Breadboard / Chopping Board

Hi,
With Xmas fast approaching, I want to make some breadboards to give to the family to show what I can do with a few tools. What I intend doing is gettinga piece of wood which is square / rectangle and rout round the enged leaving a "channel".
Now I've got 2 questions.. 1) Which type of router bit do I use? 2) How can I waterproof the board (if it needs doing) because allthough they're called "breadboards" you can cut meat etc. on them and I thought the wood might stain.. If I used normal varnish to seal the wood, it would probably be poisonous.
Please reply,
SB
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SB asks:

You are going to "get a piece of wood" in what manner?
There is a little more to making a cutting board than routing a groove around the edge. Breadboards and cutting boards are different. Breadboards seldom need a blood groove, which is what those grooves are. And breadboards are probably best left for bread.

Cove.
It doesn't need a finish as such. Most normal varnishes are not poisonous after they dry, incidentally, though I don't think they'll become flavoring of the month for Coke or Pepsi. My wife is still using the cutting board I made for her some 15 years ago, and it has never had any kind of finish applied. Simply cherry and maple strips glued together and smoothed with a lightly relieved edge.
Charlie Self "It is inaccurate to say that I hate everything. I am strongly in favor of common sense, common honesty, and common decency. This makes me forever ineligible for public office." H. L. Mencken
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Make that piece of wood one which has small pores and no smell for best results. Splintery woods are a bad choice as well. You rout with a core box bit, not a cove, and the primary reason is to distinguish the board used for food to be cooked from the one you use for bread or salad.
Best finish is nothing. Second best a curing oil or resin thinned so it is not a surface finish, but helps keep bacteria from hiding from the detergent or bleach you use to wipe the board. The one thing people are going to suggest in droves - mineral oil - doesn't cure, and so becomes a swiffer and a shelter for bacteria while the oil's present, and a bare board when the detergent finally gets the oil and its lipid-loving passengers fully emulsified. Of course, everyone will recommend periodic re-oiling.

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Charlie, You don't say whether the board you describe is used for meat or bread. BTW we use the ones with the "blood" groove for both but they get washed with the rest of the dishes after being used with meat.
bob g.

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Robert Galloway notes:

Meat. And it gets wiped down with a soapy cloth, wiped twice with a damp cloth, and dried, not washed with the dishes. I made that thing on the spur of the moment to add a project to a book, and used regular Titebond. It's still holding fine.
Charlie Self "It is inaccurate to say that I hate everything. I am strongly in favor of common sense, common honesty, and common decency. This makes me forever ineligible for public office." H. L. Mencken
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Ditto that. Titebond will hold a meat cutting board together forever unless you leave it soaking in the sink or similar.
bob g.
Charlie Self wrote:

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Sam - that's a COVE bit to make the channel. See http://www.routerbits.com/cgi-routerbits/sr.cgi?1100354234_1866+24

Not sure varnish is poisionous -- after it cures. But you want something that will seal the wood up tight and take a beating. Try looking at something called a "Salad Bowl Finish" of you really want something food save.
Do a Google search on those words and read what a lot of other folks have written about the topic.
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patrick conroy wrote:

<snip>
It would be easier to rout a groove using one of these: http://www.routerbits.com/cgi-routerbits/sr.cgi?1100355133_4927+17
R, Tom Q.
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Behlen's salad bowl finish is a tung-oil varnish.
Tyke, take a look at one show of The Router Workshop and you'll see how easily templates for blood grooves can be done, as long as you're using a collar.

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As the others have stated breadboard implies cutting bread/dry items. These have simple rounding on the edges and no groove.
A board intended for cutting meat typically has a blood groove. This is routed with a roundnose (core box) bit which as the name implies has a rounded profile and no bearing on the bottom. The router will need a template to follow which will be much smaller than the board. This takes some calculation to get the appropriate diameter of the corners of the template since the radius needs to be smaller than the board. The difference depends on the distance from the template to the bit. Too complex to attempt to explain in a message. I tried this once and really messed up the board. I ended up abandoning the groove.
Depending on your desired board size you may not find a single piece of wood. Many people make these from strips of wood to make them more stable over time. This is my preference and allows me to make a board of the depth desired by the wife.
I personally finish mine with salad bowl oil. This is a personal preference. A board from good dense wood such as maple, will technically not need oiling. I like the finish and the way water to rinse the board rinses off.
I personally make my bread boards with "bread board" ends which is a piece of wood glued across the strips at the end. I mortice the bread board end and cut a blind mortise on the board ends.
Dave Paine.

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wrote:

Actually you have 3....

Whichever one you like. When you get your cheap set of a dozen different bits (you're going to want one of these anyway), then take some scrap and try routing with each of them. See what shape they generate. Try moving the bit up and down relative to the edge, and see how the shape changes.
If it's a big board, then you might use a cove bit to rout a round-bottomed groove just in from the edge. This works best if you rounded off the corners of the board before doing it, as it's hard to put a sharp corner into a groove like this. Although it's called a "blood groove", it's also useful as a hand grip on a big heavy board.
For the outside edge itself, then you'll probably use a big roundover bit, maybe from both sides. Big and little radii on top and bottom edges can work well. You might even use a more complex moulding, if you have a big enough router cutter.

