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How To Build A Walnut and Copper Cutting Board / Serving Board

How To Build A Walnut and Copper Cutting Board / Serving Board

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! 

Sign up for Easel, Inventables' 3D carving machine software, for free here.

Original design by Meadors: https://www.meadorsmade.com/shop-1/small-rectangle-serving-board

Materials Used On Walnut and Copper Serving Board (affiliate):

Tools Used On Walnut and Copper Serving Board :

Voiceover Script : 

Last year, I built end grain cutting boards for Christmas gifts, and they were a big hit. This year, I decided to change it up a bit and build serving trays instead, since you don’t really need two end grain cutting boards in your kitchen. 

These serving boards are similar to cutting boards, and can even be used for cutting up things like cheese, fruit, etc., but their main purpose is to serve food fashionably. These boards are usually used for charcuterie, cheese, dried fruit, nuts, etc, and are great for entertaining.

My mom found a really clever serving board design by Meadors, a woodworking company in Charleston, SC, and asked if I could make her one. This is a gift for my parents, and I won’t be selling these, so if you want to purchase one, check out Meadors. I’ll have a link in the video description to their original version of this design.

Anyway, I decided to build the serving tray, actually two of them, out of Walnut, since it’s what I had on hand. What you’ve seen me doing so far is just dimensioning the rough Walnut on the jointer, table saw, and planer. After getting the pieces to the same thickness and width, I cut all of the pieces to length at the miter saw. 

Next, I glued all of the pieces into one big chunk and set it aside to dry. The overall dimensions of the blank were 19 inches long by 9 ½” wide by 3 inches thick. I was resawing this blank to get two boards, but if you were only making one, you’d only need it roughly 1 ½” thick at this point.

Next, it was time to flatten the blank.

After hot gluing the blank to the planer sled, I passed it through my planer to flatten to top surface. Once that face was flat, I removed the blank from the planer sled, flipped it over, and then passed it through the planer until the other face was flat.

After planing, since I was going to be resawing the blank, I jointed one edge prior to resawing.

Over at the bandsaw, I resawed the blank into two equal pieces. I didn’t have a resaw blade installed, so this went a little slow, but I was left with a relatively clean surface. Off camera, I passed the two blanks through the planer again to bring them to the same thickness.

Next, it was time to route the pockets into the top of the serving board. There are a few ways to do this, but I decided to get some more practice on my new Inventables X-Carve. If you don’t have access to a CNC, you could make the same pockets using a router jig and a template bit. 

I will have a link to the Easel project in the video description, if you’d like to cut one of these yourself. Easel is free to use and I’ll have an affiliate link in the video description below if you’d like to sign up and play around with the software.

In addition to cutting the pockets, the X-Carve also cut the blank to final size, rounding the corners and mitering one corner. Again, this could all be done with regular woodworking tools, but it was a fun challenge to create this shape entirely in Easel. 

After the X-Carve finished, I moved over to the router table to route the grooves for the copper banding that goes along the perimeter of the serving board. This is really kind of the signature of this piece, but it’s really just for aesthetics. 

To route the groove, I used a ¾” straight bit and made the cut in two passes. I set the depth of cut using the copper as my reference, and then set the fence so that, after two passes, it would leave a 1 inch wide groove centered on the edge of the serving board.

Somehow, I managed to screw up pressing the record button during the routing, so this is the only clip I have of the actual routing, but I think you get the idea. I made a pass, flipped the board around, and then made the second pass to get my 1 inch wide groove. I did this on all four edges. 

Next, I headed over to the bench and rounded over the corners inside the grooves with a file. Rounding these corners allows the copper to bend around the corner much easier. I really need to pick up some wood-specific rasps, if you have any recommendations, I’d love to hear them in the comments below.

Once the corners were rounded, it was time to start installing the copper. I picked up this copper flat bar from Amazon, and I’ll have a link in the video description to the exact piece I ended up ordering. For this size of serving board, a 60” long piece leaves just a few inches to spare. 

Installing the copper was a really time consuming process, and was by far the most tedious part of the build. The flat sections are pretty self explanatory, so we’ll skip ahead to one of the corners. 

First, I attached the copper next the corner using these copper-plated screws I found, which I’ll also have a link to in the video description.

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. 

As I said, there was something I didn’t account for properly during this process, most likely the bend radius, as, when I went to reattach the copper, the corner was slightly out of square. Rather than try and re-bend it, I just decided to leave it. I was afraid that if I overworked the copper, it might become brittle and break, and this piece of copper was about $40. 

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. 

I purposely cut the copper a little long on the first cut, and went back and trimmed it to final length on the second cut. After cutting, I filed any sharp edges and then screwed down the end just like the rest of the copper.

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. I used plain old mineral oil on the end grain cutting boards I built last Christmas and, after using my cutting board almost every day since then, it still looks great, even without re-oiling. 

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

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