Workshop

Simple Guide to Jointers and Planers

As with most of our guides, we like to keep things pretty simple. Our Simple Guide to Jointers and Planers is no different. We will make every effort to keep the new woodworker in mind. In addition, we will talk through some value options that can help people who are on the fence about buying a machine make the right decision. Personally, I can’t imagine my workshop without a Jointer and Planer. Both of these tools have so many uses and make relatively complex processes a snap. Keep reading to find out more. And if you have questions about saw selection or what sander is right for you, check out our Simple Guide to Electric Saws and Simple Guide to Electric Sanders.

Planers

Simply put, planers create a single flat surface in your workpiece. By moving the wood through the planer on a set of rollers, rotating blades cut the board down to a consistent height. Planers are great time savers, and in some cases can take a pretty rough looking piece of lumber and turn it into something useful. In addition, they are great for getting lumber to a specific dimension when precision really counts. For example, we sometimes create six-pack beer carriers from recycled pallet wood. Pallet wood is notoriously janky, with odd widths, lengths and thicknesses. All it takes to get the wood to 1/2″ thickness is a few runs through the planer!

Our Shop

In our shop, I use a ‘lunch box’ style planer like the one above from Porter-Cable. I am not sponsored by them, but I do love their products. This style of planer is a great value for beginner woodworkers and DIY enthusiasts because they provide high durability and most of the features you want in a high-end model. They call these models lunch boxes because you can carry them around by the handle. They are highly portable, if not a bit heavy. Mine has been very dependable and is capable of handling every type of wood I have put through it. The hardest wood I have milled with it is American Ash. With a fresh blade, it didn’t have any issues. I did experience a bit of gouging when I tried to run it through with a duller blade.

This model has a max width of 12″ and an opening of 5″ high. While I have never worked with wood over 3″ thick, myself, I have used this planer to reduce boards to as thin as 1/2″. I have used my planer to level out rock maple end-grain chopping blocks. Some folks will advise against it because it can cause tear-out or even kick out your workpiece. I have never had this happen. I believe that if you are cautious about making sure that you only plane off about 1/16″ at a time, the machine can handle it. Your mileage may vary.

Maintenance & Upkeep

There are three big maintenance pieces that I want to address for anyone considering purchasing a planer. First, you will need to plan on buying blades occasionally. Unfortunately, there is no safe and easy way to sharpen dull blades. The good news is that replacement blade sets can be found relatively cheaply on Amazon. Secondly, you will find yourself waxing the infeed and outfeed regularly. The rollers pull / push the workpiece well, but friction needs to be reduced wherever possible. We recommend Paste Wax for this polishing. Lastly, the large screw that serves to raise and lower the planer bed will need to be cleaned of sawdust and lubricated with grease occasionally.

If you are looking to upgrade from a basic model, the Dewalt option has some interesting bells and whistles that are worth considering. First, this model has three blades. The three blade system reduces the wear-and-tear significantly, which means less blade changes. Secondly, this model allows you to control the feed rate. If you are working with harder woods, or just really need a cut to come out smoothly, being able to slow down the feed rate is a huge bonus. Lastly, this model has a dust collection system. This feature is sorely lacking in the Porter-Cable model. Every time I fire up my planer, I am left with a huge pile of shavings on the floor.

When you are ready to move out of the hobby / DIY space and take your shop to the professional level, you will be looking for a planer that can handle 15″ boards. These models provide additional width, superior adjustability, enhanced dust collection, and helical cutter heads. If you aren’t familiar with helical cutter heads, they are basically a gift from the gods. Offset blades spin around to create a significantly more reliable cut. In addition, as blades dull, you can choose to rotate the four-sided blade to a fresh and sharp side. This saves a ton of effort and money maintaining blades.

Jointers

Jointers perform a similar role as a planer, but they work against a fence, which creates a 90 degree angle and a flat surface. In my experience, jointers are particularly useful if you will be doing any glue-ups. Matching planes for two boards is very difficult without a jointer. However, if you run a board through the jointer a few times, you will have a perfect match for those two boards. Your glue-ups will be much smoother, with less waste and zero frustration. A jointer can perform many of the same functions as a planer, but with a smaller 6″ work surface.

Our Shop

Let me start by saying that I was very on-the-fence about purchasing my jointer. I wasn’t sure I was going to need it. In addition, I didn’t know if I would use it often enough to justify the price tag. To be honest, I am still on the fence about using it often enough to justify the price tag. However, there is no doubt that I need it in my shop. The jointer has become an indispensable part of my shop. While it’s role is highly specialized, nothing can quite reproduce the work that it does as well, or as efficiently.

