Butter Board and Spreader Set

butter board and knife intro

This butter board and spreader set provides a great accent to a special meal. From a woodworking perspective, it is easy to crank out a bunch of these in a single day, and the project also provides a great use for scrap wood.

The convenient on-board storage also provides a nice home for the spreader while not in use. The spreader also doubles as a handle that can be used to pass the set around the dinner table. This project is designed for batch production, and you can easily get caught up on your holiday “shopping” in a single day by utilizing each setup to make a bunch of identical parts.

Small projects like this provide a great use for leftover pieces of special wood such as the curly birch used here. For the base I used some small pieces of walnut that I salvaged from my scrap pile.

Let’s build the base first

butter board and knife - leg butter board and knife - top

Note that the leg is extra thick, and projects beyond the tenon, to allow an angled cut being made later.

tenon cut on top

Cut finger joints

I used the band saw extensively on this project, as it provides clean cuts, accuracy, and good safety while dealing with small pieces. Test the fit carefully on scrap pieces so that you get the perfect fit on the finger joints. Once you get each setup dialed in, you can run a bunch of these relatively quickly. Careful setup on the band saw is key here. Take your time at each setup, and do not cut past your lines. Leave the leg pieces long for safe handling until the finger joints are cut and fitted to the top piece.

scroll cut

Remove waste on legs

Use a coping saw or scroll saw to remove waste, cutting carefully to each line. If you can get a good crisp line, then no cleanup will be necessary. If you need to clean up your cut, use a sharp chisel and pare straight down onto a sacrificial backer board.

cut off leg

Cut the legs to length

Set your fence to 1-1/2” to get consistency in leg height.

cut arch on leg

Cut the arch

Using the pattern provided, or a coffee can or other round object, draw an arched line on each leg piece and cut using a scroll saw or coping saw.

glue up base

Glue and clamp the assembly

Put a light coating of glue on all mating parts, and clamp using minimal pressure. Be sure that the components remain square during assembly. Carefully remove glue from within the knife storage slot with a small screw driver and damp cloth.

cut angle on base

Cut tapers

Cut the ends at a 15 degree angle, with the angle tapering in toward the top. Cut the sides to a 10 degree angle, also tapering in at the top.

sand and shape base

Sand all surfaces

Sanding is an important part of shaping the final piece. Round over all edges to give the pieces a curvaceous appearance, to match the spreader.

Turning our attention to the spreader…

The spreader is a simple project, which starts with a two board glue-up, followed by some curvy cuts on the band saw.

knife glue up

Glue up blanks

Cut and glue pieces of contrasting wood as shown in diagram.

knife profile

Click here to download the templates for this project.

Trace horizontal outline

I like to use a white charcoal pencil on the dark wood, and a normal pencil on the light wood, for better visibility during cutting.

Make cuts

Cut out the shape, leaving the line. Next stand the piece up and trace the vertical profile, or just cut it free hand as it is a simple shape. Again, it is important to leave the line so that you can sand to final shape.

sand knife

Sanding

Carefully sand, first with an aggressive grit, such as 80, to define the overall shape. Then progress through grits up to 220, taking time to smooth and round over all edges.

finish

Finishing

Use a food-safe finish such as mineral oil (shown here) or a salad bowl finish to bring your project to a lustrous glow.

Discussion
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55 Responses to “Butter Board and Spreader Set”
    • Paul Mayer

      Hi Joe, thanks for your comment. My intention was to include everything right here in this article that you might need for building this project. Can you describe what additional detail you are looking for? Thanks, Joe.

      Reply
    • Paul Mayer

      Hi Sherman, Thanks for your comment. Is there specific additional information that we can provide, beyond what we have included in this article?

      Reply
    • Paul Mayer

      Thanks, Ramon. Congrats on getting started with woodworking! Post a pick to the WWGOA FaceBook page if you end up building these. Also, please let us know if you have questions as you get started.

      Reply
  1. peter fortin

    I am also just a beginner, i love this simple looking project. the question that i have is this. on the legs the middle cut is 1.5 inches wide , what is the hieght of the middle cut ?

    Reply
    • WWGOA Team

      Great catch, and apologies for the omission. We will update the drawing shortly. The measurement that you are seeking is 7/8″. The attached drawing reflects the update.

      Reply
  2. jsdaut

    I really like this and like others have said the plans would be nice, I realize they are shown but I think a pdf file with the full size drawings of the spreader would be nice just to ensure proper sizing. I think the base can be built based on the info in the article.

    Reply
    • Paul Mayer

      Hi Jsdaut, Thanks for the suggestion. We have created a download with the butter spreader template, and have posted a link at the bottom of the article. Cheers, Paul

      Reply
    • Paul Mayer

      Hi Orven, The butter knife goes in to the opening that appears in the walnut leg pieces, just below the top on each end. You can see the opening in the top photo of the story on the butter board on the left side of the photo.

      To cut the butter knife, simply print out the template provided, use spray adhesive to temporarily attach it to your glued up knife blank, and cut using a bandsaw and a 1/4″ blade. Hope that helps!

      Reply
  3. David

    For those like me who prefer to have a pdf of projects so individual pages can be printed as needed to help build the projects, Apple computers can save a pdf of any web page. Just select “Print” then click on the PDF dropdown in the bottom left of the print dialog and select “Save as PDF” and click OK. Play with the check boxes for “Print backgrounds” and “Print headers and footers” to get content you need and to eliminate what you don’t need.