Yes, it's important. Incidentally, this is probably the _most_ asked question on this ng. Use a light non-drying oil such as walnut or grapeseed oil (good salad oils, you might have them in the kitchen). You should then re-oil the boards "Once a day for a week, once a week for a month, once a month for a year, then quarterly".
You might use sunflower oil. Many people do. Bit sticky, IMHO, but it does work.
Don't use olive oil, as it goes "off" and rancid.
Some people use "mineral oil", which you can get from a (UK) chemist as "liquid paraffin". I don't do this, simply because I don't keep any in the kitchen.
Don't use linseed oil. Tastes horrible.
Don't use commercial "finishing oil" These are "drying" oils, that are intended to form a skin of cured oil. Now IMHO, this doesn;t work too well on wooden kitchenware that gets washed regularly. There are also concerns over their healthiness, but modern recipes are usually food-safe check the tin). This is however a good finishing oil to have a tin of in the workshop - try Liberon's (from Axminster).
3)
Now the hard one - how to make a breadboard.
You might like to make a chopping board the _wrong_ way too. You'll learn something about wood this way. Just take a flat-sawn board and use it. Watch what happens as it gets washed and dried a few times - see how the timber warps, so that the growth rings tend to straighten out. That's wood movement, and it's going to be a nuisance to you for a long time to come !
If you make a breadboard from a single flat board, then it needs to be a good grade of timber or else you will get a lot of trouble with this warping. Mainly it needs to have been cut from near the centre of a large trunk (or else "quartersawn", but we won't talk about that just now). If the rings are very curved, as from a small trunk, then you get more warping.
So for a simple "single plank" breadboard, you have to rely on the tree staying stable. You can do this, but only with the right timber. You'll need to be buying a short piece of wide beech (maybe maple if you can find it) or a tropical. Ash is OK if you seal the pores well, oak tends to stain when washing. This sort of board _might_ show up in the offcuts of a good timber merchant, A "cheat" is to go into Poundstretcher and buy a ready-made breadboard or tray, made from strips of glued-together rubberwood ! This is blatant cheating, but don't knock it - it's real timber, not MDF, it's wide and stays reasonably flat, and it's cheaper than buying wide boards from a real merchant.
The way to make a big breadboard and keep it flat is with "breadboard ends". You make the breadboard from several thin strips (so they can't all warp as far in total) and there's a strip of timber running across the ends. Web searching should explain more, and pictures. It's a tricky bit of joinery though, to just make a mere breadboard. You'll know the difference (and it will improve your skills) but the recipients won't. If you can get access to a table saw, then do it, but it's not really a router job.
Personally I'd suggest you make some fairly smallish circular breadboards first. These will help to hide any warping that does goes on. Make them from a good timber, like beech, or even the recycled rubberwood.
When you've got it to shape, there's a _lot_ of sanding needed. Get yourself some glasspaper in various grades (80, 120, 180 should do) and a cork block to wrap it round. You can use any sort of block if you need to, but don't use glasspaper with bare fingers to sand a flat surface.
BTW - Whereabouts in the UK are you ? What's it like for getting timber ?
--
Smert' spamionam

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Can't agree with this. I've used a tung/varnish mix on cutting boards for about fifteen years. They don't smell, don't flavor the food and need renewing only when the cutting has resulted is a "fuzzy" surface on the board. I sand a little and recoat, wiping off all the excess after a few minutes. Dries to a surface that doesn't soak up the blood or juice or dish water. Have yet to find the downside and doesn't involve any day, week, month, year, quarter algorithm.
bob g.

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On Sat, 13 Nov 2004 19:29:45 -0600, Robert Galloway

That's a different finish though. I'm talking about an oil finish on a cutting board, you're putting a surface film onto it. Now that's a fine sort of finish to use, and a good way to produce it, but IMHE, any finish that sits on the surface of a wooden kitchen implement is going to get scraped off pretty easily. Once it's scraped, it look untidy and the timber is bare beneath. Now I know an oil finish won;t last for ever either, but it's removed gradually by washing, not penetrated totally in spots.
BTW - Do you wash by hand or dishwasher ? I can imagine a surface finish lasting on a salad bowl that's washed by hand much more than a chopping board thats regularly scrubbed in boiling hot water.
--
Smert' spamionam

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I route the juice groove in the cutting boards with a Whiteside #1374 bit. Darned if I remember anymore what they called the thing. I have a few hardboard templates I attach to the cutting board with double stick tape and let a collar on the router follow it. I finish the cutting boards with tung/varnish combo. No surface build, just what will soak into the wood. Some folks use mineral oil but it has to be renewed fairly frequently, the tung only every few years.
bob g.
SB wrote:

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wrote:

Use mineral oil. You can get the oil at a corner drug store. Apply until it doesn't soak up any more. Touch up with more about once a year, if needed.
Thunder

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