Archive for the ‘cheese boards’ Tag

Whatchamacallits   Leave a comment

Mr-Ms-Logo---LargeAbout once a year, I get to make these, uh, serving pieces. I designed them a couple of years ago, and they are unique. The sweeping curves underneath are called cove cuts, and are made on the table saw using an exposed blade and special jig.

Mrs M now trusts me enough that I’m allowed to make these without adult supervision.

Once these exited the shop and made it to the booth, they were immediately named surfboards by my customers.

It’s Southern California. Deal with it.

However, I then began to make actual surfboard-shaped cutting boards, and that confused people. Me, at least. I now had small & medium-sized surfboards. And the original wrongly named surfboards were … large surfboards? That didn’t work for me.

I call them elegant cheese & cracker servers. That is what I believe they *are*.

Customers, though, still call them surfboards. Customers aren’t always right, in my opinion. Just don’t tell them I said so.

Call them what you may, here’s a shot of one of these boards in use by a happy customer. I was there, and I was happy as well after sampling this fare.

Following that photo are pictures of the 18 new elegant cheese & cracker servers, coming soon to a holiday boutique near you. Hopefully!



How To Fill Your Cheese Board

Cutting Sideways = Curves

Building More Boards In 2014   Leave a comment

Handcrafted ByI can see the light at the end of the tunnel … but I’m not there yet.

I never understood how many cutting boards and cheese boards I’d be making this year when I hopped on this merry-go-round. With success … comes work. Here are some of the latest boards I’ve built … and there’s more to come. 2014 is not done, not by a long shot.

Some of these boards were built to fulfill Xmas orders. Some were built for our final events of the year, taking place this weekend. I built all of these because I thought they’d be pretty.

Hope you agree!


Buying A Board From Mr M’s Woodshop

13 Lies People Tell Me   Leave a comment

HandcraftedI admit I’m a bit obsessed with cutting boards these days. In my defense, I have actually done research into what makes a good cutting board. I know what the government requires for cutting boards in restaurants. And, I’ve made more than a few of these kitchen tools, as well.

So when people lie to me, it gets me riled up. And when I talk to a lot of people at holiday boutiques … people lie to me. I need to get people to stop lying to me, and lying to themselves.

Please, help me stop the lies.

1. It doesn’t matter what cutting board I use.

Yes, yes it does. Different kinds of boards do have different advantages (or, in the case of glass or marble … not). If you’re looking for information about which board might work best for you, check out the link below for Cutting Boards: What Kind Do You Want?

2. Bamboo makes great cutting boards.

Hard Maple, Cherry & Black Walnut. 16" x 12-1/2" x 1-1/4". End Grain.

Hard Maple, Cherry & Black Walnut. 16″ x 12-1/2″ x 1-1/4″. End Grain.

Bamboo does indeed make cutting boards that are inexpensive. However, those boards are made overseas. They’re made with a great deal of glue by workers in third world countries. Bamboo grows quickly, and is a renewable resource … but doesn’t reach maximum hardness until the Bamboo is 5 or 6 years old. If the wood is harvested earlier (and how would you know?), the wood is softer. In addition, the bulbous nature of the wood means that it will dull your knives more quickly than boards made from traditional wood like hard maple or walnut.

3. Bamboo boards are harder than “rock maple” boards.

(This was stated by a seller of bamboo boards). This is simply untrue. “Rock Maple” is a nickname sometimes used for Hard Maple or Sugar Maple. That wood is harder than bamboo.

The hardness of wood is measured by something called the Janka scale. Higher numbers represent harder woods, and here are the scores of the woods that I use for cutting boards … and some that I don’t:

  • Purpleheart: 2,520
  • Jatoba, AKA Brazilian Cherry: 2,350
  • Osage Orange: 2,040
  • Bubinga: 1,980
  • Goncalo Alves, AKA Tigerwood: 1,850
  • Hickory, Pecan: 1,820
  • Yellowheart: 1,790
  • Padauk: 1,725
  • Hard Maple: 1,450
  • Bamboo: 1,380 (one species of Bamboo)
  • Ash: 1,320
  • Bamboo (carbonized): 1,180
  • Teak: 1,155
  • Black Walnut: 1,010
  • Cherry: 995
  • Mahogany: 800
Commissioned piece. 16-1/4" x 12-3/4" x 1-1/2". Hard Maple, Black Walnut, Cherry and Yellowheart. Edge Grain.

Commissioned piece. 16-1/4″ x 12-3/4″ x 1-1/2″. Hard Maple, Black Walnut, Cherry and Yellowheart. Edge Grain.

The hardness of Bamboo is further complicated by the hardness of boards varying between the knuckle or node of the bamboo shoot (which is hardest), and the rest of the plant.  In addition, if the wood fibers of the bamboo shoot are scored (which is something that happens on cutting boards!), then the wood loses more rigidity … so it’s softer.

