The Wonders of Woodworking

Did you know that some trees secrete a toxin that prevents other plants from growing around them? Or that some wood changes color after it has been exposed to oxygen? Or that you can make a cutting board from scrap wood in just two nights with a little bit of help?

The FLAT hosted a great workshop this winter led by Chris Gutenberg that introduced participants to the basics of woodworking. We learned about different types of trees and the properties of their wood before looking closely at the grain of each piece so we could create our cutting boards. Once they were in the proper order we glued the pieces together and used vice grips to hold the pieces together overnight.

On day 2 the real work began. The edges of the cutting boards were evened out using a saw and they were quickly smoothed out using a belt sander. It takes a LOT of hand sanding to get the cutting board smooth and ready to go but the results are worth it. Once the boards were smooth we used oil and wax to seal the wood for use. The wax transformed each cutting board, revealing its character and the hard work of each participant.

There are so many skills out there that we rarely get to practice or learn. Workshops like the ones hosted by the FLAT this winter are such an important reminder that you can’t learn everything from a book or the internet, and there are many new skills out there for you to try if you just give them a chance. I may not become a master woodworker anytime soon, but at least now I know that I can take some basic steps to create something I’m proud of.

Casey Valencia

FLAT Intern

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