    I’m sure there is software for Windows that lets you do this but I have no idea what it might be, since I DON’T do Windows these days. It’s built in to the Mac OS by Apple. For any of you who are Windows sufferers who don’t have a way to create pdfs from web pages, have a friend with a Mac create the file for you.

    If you have Adobe Acrobat in addition to Adobe Reader you can also combine pages such as the project web pages and any pdf plans or templates so everything is one file. My pdf of this project with the addition of the spreader template ended up being 13 pages.

    Reply
  4. Tim Bacevic

    I’m a beginner and I’m tring to build this. any bandsaw tips so the cuts turn out right?

    Reply
    • WWGOA Team

      Thanks for the question. Here are a few suggestions to get you through the project:
      – Go slow and don’t feed the stock faster than the bandsaw wants to cut it, or the cut line will wander.- Be sure that you are using sharp blade. The blade used in this story was a super sharp 1/2″ 3TPI Timberwolf blade. You don’t have to use that specific one, but I offer that as a reference for you.- If you are having a hard time cross-cutting to a perfectly straight line, cut just up to the line and pare to the line using a sharp chisel.- On the cut where you tilt the bandsaw table and cut the ends at a 15 degree table, get a good grip on the work piece and make that cut very slowly. That is probably the trickiest cut on the project. If you have a sharp blade and take your time, you should get through it fine. If you’re bandsaw is not working well here you could make this cut on a table saw as well if you have one.
      Good luck, and please send us a picture when you are finished!

      Reply
  5. Delmonique

    Absolutely stunning. I will try this will maple and patouk. I have scraps from my first cutting board. It was rather lumpy so I took it apart. Then I was able to finally purchase a planer and my own table saw. So ready for my new weekend project.

    Reply
  6. colin king

    This would be a really good project for a couple of our guy’s in our Mens Shed.

    Reply
    • Customer Service

      Hi, Jim. The image is embedded into the article for your convenience. You can download it, embed it into MS Word, Powerpoint or a desktop publishing application and size it appropriately using the dimensions that we have included in the file.

      Reply
  7. mixasi

    These are very elegant and nice articles, as many others developed by Paul Mayer. One fault only: the template of this project does not exist on the reference page. Pity.

    Reply
  8. Kale

    I am starting to work unplugged and this butter board and spreader would be a great starter I think.

    Reply
    • Customer Service

      Hi, Pete. You will need to be logged into your membership account in order to access the plans. If you have any further questions, please contact us at 1-855-253-0822.

      Reply
  9. Janete Oliveira

    Great little project! One question: I’m not sure I could figure out the height of the spreader from the diagram.

    Reply
    • Customer Service

      Hi, Janete. Thank you for your feedback on this project. The height of the spreader is 1-1/4″. The illustration near the bottom of the article can be used as a template, and it also provides the dimensions.

      Reply
    • Customer Service

      We would like to let you know that your feedback has been forwarded to the proper department; your comments are important to us and help with the development of our online video streaming community.

      Reply
    • Customer Service

      That is because the sides are cut at a taper, wider at the bottom than at the top, it is purely for aesthetic reasons.

      Reply
    • Customer Service

      Hi, Michael. You will need to be logged into your membership account in order to access the plan. If you have any further questions, please contact us at 1-855-253-0822.

      Reply
  10. tjj321

    How are you cutting the 10 degree taper on the sides? I used my bandsaw with fence but once the first leg passed through the blade, the assembly moved to the left by the 1/8 inch amount which the leg width exceeded the top width. I then tried using the miter gauge, but its distance from the blade made it too difficult to control the cut.

    Reply
  11. Aaron Farmer

    Thanks for the idea and plans! I actually took an idea from your barrel box and incorporated it with the dish! It’s working out great! Ill post it on my Facebook after Christmas.

    Reply
  12. Donna Motherwell

    I’m interested in making this project but the article didn’t show any photos except the initial one and there are no plans that show up. Help!

    Reply
    • Customer Service

      Hi, Donna. You will need to make sure you are logged in as a member in order to access the referenced information.

      Reply
  13. Boston Shilling

    Terrific plans and a really great looking product! I made a batch for Christmas gifts this year and they went over very well!

    I’d like to produce these for sale and would like to discuss licensing. Please email me at ebaykid1978@gmail.com or call me anytime at 540.416.8738

    Thanks so much!
    Boston Shilling

    Reply
  14. Robert

    As has been discussed at great length, why are there no plans with ALL dimensions given? It would be nice to know the thickness and width of the legs. And the thickness of the material for the spreader as well as the thickness of the finished product. I tried downloading the template for this project and the link did not work. Not impressed with the whole experience!

    Reply
    • Customer Service

      Hi Robert. I am sorry, we were having a technical issue with the link for this. You should now be able to access this. Let us know if you are still having problems. We are sorry for any inconvenience.
      Thanks
      Jean
      WWGOA Video Membership

      Reply
  15. Ian Rickard

    What a lovely project for me to start with. I have been inching to do some woodworking and find joy in the creative side of this hobby. Although my skills are low, I feel this is something I can achieve with low cost. The included detail is perfect and sufficient to get the job done. Thanks for this. Have a fabulous week ahead.

    Reply
  16. Allen Michael

    Very well-made and an intricate finish! Totally agree with the use of band saw for this project, especially with the small details needed for it. Thank you for sharing this!

    Reply