Maintenance & Upkeep

Similar to the planer, jointers are going to need replacement blades occasionally. The frustrating part is that most of the work occurs at the fence, so blades wear much faster in the first third of the blade. As with planers, there aren’t any good options to sharpen the blades, so replacement is advised. Blades are even cheaper than for the planer, because they are half as long. In addition, the jointer will also need to be waxed regularly to keep your workpieces moving smoothly. We generally keep Paste Wax on hand for this purpose.

If you are looking to upgrade from the basic 6″ benchtop model, consider looking into an 8″ benchtop model. This will allow you to surface wider boards. In addition, the model above features a helical cutter head. Like we mentioned before, that’s a pretty serious upgrade, especially when you consider that a jointer gets the most work done next to the fence. By managing your blades well, you can really make them stretch by replacing the heavy-use area blades smartly.

When you are ready to take things to the professional level, you’ll be looking for a model similar to this one. Shop around and explore different manufacturers. Some are known for precision, others durability. Find a brand that works well for you and your needs. There are models out there that will joint up to 12″ boards. Figure out your price point, your must-haves, and then get out your check book!! With a larger model like this, you can reliable joing significantly longer board that would prove challenging on a tabletop jointer.

Conclusion

We hope you enjoyed our Simple Guide to Jointers and Planers. We really enjoy woodworking and sharing all of our tips and tricks with you. If you aren’t ready to make your own boards, but would like to support our shop, we have charcuterie boards for all occasions and tastes in our Etsy shop. We also have a selection of end-grain and edge-grain chopping blocks available as well. You can click the E in the sidebar, header, or footer of this page to go directly to our Etsy shop, or you can click here to see our selection of boards and blocks on the site.

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Simple Guide To Electric Saws

Saws are a critical part of any woodworking shop. The ability to make the most precise cuts, from multiple different angles and depths is critical as projects grow in complexity. There are a few simple tools that will help you to grow your potential project list. Our Simple Guide To Electric Saws will provide you with the basic knowledge you need to understand these tools and how they work. In addition, we will provide some project ideas that suit the particular saw type. And if you have questions about sanding tools, click over to our Simple Guide to Electric Sanders for more information.

Types of Saws

We want to keep this guide rather basic, so we will cover the real workhorses of the shop. Personally, the goal is always to expand my ability to do more types of projects, with the smallest number of tools possible. By focusing on equipment with broad capabilities, it allows me to spend money on wood and other supplies – not tools! To get the most value out of your purchases, we will focus on the big four: Miter Saw, Circular Saw, Table Saw, and Band Saw.

Spalted Maple Chopping Blocks made on the Table Saw

Miter Saws

Your Miter saw is going to end up making a lot of cuts for you. Also known as a chop saw, this tool is capable of making straight and angled cuts. Most also have a swiveling blade mount that allows you to adjust another axis, often referred to as a double-bevel saw. Blade sizes vary, but the standards are 7-1/4″, 10″, and 12″. As you might have guessed, the bigger the blade, the larger piece of lumber you can handle. Also, as your blade size increases, so does your price tag. No surprises there, right!

In addition, you will also need to decide whether you want your miter saw to have a slide, radial arm, or fixed blade. Fixed blade models are known to be highly dependable, as there are less moving parts. Sliding and radial arm models will provide you with more versatility in your cuts, at the cost of more complex moving parts. This usually means more maintenance and potential repairs. That said, I would advocate for the sliding or radial arm models because they open up so much potential for great projects.

Projects

Having a miter saw in your shop will open up your project potential in may ways. First, it will allow you to safely and precisely create repetitive cuts. Next, it will allow you cut on precise angles up to 90 degrees. What size board dimensions you can safely and reliably cut will depend on your blade size, but you will definitely be able to execute any project that involves 2×4 wood. You will most likely be able to work with 4×4 lumber as well.
With your miter saw, you can now tackle projects like wooden bird feeders, Adirondack chairs, and simple utility shelving. In addition, you could easily create wooden picnic tables, or even hanging barn doors. Comprehensive project plans are available from many different sources. Pinterest has a wealth of ideas, and many of the plans you can find there are free of charge.

