Cedar board with iroko pins

Welcome! Forums Project Series Breadboard-end Cutting Board Cedar board with iroko pins

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    George Harris

    Hey folks, first time posting on here, I thought I’d add to the collection of boards people have done.

    I made this in extremely well seasoned cedar, it has been outside for a couple of years, and then brought in for the last year.

    I have to say that the cedar has been a bit of a bastard to work with. It doesn’t quite do what I’d expect.
    It’s next to impossible to use the cabinet scraper on it, it just behaves like wet pine and drags (and, thinking I’d set the no 80 up wrongly, I reground the edge and tested it on some oak first, good on the oak, terrible on the cedar!).
    It chips out instead of giving clean shoulder lines when doing cross cuts on the table saw. This was seen with having done a knife wall first, of course. I tried it on the opposite side without a knife wall and got no chip out! Weird. It also chips really easily on corners, as I found out when putting a slight round on the edge. However it has sanded beautifully. It’s almost like it behaves like a brittle hard wood, but with some of the properties of a green soft wood.

    Smells wonderful when being worked though.

    I also found that the grain was so strong and wavy that it would pull the blade of my home made router plane down into the grain and lower the setting. I got one smaller tenon that way, but learned quickly from that. I’ll be looking into getting a smaller eye bolt and making it square, rather than just relying on tension from the tightening nut on the eye bolt.

    Had loads of fun doing this and I’m going to enjoy looking at it each time I use it in the kitchen.


    I wouldn’t recommend the no80 on any softwood, as you found out it doesn’t work properly nor does a card scraper, cedar of lebanon planes very well though, does the smell not affect the taste of food chopped on it?

    George Harris

    So far, no taste affected. But it’s only being used for bread. However, it seems to be giving off very little smell at this point and only really gave off scent when being sawed during its prep.


    Nice work on the cutting board, and I love the look of the end grain in those pins!

    I too have found cedar to be a pain to work. I’m chopping a bunch of large mortises in 4×4 cedar for my current project, and you’d think that chopping mortises would be a breeze in such a soft wood but even a newly sharpened mortise chisel just crushes the fibers a lot of the time. I’ve had it tear out easily and in surprising ways when planing, but with the throat set very, very narrow I got much better results. It also seems like it dulls my tool edges faster than cherry or walnut.

    George Harris

    Thanks for the info about your experience with cedar. I wonder what about the material that makes it dull edges and fracture so easily. I’ll have a dig around in my books and see what I can find.

    Larry Geib

    The dulling is due to high silica content. Here’s the wood database entry for Aromatic cedar, but most cedar is high silica content.


    The fracturing is due to different densities of early and late wood, and the low density.

    Keeping tools razor sharp and knife walls or backing on the exit side are key to avoiding lots of cleanup. A shooting board with a fence tight to the plane iron also helps.

    Cedar can be a beautiful shimmering finish ( also partly due to the high silica) but it’s not very forgiving. Burnishing yields better results than scrapers, but you need to start with a surface that has been well planed. It can be done with a steel or wood burnisher, wood shavings, or a Tightly bound corn broom bundle impregnated with beeswax.

    • This reply was modified 3 years, 5 months ago by Larry Geib.
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