Walnut and Copper Cutting Board / Serving Board!

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Introduction: Walnut and Copper Cutting Board / Serving Board!

About: Weekly how-to project videos about #woodworking, metalworking, and more. #Maker. Created by Johnny Brooke.

This week's project is a Walnut and copper cutting board or serving board, perfect for those charcuterie or cheese trays for your next party! These also make outstanding gifts, and you still have time to build one before Christmas if you get to work. Enjoy!

Don't miss the video above for a lot more information!

Step 1: Gather Tools & Materials

Step 2: Glue Up Serving Board Blank

I used Walnut on this build, but you could really use almost any hardwood. I was building two of these boards, so I made on extra thick blank that I later cut in half on the bandsaw. If you're only building one, you'll need a blank roughly 18" x 10" x 1 ½". I used Titebond II wood glue, which is fine for cutting boards.

Step 3: Flatten Serving Board Blank

After the glue up, your blank will need to be flattened. To effectively flatten a piece this big, I used a simple planer sled. The video goes into this in more detail, but the basic idea is that you attach the blank to a flat piece of MDF or other sheet good, making sure to shim any corners that rock, and then run it through your planer riding on the sled.

The piece of MDF is used as the reference surface and the top of the blank ends up perfectly flat. After getting the top flat, you can remove the blank from the sled, flip it over, and pass it through the planer with the newly flattened face facing down.

Again, I made an extra thick blank so I could cut it in half at the bandsaw. This is a really efficient way to get two boards out of the work of one.

Step 4: Route Pockets in Serving Board

One of the features of this serving board design is the pockets that are routed into the face of the board. These are great for dried fruit, nuts, and other smaller items you'd like to serve on the board.

To do this routing, I used my Inventables X-Carve, mostly just to get some practice with Easel, their free design software.

If you don't have access to a CNC, you could create a router jig using a scrap piece of plywood and a jigsaw, and then route the pocket using a template bit on your router. If you don't have access to a router, you could use something like a carving gouge to get a similar pocket.

The X-Carve also cut the board to its final dimension, but you could just do this at the miter saw. One of the big design elements on this piece is the notched corner, so don't forget to do that before moving to the next step!

Step 5: Route Grooves Into Edges of the Board

One of the most interesting design features of the serving board is the copper banding that wraps around the perimeter of the serving board.

To provide a better connection between the copper and the board, I routed a groove into the edges of the board to accept the copper. I did this with a ¾" straight bit on my router table. You could also do this with a handheld router and edge guide.

I cut the groove in two passes, flipped the board around 180 degrees between passes, which gave me a perfectly centered groove. I routed this groove on all four sides of the board.

After routing, I rounded the corners with a file, making sure to get them to the same depth as the grooves. Rounding the corners will allow the copper to bend around the edges more easily.

Step 6: Attach Copper to the Serving Board

Attaching the copper took a lot of trial and error, but I eventually got it figured out. I started on the flat end of the board, attaching the copper with the end towards the center of the board.

To install the screw, I first drilled a small hole slightly smaller than the threads on the screws, through the copper and into the wood. With that hole drilled, I widened the hole in the copper, making a clearance hole. This allows the screw to pass through the copper without the threads coming into contact with the metal. Finally, I countersunk the holes so that the heads of the screws would be flush with the copper.

To bend the copper around the corner, I used a dead blow mallet in addition to just bending it by hand. If I bent the copper just by hand, the radius of the bend ended up much larger, so it was best to start the bend by hand and then finish it with a mallet.

After bending, I kept adding screws, roughly spaced every 4 inches.

The trickiest part of the build was the corner where the copper isn’t wrapped around the serving tray. I got this slightly wrong, but it still turned out pretty well. To figure out where I needed to make the bend, I measured the width of the board and marked a line.

Next, I removed the copper from the board and then clamped it to my workbench, with the bend line right at the edge of the vise jaws. Once again, I bent the copper using a combination of hand pressure as well as the dead blow mallet.

I continued adding screws until I wrapped around the entire board and got back to the start of the copper. I marked where I needed to cut the copper and used my portaband to cut the copper to length. A hacksaw would work fine here.

Step 7: Roundover Edges, Sand Thoroughly, and Apply Finish

To clean up the copper, I used a scotch-brite pad, and this left the copper with a really nice, satin sheen. I was honestly amazed at how well this worked and at just how good the copper looked after this.

Before applying finish, I rounded over all of the edges using an ⅛” radius roundover bit. This didn’t work that well, since the bearing was riding on the copper rather than the wood, so I had to do a lot of sanding to blend the corners. I sanded up to 180 grit before applying finish.

For the finish, I kept it simple and just applied a few coats of mineral oil. Since this board won’t see a ton of use, mineral oil will be just fine.

Once the finish was applied, the serving board was done!

Step 8: Enjoy Your New Serving Board!

Hopefully, you enjoyed this project and might consider making a few for gifts this holiday season! I am looking forward to serving cheese, dried fruits, and charcuterie to my guests on one of these boards this holiday season.

If you enjoyed, please consider subscribing to my YouTube channel and following me on Instagram. Thanks and, until next week, happy building!

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Homemade Gifts Contest 2017

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    14 Discussions

    Very nice! One thought on the "empty" corner: save the cutoff corner piece (radius it before cutting it off), stick it back on temporarily, use it to guide the copper bend, then slip it back out.

    I like how you provide alternative ways of doing various steps, for people who have/don't have a particular tool. (I've a great book called "Woodworking: The Right Technique" that's subtitled "Three practical ways to do every job..."). There's always another way to do things, and some of the art - and fun - is figuring out new, clever, better ones.

    1 reply

    That would have probably worked well! You're right, there are a millions ways to do everything in woodworking it seems!

    How do you like the X-carve? Seems like a fairly affordable way to get into a CNC system. Have you done anything with metal with that?

    1 reply

    I like it a lot so far. The Easel software makes it pretty much dummyproof, since it walks you through each step of getting the machine set up before each carving session. No metal so far, although I think it would cut softer metals fine.

    Well done build and great viedeo and write up. In reference toe wood rasps, I've been using auriou rasps for a while. While they are pricey, they are worth it. These rasps are hand cut in France. Hand stitching results in an uneven grain pattern and leaves the wood without any grooves. Search on Google and you'll find several sources. I recomend the smaller modelers rasp for fine work like you have on the alrady planed surfaces you are working on. The rougher ones are great for shaping.

    Not sure if it was intentional, but all of your links for materials lead to the glue, and for the tools lead to the brad nailer. :/

    Just wanted to let you know.

    2 replies

    Crap, that’s a formatting error when copying and pasting to Instructables. I’ll get it fixed in the morning. In the meantime, all of the items are listed in the video description on YouTube. Thanks!