Circular Saws

Circular saws are handy, portable, and can make a wide variety of cuts. They are very useful for making long, straight cuts in large workpieces. They can also cut angles (bevels) in wood, with limited ranges based on the saw’s manufacturing. Because they are lightweight, they are also easy to maneuver. This comes in particularly handy when your workpiece is bulky, or the cut is out of the working range of a miter or table saw. Generally speaking, most offerings on the market for circular saws are going to be 7-1/4″ blades. There are not too many bells and whistles available for circular saws. Some models have laser guides and emergency stops, but generally look for high amperage and a quality brand name that you trust.

Projects

Circular saws are most useful for cutting thin pieces of wood. This makes them ideal for any project that involves plywood. As I stated before, there are myriad plywood projects available on the web. With your circular saw, you can also complete projects like wooden bird feeders, Adirondack chairs, shelving, picnic tables, or even hanging barn doors.

Table Saws

Table saws are true woodworking tools. This is an area where your options start to really open up. Job-site saws, such as the offerings below from Ryobi, Dewalt and Bosch can be accessorized with wheels and stabilizers to make them highly mobile, or they can be fixed in place within your shop. PowerMatic (and many others) make fixed units that offer superior dust collection, precision cuts, and powerful reliability that job-shop table saws cannot deliver. But like most things in life, if you want the premium features, you pay a premium price.

Table saws allow you to make highly precise cuts repeatedly. The fence, a metal divider that runs parallel to the blade, provides a consistent guide to move your workpiece along. In addition, table saws can accommodate many jigs and sleds to make super-precise cuts simply, or allowing you to get consistent and repeatable results on the same cut over and over. Lastly, table saws open up the possibility of using a Dado stack. Dado blades or Dado stacks are illegal in Europe. Basically, this tool allows you to ‘stack’ multiple cutting blades together to notch out wood to a reliable width. Dado stacks are particularly useful for creating box joints in woodworking.

Projects

With a table saw in your shop, you can make all of the projects that I mentioned above. In addition, you can start to make chopping blocks, cutting boards, bee furniture (bee boxes), and even cabinets. Jigs and sleds can also be fun to make. Just be careful you don’t fall down a rabbit-hole – making jigs and sleds is addictive!!

Testing out Box Joints with scrap lumber

Band Saws

Some people will tell you that a band saw is not necessary. However, I felt that our Simple Guide To Electric Saws would be incomplete without mentioning this very versatile saw. Much like table saws, there are a wide variety of band saw options based on your particular needs. If you want something portable, the offerings from Dewalt and Bosch below are perfect for you. If you would prefer a fixed model on a budget, the Ryobi model would be a good starter. And lastly, if you want to set the shop up with a high quality fixed model that will last through years of daily use, choose a model from PowerMatic, ShopFox, or Grizzly.

Band saws are great additions to a woodworking shop because they offer such a high level of maneuverability. By moving the workpiece against a blade, you are able to carve out just about any shape your mind can conceive. This flexibility allows you to create very precise, twisting, turning cuts that other saws simply cannot achieve. Band saws may have limited applications in your creative process, but when you need to use a band saw, no other saw will be able to do the work safely and reliably.

Projects

With a bandsaw in your shop, you can cut out any shape that your mind can conceive. Your abilities aren’t just limited to 2-dimensional signs and designs. With the ability to turn your workpieces and cut from all angles, you can even start to create 3-dimensional art in wood or soft plastic.

Closing Thoughts

We hope you enjoyed our Simple Guide to Electric Saws. This guide was far from comprehensive, but we hope it gave you an overview of the various types of cutting tools that are available to you. Every woodworker has their own style and preferences, so we are optimistic that you will take what you have learned today and use it to tailor your shop’s tool selections to your individual needs and wants.

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repairman polishing wall with construction tool
Workshop

Simple Guide To Electric Sanders

Everyone has come across a tip or trick at some point in their life and thought to themselves “I REALLY wish I had known that when I got started”. Well, it feels like a good time to share some of those “ah-hah” moments with you all. In our Simple Guide To Electric Sanders, we will cover the basic knowledge that I wish I had known walking into the hobby. We hope that our insights will help you to fill your shop with the right gear to fuel your woodworking passions for years to come!

Types Of Sanders

Random Orbital Sander

We will start with the workhorse of the sanders, the Random Orbital Sander. If you are planning to enter into the woodworking hobby with charcuterie boards, cutting boards, and chopping blocks as your main types of projects, you are going to want to buy the best Random Orbital Sander that your budget will allow. You are going to spend many hours standing over a workpiece trying to get the finish just right, so why not make that time as comfortable and effective as you can?

