My favorite gifts to give and receive are special family pieces that remind us of our loved ones. This wood slice was a very exciting project since it belonged to my husband’s Grandparents and I knew I could turn it into something special for my mother-in-law, Helen.
I came across the wood slice at her parents farm this summer. I happened to see it sitting on the front porch as the house was being emptied just before it was listed on the market. It’s been tough for everyone in the family to let go of his Granny and Grandaddy’s home that holds so many memories. I shared many good times with the family there.
It took a while for an idea to come to me, but I decided it would make a nice serving board…and the perfect Christmas gift for Helen.
You can see the surface was pretty rough. Helen said it was a left over piece from the handmade clock her parents had hanging on the wall in their living room. I considered making it a clock as well, but thought it would make a better serving board.
I started by sanding it with a palm sander…that didn’t work very well. This was a very solid piece of wood and the palm sander just wasn’t doing the job. I brought it over to my Dad’s house to take the belt sander to it. The belt sander saved me so much time and work, and my Dad and I enjoyed the time we spent together on this project. The most difficult part of this project was keeping the motion light on so we could have enough light to finish the job. We had to stop the sander and wave our hands around to get the light back on each time it turned off. Daylight savings time is definitely better for these type of projects during the weeknights.
The belt sander did a nice job smoothing the surface. It looks like there are still some rough areas in this photo, but they were smooth to the touch. There were a few small places that were too deep to sand down all the way, but we didn’t want to create a dip in the surface trying to sand those places. Besides, I like the rustic look. Perfection wasn’t necessary.
I had a can of Watco Butcher Block oil I used to refinish my Grandfather’s old butcher block. Since this board is intended for serving food, it’s important to use a food safe mineral oil. I have seen some of these projects that have been covered with polyurethane, but I would not recommend that. It’s also important to clean it good before applying the oil and clean any excess sanded wood. We went over it with my Dad’s air compressor, which really helped clean it out of the bark.
Believe it or not, my cloth was clean! It’s been used quite a bit for these type of projects. Some of the bark had come off, but I went over the sides (with or without bark) with the mineral oil.
To protect her furniture surfaces, I added these adhesive vinyl pads to the bottom of the board. I placed them carefully on the points of the board that would level it as much as possible.
The surface turned out beautiful and the oil brought life to the wood again. Although the directions call for two coats of mineral oil, I applied three to make sure the surface would have added protection.
I stopped by Trader Joe’s to pick up some brie and Gouda cheese for her new serving board. I also bought some for myself along with a few other things so I could photograph it on the board. I am saving the cheese I have left for our New Years celebration. Notice I said the “cheese I have left”? Well, it’s impossible to photograph cheese without the temptation to have a few bites.
Helen was very surprised to receive her cutting board and recognized it as soon as she opened it on Christmas day. I had her open the marble cheese knife set first to build up to opening the cutting board. It certainly has a special memory attached to it and hope she will enjoy using it!