Bamboo is cheap, which does give it one real advantage over other types of cutting boards.

4. Plastic boards can be sanded smooth to extend their life.

(This was stated by a seller of plastic boards.) Simply, not true. Plastic boards will develop cuts and grooves in their surface over time, and a used board is a better habitat for bacteria. Unfortunately, sanding a plastic board just makes MORE cuts and grooves in the plastic surface. When the plastic board shows wear, replace it.

5. Glass boards are more sanitary than wooden boards.

Absolutely not true. You can read the research studies that are linked in the cutting board article at the bottom, previously referenced.

6. Your boards are at the perfect price point.

End Grain. Hard Maple, Walnut, Yellowheart, Padauk, Cherry. Cutting Board # 13.

End Grain. Hard Maple, Walnut, Yellowheart, Padauk, Cherry. Cutting Board # 13.

A lady actually said this to me … and then she bought 5 boards. So, what am I saying??? If she likes the price point, then good for her. Me, I think prices should go up.

7. These boards are too expensive.

One guy said this to me … and then his wife asked if I made the boards. When I said yes, she then told her husband that the reason the boards are more expensive is that “the artist is on site.” I had nothing to say to that. And the couple didn’t buy anything, for the record.

8. These boards are too pretty to use.

People that say this to me are just inviting an argument. I wonder if their stoves are too pretty to use, too? Or how about their dishwashers?

9. Wooden boards are not sanitary.

Not true. This is not backed up by the science. Wooden boards – with all wood types being shown to be roughly equal – actually have natural anti-bacterial properties.

10. You dye these woods different colors, right?

Never. I only use natural woods with their natural colors.

11. It’s best to treat cutting boards with salad bowl finish.

A fully restored board. The padauk is once again a vibrant orange.

Edge grain. Purpleheart, Canary wood, Padauk, Cherry and Hard Maple.

Nope. Salad bowl finish is fine for, uh, salad bowls. However, this finish is a varnish, and that’s not something that should be applied to a cutting board … and then cut up and served with the food prepared on the board.

12. It’s best to treat cutting boards with olive oil (or walnut oil).

Organic oils are not recommended, as they will eventually turn rancid. Food-safe mineral oil is recommended.

13. I made a board just like this in high school when I was in shop class.

Respectfully, no you didn’t. You may have glued boards together and called it a cutting board … and I’m sure your mother loves it! … but I humbly submit that the work done in a high school shop may not be up to the standards found in Mr M’s Woodshop.

Humbly submitted. And since I’ve now referred to myself in the third person … I’m done.


Cutting Boards: What Kind Do You Want?

 Wikipedia: Janka Hardness Test

Cheese Boards … Or What Do You Think They Are?   2 comments

Handcrafted ByI freaked out last weekend after selling several cheese boards … and I had to make more for our next big event.

Well, I call them cheese boards. You may think they’re perfect cutting boards for your small kitchen, RV, for cutting a sandwich, or whatever. To each his own. I’ll keep making them as long as people like them!

Today, Mrs. M’s Handmade is at the Thousand Oaks Street Fair. Come see us … and you’ll get to see these boards, up close and personal.

I’m working with some new woods here … and trying some new techniques in the shop, too. Please share your thoughts; would love to hear what you think of these new boards.


The Trouble With Success

Cheese Boards That Think That They Are Cutting Boards

Cheese & Cracker Servers

Cheese Boards: Round 2   1 comment

Each of these boards is approximately 8-1/2″ x 11″ x 7/8″. They have non-slip rubber feet, and a slot hollowed out on each end for your fingers to slip into as you pick up the board.

All boards finished with mineral oil, and then a top coat of mineral oil & locally harvested beeswax.

I think I’ve run through my course of Cheese Boards for a while. I do think there are more cutting boards in my future, however!

(After I do the easel picture frames & mission candle holders that I’ve promised, of course!)


Who Doesn’t Love Cheese & Crackers?

Who Doesn’t Love Cheese & Crackers?   12 comments

HandcraftedI’ve heard it for years.

I was working in the garage workshop last weekend, and a neighbor wanted to hire me to redo her kitchen.

I’ve ignored it. Always.

Until now.

Given that Mrs M’s Handmade is about to be an actual business, it seemed that I needed to help out. In a week or three, the website will be up. In a month, we’ll be at the Santa Clarita Street Fair.

So, it was time to get ready.Cheese and Wine

22 Cheese Boards are now ready for sale. All of the boards are approximately 8″ x 10″. All are unique. The most prevalent wood is hard maple, but I’ve also used purpleheart, yellowheart, red oak, cherry, walnut, mahogany, teak, padauk, jatoba and honey locust. They are all finished with mineral oil, and then a beeswax/mineral oil topcoat.

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