When I started into the hobby, I had an old Random Orbital Sander that I had bought from Wal-Mart in my toolbox. After upgrading recently, I can’t believe I waited this long. The added benefits of a solid ergonomic design, including anti-vibration and hand placement have made sanding a much less laborious chore! Again, you will spend hours sanding, so make them as comfortable as possible.

Sandpaper Grits 40 (40-1000 for Epoxy)

I burn through a lot of 40 grit paper on my Random Orbital Sander. It is probably worth your time to buy a large pack of 5″ discs to have in your shop. I also picked up a selection of other discs ranging up to 1000 grit. I rarely use them because I am working with a lot of live-edge materials. However, if you are going to be adding epoxy inlay to your workpieces, you will want to sand your way through a grit progression that gets you to 1000 grit finish. We cover all the details in our Beginner’s Guide to Epoxy Resin. Having this broad range of sandpaper available is going to go a long way towards ensuring that your finished epoxy works glisten!

Detail Sander

The Detail Sander is probably my second most-used sander in the workshop. Because I am working with a lot of live-edge materials, I often require additional maneuverability. Live-edge lumber has odd contours and tight spaces. The design of the Ryobi Corner Cat really works nicely for this type of work. The tip of the sander can get into really tight spots, and is great for corners (as the name suggests). The sides of the sanding pad can also be used to great effect. By following along the contours of a live edge, you can quickly knock down any rough spots. The best part is, the surface area of the pad is generous enough to sand larger planes, as well.

Sandpaper Grits 40, 120, 240

I usually run three grits through my Corner Cat Sander – 40, 120, and 240. I generally use 40 grit to knock down any heavy discoloration left behind by bark. This grit is also good to grind down branch collars and knots. It also makes quick work of the notoriously hard-to-sand end grain. You can sand these surfaces with a Random Orbital Sander, but I find the ROS kicks a bit more. In addition, it seems to wear out pads really quickly.

As I work through the grit progression, I use 120 grit to round off sharp contours on the live-edge pieces. By gently turning the sander while moving along the live edge, I am able to impart a safe edge that still holds true to the natural form of the workpiece. In addition, 120 grit does a great job of eliminating any router burn marks. Router burn occurs on the chamfered edges if I linger too long in one spot.

As you may have guessed, 240 grit is used to give the wood that silky smooth finish that everyone loves. I sand along all of the wood surfaces until everything is smooth to the touch. In addition, I love to use 240 grit to round off any sharp corners in the wood. Lastly, I run the sander along the live edge to ensure that it has a completely splinter-free edge that is not too sharp.

Finishing Sander

The Finishing Sander (also called Sheet Sander) is probably the sander that I use the least. However, it definitely has a place in the shop. These types of sanders have a similar level of maneuverability as a Detail Sander, but cover a slightly larger area. As such, I tend to use my Finishing Sander when I am working with a thicker piece of live edge. If I am working with 4/4 to 6/4 lumber, the Corner Cat does a fine job. However, with anything thicker, the added surface area of a Finishing Sander makes it so that you can sand your workpiece with a single pass. This saves quite a bit of time and effort.

Sandpaper Grits 40, 120, 240

You will want to stock up on all three grits of sandpaper for your 1/4 Sheet Sander, as well. Because of the nature of the tough work that happens at lower grits, I find that I go through 40-grit paper faster than the others. While this is not surprising, it can be annoying. Because most kits are sold as an even number of sheets per grit, I find myself ordering 40 grit separate. Your mileage may vary!

SanderStrengthWeaknessGrits
Random OrbitalCoverageManeuverability40
DetailManeuverabilityCoverage40, 120, 240
FinishingVersatilityRips Paper40, 120, 240

Looking Forward

We hope you enjoyed our Simple Guide to Electric Sanders. As we continue to expand our capabilities in the workshop, our selection of tools is sure to grow. As we acquire more tools and master their many uses, we will continue to provide tips, tricks, and guides. Our guides are meant to save you time and effort.

Please take the time to check out our selection of charcuterie boards, end-grain and edge-grain chopping blocks. You can click the E in the sidebar, header, or footer of this page to go directly to our Etsy shop. If you would prefer, you can click here to see our selection of boards and blocks on the site.

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Lifestyle

Valentine’s Day Charcuterie Board

No-Cook Charcuterie Boards

We love to cook. That said, we understand that not everyone does! We also have nights where we simply can’t. In order to solve this issue, we have created a number of recipes that require very little preparation. This is why we created our No-Cook Valentine’s Day Charcuterie Board. Don’t worry, this board still have plenty of flavor and fresh ingredients to please your palate. Our goal is to simplify your busy life and allow you to spend more time socializing and enjoying yourself, as opposed to working in the kitchen. All of the ingredients in this recipe can be bought, ready to eat.

