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Bread/cheese board?

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richard91

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Hi all, new on here and just looking for a little advice.
I want to make a bread/cheese board for some friends as a personal present.
I aw Ray Mears so this on an episode but cannot find it anywhere now so thought here would be a good place to ask for some advice.
Basically I was going to split a log into a small plank (maybe 14" length, 8" width, 1-2" thick)
I'm planning on engraving it with a wood engraver.
That's where I hit a problem, I'm not sure how I should treat the wood to make it suitable/safe to use as a bread or cheese board...

Also does anyone actually have any tips for making a board such as this? I mean the splitting of the log sounds simple enough but I'm starting to think my original plan of just using log wedges might not be the best? Any advice on that front?

To be honest, if anyone has any advice on making a bread/cheese board or knows of a website with step by step plans that would be amazing.

Thanks for any help

Richard
 

CHJ

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The first hurdle you will have to master is the drying of the slab without it splitting, if it is a short log you must seal the ends to reduce end cracks forming.

The second will be in coping with the warping of the board as it is worked, even if air dried for the accepted standard of 1 year per inch (25mm) planing the surfaces will release tensions and the wood will move so staged preparation and removal of balanced amounts from each side is necessary to stand any chance of it staying flat..

If you can saw the log to produce Quarter sawn planks then they will be more stable.
quarter-sawn[1].jpg
 

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thick_mike

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Going from the log to the finished article and producing something that's stable and not going to warp or crack is time consuming and takes a fair bit of skill. If your board is an inch thick you will need to dry it for a year (or get it kiln dried).

I don't think a warped breadboard is going to bother Ray Mears, but it might not be the best for your friends.

Better to start with some timber from a good supplier (it was a log once!). There was a thread about this a couple of weeks ago...

https://www.ukworkshop.co.uk/forums/post684985.html?hilit=Bread board#p684985
 

AndyT

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The OP was asking about how to get a board from a green log by cleaving it. Green woodworking is a bit uncommon and in general not much done by people on this forum - there are other forums where it's all they talk about.

What I can say is that getting a controlled split to yield a thinnish board is normally done with a froe, though you may have used wedges to halve the log first, depending on the size.

To get your cleft board usable as a breadboard which will stay flat over the years, it will need to be close to radial, as shown in the diagram of how a log could be sawn.
You will also need to plane it flat with a jack plane - the cleft surface will be unusable as it is. But most ordinary wood is not poisonous and will not need any special finish to be used as a breadboard.
 

richard91

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So could I use a log from a Chestnut tree that came down about six months ago and use log splitters to basically firstly half it just off centre then put the splitter a couple of inches from the new edge and split that again making a rough board a couple of inches thick... if that makes sense?
I was thinking either a bread board or a cheese board but now am considering just getting the board about an inch thick if possible and then cutting out a shape and making a wall clock... Obviously splitting it an inch thick is going to be difficult if not impossible with log splitters so any ideas for this new idea?
I really want to make a personal gift for my friend with this piece of wood as it's then my own creation from start to finish...
Thanks for all the help so far and any more ideas
 

Richard T

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Hello Richard and welcome

If you look at Chas' diagram above, the boards that are marked as quarter 'sawn' are what you are after. Although you plan to split them rather than saw them - this will lead to an even more stable board but more work in flattening with a plane.

The ideal starting point would be a round, straight grained log of more than twice the width of the finished board. Split in half with either a froe or two wedges, then boards made by splitting the halves into segments (as in Chas' picture) but over thick to leave plenty of working room when getting flat. The log starting at more than twice the width is important as you will need to trim off the pith from the side that was in the middle of the log and the sap wood and bark that was on the outside.
If you did start with such a log you could cleave it all into boards for practise with the froe and to have the choice of quite a few as some will inevitably fail - some will be too thin, some will taper too much, some will have knots, etc.
You could start the flattening process with a side axe and finish with a plane - again, something that needs practice.
This kind of work is much best started with a green log. Much easier to cleave than a dry log and more controllable. As the boards dry they will remain stable as long as the grain is radial - with the annual rings seen as short lines running at 90 degrees to the faces of the boards.

You mention Chestnut - if Sweet Chestnut that would be fine; Horse Chestnut, not so much. :)
 

Jacob

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richard91":1ejbma5v said:
Hi all, new on here and just looking for a little advice.
I want to make a bread/cheese board for some friends as a personal present.
I aw Ray Mears so this on an episode but cannot find it anywhere now so thought here would be a good place to ask for some advice.
Basically I was going to split a log into a small plank (maybe 14" length, 8" width, 1-2" thick)
I'm planning on engraving it with a wood engraver.
That's where I hit a problem, I'm not sure how I should treat the wood to make it suitable/safe to use as a bread or cheese board...

Also does anyone actually have any tips for making a board such as this? I mean the splitting of the log sounds simple enough but I'm starting to think my original plan of just using log wedges might not be the best? Any advice on that front?

To be honest, if anyone has any advice on making a bread/cheese board or knows of a website with step by step plans that would be amazing.

Thanks for any help

Richard
A bread or cheese board is about the simplest thing you could make. It's just a piece of wood, flat on both sides. You don't need step by step plans. Doesn't need a finish. Stop thinking about it - just do it!
Give it time to dry after you have split or sawn your blanks but make them well over length as the ends may split and you might want to saw them off. Drying does take some time, year per inch of thickness etc.
Make it oversize to start with, if it warps you can plane it flat again.
Be prepared to waste some wood. Some of it may end up as firewood, which is about the only thing which is easier to make than a breadboard.
PS If you start by splitting the log in half down the middle the shape of the surface will show you how thick to split for the board i.e. if there's a big wave in it you may want to split off 3" to get a finished 1" board. 2" minimum I'd guess. And horse chestnut is OK if that's what you've got. There's hardly anything which wouldn't be suitable, though not everything will split easily.
 

bugbear

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AndyT":35pvz2sp said:
You may find this useful for advice on riving boards:



http://blog.lostartpress.com/2012/03/29/breaking-the-riving-rule/
I would suggest looking/ebaying for a "stick chopper". These were cheap tools (*) sold for householders making kindling, but they're pretty much the right shape for small scale splitting - straight blade, straight back, just use a log as a mallet.

"proper" froes are only available in the blacksmith-made-green-woodworking world, with hand made prices.

BugBear

(*) A properly made and tempered bill hook is a far superior tool for kindling, but used to be too expensive for a housewife.
 

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