This project was a labor of love for our daughter. She loves charcuterie, so a few months prior to her birthday I came up with the idea of a homemade charcuterie board. These are my favorite kinds of gifts, thoughtful....meaning you know the person is going to love it, and treasured....meaning because it was created by you for that person, so you know it's going to hold special meaning for them.
I shared the idea with my husband, and even though I originally planned to have him "supervise" the project, meaning he would guide me through it (I had also done a whole lot of research online), I would be the one to create it. As it turned out, this truly was a "his, hers and ours" kind of project. He loves woodworking, so he was all in when I told him my idea.
We found a local lumber shop
for the piece of wood. It turned out to be about six miles from us. We were able to wander through their huge selection of wood to pick out the exact piece we wanted. I picked out this walnut piece. I loved the grain variation, and knew once it was finished it was going to be even prettier than the raw piece.
Many people remove the bark from a live edge piece of wood. Personally, I love the extra character it offers, so we kept it on and did research on 1) how to ensure it wouldn't fall off and 2) special treatment/consideration for a food safe project.
With that in mind, my husband added a lacquer to just the bark edges to help secure and finish it and the wood itself was sanded and treated with about six coats of food safe treatments that also allowed the beauty of the wood to shine through. The first several coats were mineral oil. Followed by several coats of a Butcher Block Conditioner (made by Howard Products), which has mineral oil, beeswax and carnauba wax in it. The food will be placed on the wood area, with the bark creating a framework for the food. I found some little rubber bumpers online to screw to the underside which allows it to sit about 3/4" above the actual countertop or table that you'll be placing the board on for serving.
I was originally thinking of putting handles on each side of the board making it easy to carry. But, based upon the beauty of this wood, it felt like it needed something else. So we opted for antlers. My husband has many sheds, so we picked out a set that would work well and I had him stain them darker to compliment the walnut. He then cut them and drilled into each one to allow him to screw them into place.
I included several other items as part of the gift (I should have taken pictures of them). They included a variety pack of cheese slicers, little forks/spoons, melamine salad size plates, and a variety of little bowls. I also made her a ripstop nylon cover with a drawstring. She can just slide the board in when it's not in use and it will keep it dust free until she's ready to use it again.
I'm happy to report....she was absolutely thrilled with her gift. Score one for Mom and Dad!! I have to admit though, it does add some pressure for next year's birthday!