Valentine's Day Charcuterie Board by Royal We Studios
Fresh, Delicious, and Simple – Amazing!
Valentine's Day Charcuterie Board Ingredient List
Super Simple Preparation!

Preparation

Prep Time: 30 minutes

With the exception of the Brie Heart, all of the preparation time for this meal is spent either slicing or arranging fruits, meats , or cheeses. Buying ingredients pre-sliced can save even more time, but can get costly. Do what works best for your timing and budget.

Additional Tools

You will need a platter that measure approximately 20″ L x 8″ W. We chose to place this spread on one of our Crown Jewels Collection boards. Click here to see our selection of charcuterie boards. If you don’t have a charcuterie board, don’t worry – the food will still look and taste great! You will need a sturdy metal cookie cutter for the Brie Heart and a paring / chopping knife for the rest of the preparation. A small vase for the flowers will help them to stand upright, or you can lay them on the board – Your call!!

Instructions

Roses

It wouldn’t be a Valentine’s Day Charcuterie Board without a few roses! Cut the stems down to 4-6 inches and bunch 4 together inside of the small vase. Place 1 rose at each end of the board.

Brie Heart

Making Brie Hearts is very simple and gratifying. Not to mention, TASTY! Start by placing the cookie cutter in the center of the cheese. Press down firmly and evenly until the cookie cutter penetrates to the bottom of the cheese. Move the cookie cutter from side-to-side to loosen the cheese. You can also twist the cookie cutter a bit, but be careful not to lose the heart shape. Once the brie inside of the cookie cutter is dislodged from the rest of the wheel, lift up. You should be left with a heart-shaped void in the Brie. Spoon in your favorite preserves and place it at the top of your board. Remove the heart from the cookie cutter and place on the board.

Olive Oil w/Herbs

Add a bit of savory flavor to your Olive Oil with generous amounts of Italian Seasoning. You can also add a pinch of Garlic Powder and Crushed Red Pepper for extra pop. To complete this delicious dipping oil, drizzle Balsamic Vinegar to taste. If you want to take your bread offering to the next level, consider our Crostini & Olive Oil Herb Dip recipe. It has a wider variety of dried herbs and also includes the option to bake your bread for added crunch.

Slice & Garnish

Slice the remaining ingredients and place them as seen on the board above. Once everything is in place, tear off cilantro leaves and place them throughout the dish to give an added pop of fresh color and aroma.

Ready To Serve

Your No-Cook Valentine’s Day Charcuterie Board is ready to serve. Whether you are dining by candlelight with your partner, enjoying a night in with friends, or grazing with the family, this board is sure to delight. If you enjoyed this tutorial, subscribe below and follow us on social media for updates. We will be creating no-cook board ideas for every holiday. In addition, we are constantly posting new Recipes, Charcuterie Boards and Home & Garden tips. Make your night complete by serving up Chocolate Covered Strawberries as a perfect dessert!

Presentation

You may have noticed that we chose to serve our Valentine’s Day No-cook Charcuterie Board on a lovely piece of birch with epoxy inlay. While we don’t serve everything we make on a charcuterie board, we certainly think it adds a touch of class. We have boards for all occasions and tastes in our Etsy shop. We also have a selection of end-grain and edge-grain chopping blocks available as well. You can click the E in the sidebar, header, or footer of this page to go directly to our Etsy shop, or you can click here to see our selection of lovely boards on the site.

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Beginner’s Guide – Epoxy Resin

There are SO many things I wish I knew when I started pouring Epoxy Resin for my woodworking projects. There is a lot of trial-and-error wisdom in this page. That wisdom came to me in the form of many failed workpieces, most of which were a total loss. What I discovered is that when you don’t have everything set up for a great epoxy pour, there is little to no recovering. That is why I decided to write up a Beginner’s Guide to Epoxy Resin. My hope is that sharing a few of my failures will help you to avoid the same issues and deliver perfect workpieces right from the start!

The Basics

If you are just starting out, you may not know a lot about the science of epoxy. Don’t worry, we’re not going to bore you with all of that! Instead, we are going to focus on a few simple things you need to know in order to have a great experience with epoxy resin pours in your woodworking. First, epoxy resin is a two-part product. Any kit that you buy will have two products. One bottle will be the resin itself, and another that will be hardener. By combining these two products together and mixing, you will start a chemical reaction. Once that chemical reaction is complete, your board will have a strong coating that will last.

