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Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Intermediate Work - Butcher’s Block and Knives

April 21 - 25th 2012

I had been looking on the net for a butcher’s block but, as I am discovering, the scale was a problem.  I can find some nice ones in 1:12 and some tiny ones in 1:24 but nothing in between.  Before I spent money on one that really wasn’t right in terms of scale, I looked into the actual dimensions of this block to see if I could make one.

One day walking with the dog I came across a small block of wood.  Seemed pretty good in size and upon checking it was.  Since I don’t have access to any real wood cutting tools (just a small handsaw) I figured it was fate that I had found this little block of wood.  So, I went to working on the dimensions and sizing.

I squared it off and cut some legs for it and went to work making the bottom shelving.  That I did just cutting some extra scraps of cane and some coffee sticks.  Fitting it and gluing it in place was a breeze actually (more so than spacing it - my hands are not so steady anymore). 

The most difficult part was finding away to simulate the different colored woods in the block.  I had to resort to some colored pencils and very tiny brush detail.  The wood was quite porous still so some areas were not quite as even in coloring as I liked but it’ll do.  I diluted some brown wash and gave it an overall aged look.  Also diluted some gloss varnish as I didn’t want it to be glossy - more matte in finish.

Simple instructions...tiny knives.
The knives I actually took from the house kit which includes lots of handy tips and instructions for some added details for the house.  I used the top of a soup can and transferred the knife forms onto the tin can lid.  Cutting was a bit difficult since I really didn’t have a pair of tin scissors but with a little patience and care, I managed nearly all of them (only the smallest was too small for me to cut).  I used a bamboo skewer for the handles and some regular masking tape to finish the top of the handles (so they wouldn’t slide down thru the knife holder).  The instruction says to paint the blades black with a white line along the cutting edge but when I did that, I really didn’t like it.  So I repainted them in a gun metal grey and glossed them to shine. 

Tiny Knives
 The knife holder was also a simple suggestion in the house kit - just a piece of cardboard cut into strips to make a holder.  Instead of attaching this to a wall, I attached it to the butcher’s block where I think it looks more realistic. 
Cardboard knife holder

I still have in mind to purchase some knives (even if they are larger scale) to be used on the block (like those giant butcher’s knives you see sometimes that chefs have for cutting large pieces of meat) along with some kind of food that will be put on the block for “quartering”. 

Original inspiration for the block
My butcher's block "finished"- 3.7cm x 3.7cm

Considering there was zero monetary investment in this piece, I’m pretty damn pleased.

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