For the fourth assignment, we were instructed to create something that could be used for thanksgiving. It would have to be made out of wood and I would have to be able to make it in the wood shop.
In class, we went through a brainstorming session. During that, we were supposed to think of as many ideas as I could. While I didn't nearly get to the number of ideas I should have had, the process definitely made me think up a lot of ideas and it was helpful to be in a group, as I learned from what others came up with as well.
Some of the rough ideas I came up with were (from the initial class brainstorming process and from afterwards at home): Mixing bowl with divider? Deviled egg holder? Utensil holder? Bowl with spoon holder? Cutting board with measuring grooves? Ladle that hooks into bowl? Cutting board with food scrap holder? Mixing bowl with spray preventer? Salad bowl with a fork holder? A glass with two compartments? A cheese board with a detachable serving plate? A cutting board that was shaped into the shape of Minnesota?
After these initial ideas, I decided to elaborate on three ideas and create sketches.
My next step was to create some very simple prototypes of my ideas. To visualize my cutting board idea, I used the foam core I got from Barry and cut out a part in the dimensions I thought I should make my cutting board as. While I didn't completely cutout the food scrap holder like I envisioned the final product would have, I was still able to see how big it was and if it seemed feasible.
After making the prototype, I thought that the original cutting board dimensions were too small. Also, while I was going to have a relatively thin part for the actual cutting board, I wasn't sure if it would be sturdy enough to withstand heavy cutting.
Another prototype that I made was a ladle that would hook onto the bowl. This was hard to do because I didn't have much time to go to the wood shop and create a prototype with the foam and hot wire. Instead, I decided to just create a simple outline to see how big it should be to fit onto a bowl.
One thing that I realized was that it would be really hard to create the ladle so that it would balance on the bowl perfectly. Another was that even if it did balance on the bowl, it would still probably dip in to the sauce and get sauce on the handle, which I wanted to avoid.
I also tried a cheese plate that could have a detachable serving plate on it. I created a cheese plate out of cardboard and a nook in it where I placed a plate.
After I did my brainstorming and testing, I went into the wood shop to ask for advice. The lab assistants were very helpful and gave me great advice! At this point, I decided that I wanted to make some sort of cutting board. When I gave them my first idea for that, they advised me against using a thin board, as it wouldn't last long with the pressure from cutting. Instead, they told me to use a thick board and they even provided me with some extra wood they had that they said would work perfectly! They also told me that the best way I could create a well for the food scraps was to use the CNC router. All I had to do was create a file in illustrator or Auto CAD and they could help me create the overall shapes I wanted.
Encouraged with their help, I then set off to create a file in illustrator of my cutting board. Originally, I was going to design my cutting board as a rectangle because I have limited wood shop skills and I didn't think I could do much more than a rectangle. But since I was now using the router, I decided that an oval would be more interesting. I wanted to also combine a few of my ideas and decided that for my final product, my cutting board would incorporate a juice well around the border, a food scrap holder, and a measurement line.
These next few photos show how my illustrator file translated into a cutting board!
After I took it out of the router, it looked great but I still needed to fine tune it. I took off the extra wood with the table saw and the band saw, sanded it down many many times with about four different sanders, and also sanded it with sandpaper to get the details right.
While I was intending the measurement line in the middle to be a fine line, it ended being thicker than I wanted, making it look kind of like laces. I realized my cutting board looked like a football and decided it was going to be multi-functional. Not only could I use the board as a cutting board, I could use it as a serving platter, which would be perfect for the day after Thanksgiving, when many football games would be on TV. The food scrap holder could be for a dip while cheese and crackers could rest on the board.
To finish the product, I wiped it with mineral oil once a day for four days. This really made the wood stand out and you could see the grain better, making it have a natural look and feel.
The finished product. The components included: A juice well to catch the juices from cutting to prevent liquids from spilling. A measurement line down the middle for people who wanted to be exact (inch and half-inch markings). And finally, a well that could be used for food scraps, finished cuttings, or dip.