1. I have some chunks of cherry cut from a friend’s tree. They are about 2 inches or a bit less thick cut with a chain saw 2 years ago. how would you prep those? I have been learning to use the planes flattening one of them for use as a thick chopping board but if I want it thinner what would you suggest I do? I have one with a crack down the middle where the pith is, so I want to cut that out and that leaves me with 2 nice small chunks of cherry about 13 inches by 7 inches and 2 inches thick very rough cut surface cut. Thanks. love your instagram tips….

    1. Hi Dorothy,

      Paul says:
      Two years is the minimum amount of time for drying but cutting boards do not need to be dried down to the same levels as furniture so it will most likely be ready to use now.
      The pithy section, i.e. the centre of the tree, should not be used as this area is likely to cause problems associated with instability. You can saw cut the 2” into 1” also to end up with two sections say ¾” to ⅞” thick.


  2. Also walnut oil is a nice finish that reportedly will not go rancid. You can get it through Woodcraft, among others probably. I enjoy using it. Also a combo of beeswax and mineral oil (~1:4 ratio); you have to heat the oil gently to dissolve the wax. Makes a nice paste if you get the portion right. Since it is a bit of trouble, I have defaulted to Clapham’s Salad Bowl finish or the Walnut oil.

    1. What a nice little project, and great for kids.

      I use walnut oil, flaxseed oil (foodsafe linseed oil) or tung oil. These are hardening oils, meaning they polymerize into the wood and provide a more durable and attractive surface finish. Most importantly, is that these will not go rancid or wash off, and can be refreshed easily.

      I wouldn’t use any other type of oil.

  3. Dorothy, hand planes will be fine for this. Also, don’t be afraid to sometimes leave the chainsaw marks in. I made some tealight holders a couple of years ago from some similarly hewn bits. One piece had some very deep saw marks. I planed a lot of the billet clean, and the saw marks that were left became a feature, an added texture if you like, that a lot of people commented on as interesting. (I personally was reminded of Superman’s fortress of solitude, but that was just me 🙂 ) You could use that on the uprights for example, then your set will be truly and completely unique.

  4. I’m fairly confident you’ll be a long long time in the cold cold earth before that veg oil goes rancid… also you’ll be cleaning the boards and re-oiling as you go. So, in my decidedly amateur opinion, just use any old neutral flavourless cooking oil.

  5. I would suggest using curing vegetable oils like linseed oil or walnut oil (though there just may or may not be allergy considerations), but hemp, soy, sunflower, grape seed, sesame and thistle oils should also work. They don’t go rancid as they polymerize over time.

    Mineral oil will stay liquid and wash out more quickly, I think. All oils need to be reapplied to provide continuous protection.

  6. Hi Mr. Paul,
    I completely agree with you, mesquite is my favorite wood too. I use it for about all of my projects. I was just wondering if you have ever worked with green mesquite?
    Thanks for the awesome mesquite video,

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