Always being a bit of a hobbyist, woodworking was just calling my name. I just needed the right set of circumstances to get me started. I started a new job 2 1/2 years ago, and met a coworker, John, who had noticed my Family Handyman magazines. He informed me he was an avid woodworker. I showed him a drawing of a wine cabinet I wanted to make with a beautiful tile inlay on top. He got very excited and offered to teach me in his shop. I was stoked–this project was going to be amazing! With Johns experience and my desire to learn, he taught me everything he knew about woodworking from the necessary shop rules and practicum to the very important notion that, a clean shop is a happy shop. Within a year, the wine cabinet I had envisioned with Canarywood wine rungs and a stained pine base was completed and I was hooked! To thank him properly I knew my gift had to be crafted from wood using my new set of skills.
As I was still very much a beginner, I decided a cutting board would be suitable as it is the undisputed beginner project. However, after seeing Marcs leaf inlay, I had an idea. John was a bonafide Dead Head. I knew there could be no better gift-a Grateful Dead inlayed cutting board would be perfect. Practical? Not really, but awesome?…YES! So I used the router based inlay technique and a combination of Oak, Cherry, Walnut, and Purpleheart inlay material approximately an 1/8th of an inch thick. Patiently I began working from right to left. In hindsight, I might choose to work from outside to inside in the future, as I feel it might have been a smoother transition between inlay pieces. The ultimate key however, was patience. At 27 years old, its a virtue I’m still trying to master. I finished with multiple coats of a thinned out salad bowl finish which worked great. Since I was working out of my apartment in winter, this project was rather challenging largely from a cleanliness perspective. Routing anything in an apartment is ill-advised, but I dont regret it. I spent about as much time creating this piece as I did cleaning up. Overall, it was a successful adventure and well worth the effort when I delivered it for Christmas.