Entry 57 by Gregory Holman (2%, 41 Votes)
  • Entry 46 by Stephanie Bell (2%, 41 Votes)
  • Entry 17 by Harland Tompkins (2%, 40 Votes)
  • Entry 2 by John Beck (2%, 38 Votes)
  • Entry 8 by Jill Walterbach (2%, 32 Votes)
  • Entry 23 by Michael Tryba (2%, 30 Votes)
  • Entry 59 by Joe Gross (2%, 28 Votes)
  • Entry 52 by Michael Olson (1%, 27 Votes)
  • Entry 56 by Gregory Holman (1%, 24 Votes)
  • Entry 4 by Matthew Ogden (1%, 23 Votes)
  • Entry 43 by John Anderson (1%, 21 Votes)
  • Entry 16 by Harland Tompkins (1%, 20 Votes)
  • Entry 36 by Stephen Lacy (1%, 19 Votes)
  • Entry 3 by Glenn Goines (1%, 19 Votes)
  • Entry 45 by Carleton Jones (1%, 19 Votes)
  • Entry 51 by Joel Maupin (1%, 18 Votes)
  • Entry 10 by Richard Fackrell (1%, 18 Votes)
  • Entry 6 by Dallas Lobdell (1%, 17 Votes)
  • Entry 35 by Stephen Lacy (1%, 15 Votes)
  • Entry 33 by Wayne Erickson (1%, 14 Votes)
  • Entry 68 by Donald Taylor (1%, 14 Votes)
  • Entry 31 by Jason McNamara (1%, 13 Votes)
  • Entry 25 by Mark Kaiser (1%, 12 Votes)
  • Entry 49 by Jack Lunsford (1%, 11 Votes)
  • Entry 47 by Jonathan Dayton (1%, 11 Votes)
  • Entry 26 by Mauro Pando (1%, 10 Votes)
  • Entry 27 by Mauro Pando (1%, 10 Votes)
  • Entry 28 by David Lundberg (1%, 10 Votes)
  • Entry 54 by Randy Braaten (0%, 9 Votes)
  • Entry 66 by Sam Scalzo (0%, 8 Votes)
  • Entry 50 by Joel Maupin (0%, 7 Votes)
  • Entry 93 by William Kueffer (0%, 6 Votes)
  • Entry 5 by Richard Coon (0%, 6 Votes)
  • Entry 21 by Michael Tryba (0%, 6 Votes)
  • Entry 13 by Lyle Stevick (0%, 6 Votes)
  • Entry 74 by Michael McMahon (0%, 5 Votes)
  • Entry 22 by Michael Tryba (0%, 5 Votes)
  • Entry 67 by Clayton Lee (0%, 5 Votes)
  • Entry 32 by Wayne Erickson (0%, 4 Votes)

Total Voters: 1,865

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Gallery of Occasional Tables: See The 74 Tables Entered Into The Woodworking Contest

Friday, March 7th, 2014

The best way to get a grip on the furniture that woodworkers build is to get up close to the work. But because each piece ends up in a living room or home somewhere, you’ll only run into a fine piece every once in a while. We wanted to see what’s happening, see what customers are building, and give out customers a chance to show the work they’ve done. So we cooked up this contest for our customers and secured a space large enough to collect the tables for a period of time. The contest rules were simple, if a little broad: Build a table of any style or shape no larger than 32” in length, width or height. It could be any shape; square, round, triangle or any variation of those. It could be a coffee table, end table, hall table, a tilt top, nested . . . didn’t matter. All that mattered was the entrants did their best. In fact, design wasn’t a consideration. Entrants could use a plan from a magazine, make a replica, or hatch a totally unique design. Instead, we wanted them to focus on doing a good job and being proud of the final result. Of course, our trusty vendors came through with over $2000 worth of tools as awards for the best tables. But as it turned out, the challenge to build a beautiful table resonated with most folks and this contest gave them an outlet.

The ones that sparked the most conversation tended to have subtle details that made us question how they were inspired, planned, jigged and executed. Like the pierced carvings in Robert Zicafoose’s replica bistro table. In today’s age it wouldn’t be uncommon to hear they were carved with a computer controlled router and zipped out faster than he could get through a cup of coffee. But no, he carved each one by hand, and each leg consumed about a week of his time. That’s the story with the tables in this collection; they were crafted by individuals who enjoy the satisfaction of taking on these challenges and hard work. Check out the fluted turned legs on Richard Fackrell’s table. The painstakingly finished wine rack table by Joe Gross. The “chocolate dipped” splayed legs of Bill Brickey’s side table. The mind-blowing puzzle pieces in Jill Walterbach’s table. The tapered and bent laminated legs on John Bowers’ table. The inlays on Harland Thompkins’, Carey Reed’s, and Rick Switzer’s tables.

It doesn’t end there. Not even close. Many of these tables display more than skill, but also sentiment. Like Clayton Landwehr’s round lamp table. He didn’t buy a single piece of wood to build his table. Instead, he used up pieces he had piled up in his shop and then re-purposed the posts from his wife’s childhood bed, using them for the legs. Old furniture takes on a new life that’ll probably be around in his family for another round of generations. Who knows what it’ll become 100 years from now?

If nothing else, the contest gave several folks a kickstart on a long overdue project. One couple delivered their table, and the man’s wife commented on the way out the door,  “Thanks for doing this contest,” she told us. “Because of it, he finally built that table I’ve been asking him to make for my living room.”

On March 1, 2014 each person delivered their table with a smile on their face. In this collection you’ll see 74 tables, every single entry with none left out. Flip through the entries above, and be sure to go into “full screen” mode and zoom around to get a closer look at the tables. You’ll find the controls in the bar across the top of the gallery.


Congratulations to the Top 3 Finalists in the Table Contest:

1ST PLACE WINNER -- Bill Barrand's table is a veneered open cube with a waterfall appearance

1ST PLACE WINNER — Bill Barrand’s table is a veneered open cube with a waterfall appearance

2ND Place Winner -- Barry Richardson designed his own Asian-inspired table

2ND Place Winner — Barry Richardson designed his own Asian-inspired table

3RD Place Winner -- Brill Brickey used a Garrett Hack design and modified it to suit his own materials and size.

3RD Place Winner — Bill Brickey used a Garrett Hack design and modified it to suit his own materials and size.

Congratulations to these honorable mentions:

Thanks to These Sponsors Providing The Awards and Prizes:


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