Assembling the ebony chopping board

I learned a lesson when I unpacked the ebony for the chopping board. It was rough sawn, straight off the bandsaw and dusty. Somehow I had imagined the ebony would be planed square and pretty much ready for glueing up. Since blanks for guitar fretboards are usually planed when you get them, I assumed this would be the case with these blanks as well. How wrong was I?

This meant I was in for a lot of work. I tried planing the wood with my hand plane. I managed to flatten the face of one of the pieces and was about to start on the second face when I noticed my plane was dull. Very dull. I sharpened up and planed the second side. Then, my plane was dull again, and I was way out of square. I tried a few more pieces but decided this was not going to work: I had to plane four sides of 28 pieces of ebony. At this rate I would have to sharpen my plane 112 times over weeks of planing.

I changed tactics and decided to use the machines in our shared workshop. I used a planer (on a very fine setting) and thicknesser to get the blanks flat and square. This went a lot quicker with better results. Since I hadn’t used the machines much until now, I also got to understand them a lot better.

Once all the pieces were planed I did a trial run and glued up the the board:

Test run before glue up

Test run before glue up

Glueing up the ebony

Glueing up the board

I did the final levelling and cleaning with my hand plane and cabinet scraper:

The glued up chopping board, cleaned up with a plane and cabinet scraper

The glued up chopping board, cleaned up with a plane and cabinet scraper


Up next, cutting the grooves…

7 thoughts on “Assembling the ebony chopping board

  1. From my experience, not only are they rough-sawn, but I bet it looks like the bandsaw blade they used to saw it with was in dire need of guide bearings (not needing new ones, actually needing some) and might have had 2 TPI. Amiright? They give new definition to “rough sawn”. Or maybe it just seems bad because it takes so much work to get it to NOT rough sawn.

    You’re lucky you had power tools to fall back on. I don’t have that. I found that 60 grit aluminum oxide belts adhered to float glass are good when working with thinner or smaller pieces (large enough to properly hold still, of course). Plus, you get lots of black sanding dust that gets collected into an old prescription pill bottle for some unknown reason. I’m sure I’ll find a use for it at some point. Maybe mixing with some sort of glue to make intricate infill in some close-pored wood?

    • It was very rough sawn. But to give them their due, it was generously cut, so I ended up pretty much with what I had ordered after planing etc.
      Good tip on keeping the dust. If I get the chance I’ll definitely do that next time. You ever know what it’ll be good for.

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