When you do wood working projects, no matter who you are, you always end up with either a pile or a container of scrap odds and ends pieces of wood. The question is what do you do with them? Some go to the burn pile, some are destined for something better.
Above you can see a group of scrap molding and other odds and ends. Some were just sitting in the scrap heap, others had been used as spacers while working on other projects and they are battled scared with stains and finishes. Each piece has been glued end to end with fast drying waterproof wood glue, and clamped under high pressure both top and bottom to remove all spaces and minimize bowing of the piece as much as possible.
After the clamps were removed I roughed the size to square it up a bit. Above it is about 3/4” x 12.5” x 12.5” which is a great place to start considering where I want to head with it on the final project.
The next step is to run it through my planer. This does a couple of different things. It helps to level out the top and the bottom of the piece, and it helps to bring it down to the actual height I want it to have in the end.
Make sure not to rush the planing process. So many people rush get to the desired thickness with as few as passes as possible; though it can save time, you also run a greater risk of causing chips and spars on the item you are working on. It took me about 6 passes to bring it down to the half inch thickness I was looking for. You may also notice the glue, wood stains, random drips of finish, and other blemishes are now gone.
After planing it’s off to the router table to joint the edges making sure it is square on all sides; then on the next pass a simple round over of all edges and corners helping me to finalize the shape and bring it to the final 1/2” x 12” x 12” size I was looking for.
At this point it it hard to recognize this item as the scrap pieces I had just laying round literally collecting dust in the garage and basement.
From this point it is sanding time. For the rough sanding I started with my Mouse sander to bring it down fast. I started with 50 grit, then moved to 120 grit. Once all of the surface blemishes were gone I switched to hand sanding. Normally I stop at 150 grit if I plan to be staining and applying a polyurethane sealant type finish to the piece.
Since I am going to be treating the surface with some Boos Block Mystery Oil I took it all the way up to 400 grit paper to get a super smooth surface on all sides of the piece. If you haven’t figured it out by now this will end up being a decorative pot/serving dish rest, or bread board serving.
You can either use a name brand type of oil finish designed for butcher blocks like I did, or pick up some bulk mineral oil at a pharmacy or in the health and beauty aisle at your supermarket. Either one makes the item food safe and adds a little water proofing to it. You should not use vegetable or canola oils because it has a chance of it becoming rancid over time, especially if you do not take great care of your kitchen woods. You can also use this same stuff on your various cutting boards to keep them in shape.
To finish the piece out I added a few rubber feet to the bottom to give some stability and a little non-slip when it is on the counter or table, and to make it a little easier to pick up when it is sitting on a flat surface.
This is the way the final item looks. I will probably add a few more coats of oil to it over the next few days, but for all practical purposes it is done. From scrap heap to table top in just about a day’s time.