Different grades and types of epoxy are available on the market. Some are food grade, while others are not. Some brands focus on providing a crystal clear finish, while others may not. Your options and price points are virtually endless when it comes to epoxy. So far, the best brand that I have found is from Specialty Resin & Chemical. Their product dries crystal clear, has an anti-yellowing agent that protects against UV damage, and they are FDA certified for indirect food contact.

Whichever epoxy resin product you choose, make sure that you follow the manufacturer’s directions. The tips and tricks below apply specifically to Epox-It 80. Some manufacturers have different ratios and conditions for their epoxy applications!!

Beginner’s Guide – Preparation

A great epoxy pour starts well before any resin leaves the bottle. In order to help you get ready, you will need to make sure you have a few tools handy and that your work area is prepped and ready to go!

What you will need:

Choose Your Work Area

Your work area must meet four critical requirements. First, it must be large enough to fit your workpiece. Second, it must be an area that maintains a temperature higher than 70 degrees Fahrenheit. Third, you will need access to an electrical outlet for your heat gun. Lastly, you must have a level work surface where you can rest your workpiece for at least 24 hours. Use your torpedo level to ensure the work area is suitable.

Prep Your Work Area

Once you have settled in to an optimum location for your epoxy pour, it is time to prep your work area. To avoid spilling epoxy on your surfaces, it is a good idea to lay down parchment paper below your workpiece and below your epoxy/hardener bottles. Parchment paper provides an excellent barrier against epoxy resin and it is relatively inexpensive. If you choose not to use Parchment Paper, wax paper or other non-porous papers can be substituted. Avoid using any porous materials, as they will absorb the epoxy and may end up making more mess than you bargained for.

Set Up Your Pouring Station

Once you mix your epoxy, you will have a limited amount of time to work with it before it cures. In order to save time and maximize your open time, having your pour station set up is critical. On a separate piece of Parchment Paper, you will want to set your Epoxy Resin, Hardener, Clear Mixing Cup, 2x Measuring Cups, and a Craft Stick.

A neat and clean Pouring Station

Prep Your Workpiece

Depending on what type of project you are working on, you may have different needs in terms of preparing your workpiece for epoxy. Any places where you think epoxy might flow should be sealed off with Tuck Tape. I have used Painter’s Tape, Duck Tape, and Gorilla Tape as well. Nothing handles the epoxy as well as Tuck Tape. It has a very strong adhesion to the wood and stands up against the thermal properties of epoxy as it cures. You can substitute other tapes if you would like, but be prepared for disappointment.

Tuck Tape keeps the epoxy from spilling over the edge

Beginner’s Guide – Mixing Epoxy Resin

You have done all of the prep work. Now it is time for the real fun to begin! As we move into this phase, we are going to focus on ensuring we get equal parts of the resin and hardener into the cup together and mixing them thoroughly.

Pour Resin & Hardener

To start, pour resin in one of the measuring cups. Pour your hardener into the other measuring cup, making sure that there are equal parts of both. In my experience, I like to fill the hardener just a hair fuller than the resin to ensure I do not end up with a gummy cure.

Combine In Mixing Cup

Use the Craft Stick to empty the Measuring Cup filled with Resin into the Clear Mixing Cup. Make sure to scrape the sides and give time for the Resin to ‘ooze’ out of the cup fully. Next, pour the Measuring Cup with the Hardener in to the Clear Mixing Cup. Make sure to scrape the sides of the measuring cup and get every bit of the hardener into the Mixing Cup.

Mix, Mix, Mix!

Mix your Epoxy Resin vigorously for five minutes. Make sure to change up your movements, using clock-wise, counter-clockwise, up-and-down, and cross-wise strokes. Varying your mixing pattern will help to ensure a thorough mix. Next, make sure that you are scraping the sides and bottom of the mixing cup regularly. This will help to avoid any material from caking to the sides of your cup. As you stir, you should see the epoxy starting to turn a bit cloudy. Lastly, look for bubbles forming in the epoxy resin.

Beginner’s Guide – Pouring Epoxy Resin

Epoxy resin has many uses, but we want to keep this guide simple. Therefore, we will be covering the two most basic repairs- Cracks/Splits and Voids.

Cracks / Splits

Cracks and splits occur when the cell structure of the wood shrinks or expands during drying. By applying epoxy to cracks and splits, you can sure up the wood and be relatively certain that the condition will not worsen. To fill cracks and splits, you should start by applying your epoxy to the most shallow point in the crack and allow it to flow down into the deeper recesses of the split. This allows air to escape from the split and makes it less likely that there will be air bubbles trapped in your cured epoxy. Your craft stick should hold a few drops of epoxy at a time. drip them into your cracks and splits slowly.

