I have been thinking about this project for a while. I have coveted anything monogrammed for a long time, and I happened to see a monogrammed cutting board featured in a gourmet catalogue over the holidays. I love looking gourmet catalogues and magazines. They inspire me in so many different ways! There is just one problem with them:
Gourmet = Expensive
Expensive means it’s not even remotely in my budget realm. Perhaps in the year 2090 I could afford to buy something this from one of those catalogues. That’s a long time to wait for something. There is an upside to this situation however:
Expensive = DIY opportunity
I have discovered recently, that I can make just about anything for practically nothing, and certainly far cheaper than I can buy it.
I found a cute little cheese cutting board and knife set on sale recently at Target. It was just the small size I was looking for, big enough for one or two small wedges of cheese to go with a glass of wine while watching TV with the hubby. This one has a hinged top that swings open to reveal a set of cheese knives and a wine opener. How cute is that?
I brought it home and pulled out my kids wood burning set. It’s been years since we attempted wood burning, and I had completely forgotten how to use the thing. After a few practice sessions on some scrap wood, I was ready to take the plunge and give it a try on the real wood cutting board. I was a bit discouraged at first for several reasons.
I was under the impression that I purchased a maple cutting board. I am not really sure that’s what I got since this particular item didn’t have a label in the store. I read each and every cutting board label to be certain it was real maple and not bamboo or some other material. There are so many other materials out there! After trying out the wood burning tool successfully on some bass wood scraps, I knew that burning the maple would be more difficult but eager to try it anyhow.
My first problem was finding a font that I liked. The thing is, the letter C looks about the same no matter what font you choose. After much deliberation, I decided to skip the computer generated fonts, and did it free hand on the board with a pencil instead. It still looks like a C to me. Then I began to work on the wood burning.
I failed to realize just how difficult that would be.
This wood is like a rock. Solid as can be, and didn’t burn nearly as well as I anticipated. Part of the problem was the waxy like finish on the cutting board. I failed to realize it would gum- up the flat tipped wood burning tool and cause ridges in the burn which were difficult to smooth out entirely. I should have sanded the surface down first, or at least wiped the surface clean to remove the oil and wax before attempting the burn.
Cutting boards are generally conditioned with mineral oil and I didn’t think it would be a problem burning through oil. Not to mention, that removing it would require some toxic paint thinner or other substance which I didn’t want to come into contact with food, so in the end I guess it was okay that I left the finish on the board. I will condition the board as needed with olive oil. I prefer to use natural products instead of mineral oil (which is a petroleum based product).
I spent a lot of time going over the burned area again and again, as it was not easy to burn through the cross grain of the wood. If I had to do this project again, I would remember to work with the grain, not across it as it is much more difficult.
I have a number of wood burning tips, however the only one that really worked well was the flat tip (it looks like a flat head screw driver). I tried the small pen-like tips and they didn’t mark the wood at all, not sure if it was because the wood was too hard or the tip to flimsy.
I added the straight lines above and below the monogram to give it a larger look. It just seemed like it needed something else to belong there. Our last name starts with a C, which also works out for the c in cheese. I don’t mind that the cheese will cover the monogram on this small board, and it is not perfect but I still like how it looks.
I love that it is now a little bit more personalized.
Time for a wine and cheese night!
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