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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4 Responses to “Butter Board and Spreader Set”
  1. Gale Carlock

    Just a so so woodworker working with old pallet wood. Would this be a project for a wana be?

    Reply
  2. Sean

    photograph 6 seems to be a duplication of photograph 5 (use of a coping saw to hand cut the curve on the boards legs) and it doesn’t correspond to the caption below it.

    Reply
  3. Leon

    For the spreader you give length and width but how thick is final product

    Reply