In my previous post I talked about the native rimu timber that I'd kept aside after we replaced the kitchen in the old house. Rimu is a good solid timber that is perfect for chopping boards. If you're new to woodwork and you want to start with the most simplest project, then chopping boards are your best bet. Making a chopping board can be as simple as just sanding down a 30cm x 30cm (1 foot) piece of solid timber shelving, applying oil and calling it a chopping block. It doesn't have to be fancy.
I selected a piece of rimu that was 21.5cm (8.5 inches) wide. The kitchen in our old house was built before New Zealand switched to metrics in 1969, so the rimu pieces I've collected are some slightly odd sizes compared to the new timber that is sold today in metric sizes. The end of this piece was pretty rough with a broken corner so I started out by sawing off that end with the mitre saw. I chose a 45 degree angle for the edges of my chopping board because I like that look, but there is nothing wrong with just doing a standard 90 degree cut if you prefer (or if you don't have a mitre saw to cut a 45 degree angle). You can use a hand saw and mitre box for these cuts, but given that rimu is a hard timber, it would have taken me quite awhile to hand saw through it.
I used a power sander to sand the surface and edges of my board, but that was mainly because this piece had old oil marks and dust on it from the garage. After a good sanding I put it through the dishwasher to make sure it was really clean. I waited until it was fully dry before oiling it.
Next I mixed up 50/50 of raw linseed oil with turps in a jar and applied this to the board using a cloth. Once the oil mixture had been throughly worked in, it looked like this:
Chopping boards make a great gift for people. You can even engrave their name onto the back of it using a wood burning tool. I don't own a wood burning tool but apparently they are quite cheap to buy and it would really a personal touch to have "Dear _, Love _" on the back of it :)