Home Hardware

Wood Serving Block

Presentation is everything, and creating your own one-of-a-kind serving block will take the cake this holiday season.

Wood Serving Block Wood Serving Block
By Rob Brown

Presentation is everything, and creating your own one-of-a-kind serving block will take the cake this holiday season. Make a series of blocks in various shapes and sizes for entertaining family and friends at home, or as gifts for your favourite hosts. Carve, burn, or stencil a design or monogram for extra personal appeal. There's no limit on the creative possibilities to serve up some love!

Helpful Tips
  • Practice on some scrap softwood before reaching for the more expensive, denser species.
  • Feel free to adjust the shape of the block to suit your preference and the piece of wood you're using.

What You'll Need
Tools

Materials
  • hardwood blank
  • food-safe finish 4548-181


Here's How

  • Dress the workpiece down to about 1" thick. Smaller serving blocks can be made from thinner materials.
  • Draw the outline of the block on the workpiece. Use a combination of flexible curves, round objects, and freehand sketching.
  • Set the angle of your band saw or scroll saw table to 
15 degrees and cut the shape, making sure to cut on the proper side of the line.
  • Use a block plane, rasp file, and sanding block to fair and smooth the freshly cut outer edge.
  • When complete, the lower portion of the angled edge should have a slight radius on it and be smooth enough to apply a finish.
  • Sand the top and bottom surfaces of the block, and break the sharp edges.
  • Lay out the carved design by using a scribe compass to draw an arc near one end. Next, use a straightedge to draw guidelines radiating from the centre point of the arc, but only beyond the arc.
  • Use a V-gouge to carve the straight and rounded grooves. Another option is to use an awl to create a series of small holes or a knife to inscribe a series of shallow cuts. These grooves or holes are only for decoration, so feel free to experiment on some scrap.
  • One final light sanding will remove any pencil marks from the wood.
  • Apply a food-safe finish. Build coats until you're satisfied.
  • Reapply finish when necessary.
Lots of Options
Each serving block can be a different shape. Use a combination of flexible curves, round objects, and freehand sketching to achieve a pleasing shape.
Serving Block How-To
Angled Edge
The overall shape of the serving block can be cut with either a scroll saw or band saw. Tilt the table to 15 degrees and cut out the block shape.
Fair, Smooth Edges
A block plane will help fair the straighter edge sections, while the rasp file and sander will assist with the curved portions. A smooth, even feel is what you're after.
Lighten the Look
With the edge smooth you can add a slight round to it with some hand tools. Removing more material near the bottom of the serving block gives it a nicer, lighter look.
Add a Focal Point
After laying out the design, use a tool to add an aesthetically pleasing design to a portion of the surface. This is strictly for looks so experiment with different tools, techniques, and shapes.
Food Safe Finish
Food will come in contact with the finish so you need to ensure it is food safe. Experiment with scrap because the finish will have a different look on different wood.














Rob Brown designs and builds custom furniture and is editor of Canadian Woodworking and Home Improvement magazine.
www.canadianwoodworking.com

Canadian Woodworking & Home Improvement