This board is loaded with cracks. Filling them in with epoxy will sure up the wood and add beauty!

Voids

Decay, branch collars, or insects burrowing through the wood can leave behind voids. Voids are best filled from the bottom. To do this, choose a single spot in the void and trickle epoxy in using the Craft Stick. By allowing the epoxy to flow to the bottom of the void and soak in, you have a better chance of avoiding trapped air bubbles.

Depending on the size of the void, you may wish to pour directly out of the cup. If you decide to do this, please be very patient with your pour. Simply dumping in epoxy without giving the mixture time to absorb into the wood and settle to the bottom will most likely result in trapped air bubbles in your finished workpiece.

Voids can be problematic for milling. Epoxy stabilizes them and adds beauty!

Beginner’s Guide – Curing Epoxy Resin

Most of the hard work is behind us, but we are not quite done yet! In this next step, we will take steps to ensure our epoxy resin cures to a hard, clear, bubble-free finish!

Apply Heat

Once your void is filled with epoxy, it is time to apply heat. I use a Furno Heat Gun from Wagner. It has a good range of heat settings and two fan modes. I have seen other folks use a small butane torch or a hair dryer in place of a heat gun to cure epoxy. Because I have not used those methods, I cannot endorse them. I keep my heat gun on the medium setting and slow fan speed. Turn the heat gun on about 30 seconds before you need it. This allows it to warm up properly.

Now we are ready to knock out our bubbles. By simply running the Heat Gun over your epoxy pour, you should see the bubbles disappear. Make sure to apply heat every five minutes until the epoxy starts to harden, which should be about 40 minutes from mixing time. Be careful to avoid any ‘sloshing’ from the heat gun fan. It will occasionally push liquid epoxy into undesired locations if you are not careful.

Top Off

Last step – We are almost done! As the wood absorbs epoxy, the levels of your pours will dip below the surface of the wood. While continuing to apply heat, monitor your fills to ensure they remain above the level of your board. Add additional epoxy as needed. Some voids will soak up quite a bit of epoxy, while others will not. It all depends on the porosity of the wood and the surface area that the epoxy is adhering to.

Top Tips!

  • Measure your epoxy carefully.
  • Add a hair more hardener than epoxy.
  • Pour epoxy and hardener in separate measuring cups.
  • Mix for five minutes.
  • Always pour your epoxy and store your work pieces above 70% F.
  • Ensure your work piece is 100% level.
  • Pour epoxy slowly to allow air to escape.
  • Apply heat to epoxy every five minutes until cured.
  • Top off your epoxy as the wood absorbs.
  • Use Tuck Tape. This stuff is a bit expensive, but worth every penny.

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Wooden Charcuterie Board Care

A high-quality charcuterie board is an investment. We have created this guide to wooden charcuterie board care to provide you with the knowledge of proper storage, use, care and maintenance. This way, your premium board can bring an added touch of elegance to family events and intimate gatherings for generations to come. We will provide simple tips that anyone can use to keep their boards in great condition.

Wood Products

Wood products have a memory. Trees are round, so the issues that tend to affect wood products involve the finished product attempting to return to a round state. Because the wood is trying to return to a round state, it can behave in strange ways. This diagram below shows the various different ways that wood will bend in its return to its natural state. The good news is, most of these issues can be prevented or corrected simply and easily. The tips and tricks for wooden charcuterie board care apply to all types of wood.

Wood warping - Wikipedia
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wood_warping

Storage

Storing your boards properly is the first step to preventing issues. Proper storage techniques will preserve the finish of the board and ensure proper moisture control. Both of these factors are crucial to making sure your board stays in perfect shape.

Storage Tip #1 – Avoid extreme temperatures. Make sure that the board is not stored in a location where it will be exposed to very high or low temperatures. Storing boards above the oven or in the drawer under the broiler can expose the board to heat that could dry the wood out, causing the cell structure to change. This could lead to warping or cracking of your board. Prevent these types of issues by finding a moderate temperature area of your home to store your boards. Doing so will help to prevent warping.

Storage Tip #2 – Stand boards up, whenever possible. Storing wooden charcuterie boards upright ensures that both sides of the board have access to air. Many warping issues are the result of uneven moisture, where one side of a board gets air, while the other side has moisture trapped. This can happen very easily if boards are stored laying down flat. If you must store boards laying down flat, place them in an area where you can be certain no water will accumulate. This way, you will know that both sides of the board remain dry between uses.

Using Your Board

As wooden charcuterie boards have become more popular, people have expanded the idea to include additional items beyond the traditional meat and cheese. Commonly referred to as ‘Grazing Boards’ or ‘Grazing Platters’, creative folks have filled their boards with almost every food item that you can imagine. If your board is properly sealed and contains no dangerous chemicals, there is no limit to the types of food you can include in your boards.

As you can see from the photographs above, we love to create beautiful boards that include all sorts of foods. This lovely and vibrant breakfast board had waffles, pancakes, eggs, and even bacon along side the ‘traditional’ cured meats, fruits and cheeses.

Usage Tip #1 – Only place materials on the board that you are sure will not stain or saturate the board. You can test this out with a small area to see if it will affect your board. Generally, avoid placing anything that is known for staining directly on the board. Instead, place the ingredients in a ramekin or small bowl.

Usage Tip #2 – Use a garnish to act as an extra layer of protection. As you can see in the pictures above, we have strategically placed an added layer of lettuce below many of the foods. Not only does the lettuce look lovely, it also keeps those pesky blueberries, raspberries, and blackberries from staining the board should they leak juice.

Usage Tip #3 – Avoid letting food sit for too long. Allowing the food to rest on the board for too long can introduce moisture that the board will absorb. Extended periods of moisture may lead to warping. In addition, leaving food sit for too long can allow some of the pigment to stain the board. Stains are practically impossible to remove without refinishing the board, so prevention is the key. To avoid these types of issues, make sure you clear your board of food in a timely manner.

Board Care

I am taking the time to separate wooden charcuterie board care and maintenance into two separate categories. Care will cover the basics of keeping the board looking its best and preventing issues. Maintenance will cover fixes and solves should issues arise with your board.

Caring for your boards is simple, easy, and cheap. And as with most things, prevention is the key. If you are going to be using your boards often, a small amount of effort on the front end can avoid additional work later on.

Care Tip #1 – Wipe your boards down with a damp cloth after each use. Wiping the board down will remove any residual food from the board. In addition, this cleaning time provides an excellent opportunity to evaluate the condition of your board. During this wipe-down, take note of any rough spots, dull coloration, or staining so that you can remedy those issues later.

Care Tip #2 – Reapply Food Grade Mineral Oil monthly. This is a simple and easy process that will keep your board looking great. Mineral oil is odorless and tasteless. It is also very inexpensive. In addition, it is very stable at most temperatures, which means you won’t need special storage for it. Lastly, it has anti-bacterial qualities.

Care Tip #3 – Reapply beeswax as needed. There is no set schedule for reapplication of beeswax. Depending on how often you use your board, your beeswax coating may wear more quickly. Should you notice that your board has lost its water-repellent properties, it is time to reapply.

Board Maintenance

Here we will cover a few simple and easy tricks to correct common issues that arise from regular use of charcuterie boards. Most of these solutions require simple hand tools, but nothing specialized or dangerous.

Maintenance Tip #1 – Keep a few pieces of sand paper handy. I won’t get into all of the details, but keeping P80, P120, and P240 sandpaper on hand will allow you to resolve any rough spots on your board. Start with P80 coarse grit and hand sand any raised parts. Remove sawdust with a vacuum or blow it off of the board. Then move in with P120 and refine the finish a bit more. Remove any sawdust from the board again. Lastly, finish off with P240 grit sandpaper to restore that silky finish. Clear off all sawdust and apply Food Grade Mineral Oil and beeswax.

Maintenance Tip #2 – Keep Superglue handy. This tip is only applicable to the non-food contact surfaces of your board. Superglue is not FDA approved for food contact, so please do not use Superglue on an area of your board that may come in contact with food. If your board develops cracks, splits, gouges, or other surface defects, a liberal portion of Superglue can help to provide stability to the wood and seal out bacteria. In addition, Superglue dries clear and is water-resistant, so it should hold up to regular use.

Summary

  • Avoid extreme temperatures
  • Stand boards up, whenever possible
  • Only place materials on the board that you are sure will not stain or saturate the board
  • Use a garnish to act as an extra layer of protection
  • Avoid letting food sit for too long
  • Wipe your boards down with a damp cloth after each use
  • Reapply Food Grade Mineral Oil monthly
  • Reapply beeswax as needed
  • Keep a few pieces of sand paper handy
  • Keep Superglue handy

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