Stumped on what you want to give your mom or your favorite pastry chef for their birthday???
Make this custom round pastry board, and it will pay for itself with all the pastries, apple strudels, pizzas, tortillas you will get back in return for life !!
The round board works well with a large rolling pin used to flatten the dough as the elevated platform gives enough room on the sides for the hands to move. The board shown is 11.5 inches in diameter for two reasons. One, that the rolling pin that went with the board was 14" in length, and the board had to be less than 12" for a free hand movement and secondly the rectangular piece of wood I used to fashion this board from was 11.5" wide..That was the widest piece of solid wood I could get from the neighborhood lumber store for a reasonable cost. I got a 12" long board and I chose Maple wood as it is commonly used for cutting boards. I also got a 10" long cylindrical piece of wood with circular cross-section (1 5/16" diameter) from the same lumber store for the legs.
To make this round board I used the following equipment:
1) Table saw with a slider attachment
2) Epilog laser machine
3) Belt sander
4) Some glue
5) Food grade mineral oil
I built this pastry board at Techshop (www.techshop.ws) as I could find all these equipment in one place, but you could substitute some machines with others as I will explain in the steps below
Step 1: Marking your design and etching the shape for the legs with laser machine
I started with a CAD drawing of what I wanted to make which was a simple design of one large circle of 11.5" diameter with smaller circles of 1-5/16" dia placed uniformly inside as shown in the picture.
I used a software called Draftsight (http://www.3ds.com/products-services/draftsight/) to make the CAD design. Its a free 2D engineering drawing tool that can export to a .dwg file that can be read by corelDraw which is a software that prints to an Epilog laser machine.
After opening a " .dwg" drawing in corelDraw I converted the smaller inner circles as a raster image (just filled the circle with black color) so that the laser can etch them out. The video in this step show the etching process.
You might have to repeat the etching process a few times at maximum power to get a depth of at least 1/8" to 1/4" so that the circular legs can fit into the grove and be glued to form a strong base.
I used a laser as it was readily available for me, but you can substitute this step by drilling a hole with a circular cutting tool bit (I think it is called the "Straight plunge router bit" ) attached to a table-top drilling machine. But you will have to match it to the diameter of the round piece of wood you will use for the legs.
I was going to use the cutting bit, but I realized that the cylindrical piece of wood I bought had a non standard diameter - so could not find a suitable routing bit for it.
Step 2: Cut the circular shape using a table saw with a slider sttachment
In this step you will have to mark the center of the board and drill a very tiny hole (say 1/8" deep) just enough for a small nail or a peg to move in and out of it. Do not drill all the way through or you will ruin your front flat surface.
Then place the sliding attachment on top of a table saw as shown in the picture and hammer in a nail exactly 11-1/2" , from the saw blade, which is the diameter of the round pastry board you want to cut out. Now place the pastry board which is rectangular in shape so that the nail on the sliding attachment fits into the hole you drilled on the pastry board.
This should let you rotate the board on the nail as shown in the video.
The next step is the most critical as it involves cutting the board into a circular shape using a table saw. You must have reasonable experience using a table saw and sliding attachment, for this exercise. Using a table saw comes with inherent risks and I will not bear any responsibility for any damage to life , limb or property so please use it cautiously.
Raise the blade of the saw to a height greater than the thickness of the board but do not turn the saw just yet
This is very important so please pay attention:
Move the sliding accessory away from the saw blade so that the board can freely rotate without touching the blade as in the video. Now orient the pastry board such that one corner (intersection of two edges) of the pastry board faces the saw blade and is in line to be cut by the saw blade.
Now turn the saw ON, and holding the pastry board firmly down with your hands far away from the saw blade move the entire sliding accessory forward. This should cut the corner out smoothly. Now repeat this process for all the 4 corners of the rectangle.
After this, your rectangle should be transformed to an Octagon. with eight corners now. Repeat the steps about on all these 8 corners and continue doing so till you get a reasonable round shape.
DO NOT be tempted to rotate the pastry board while the board is being cut by the table saw as it could damage the board and/or your hand which can get sucked in.
Aside: You can also perform this step using a circular saw or a band saw, but you will have to probably draw a large number of tangents to the large circle manually and cut them out patiently. Using a table saw is faster.
Step 3: Polish your round pastry board
You can now use a belt sander to sand the edges to a perfectly round shape.
You can see that etched grooved on the backside in one of the drawings in this step. This has been etched by the laser.
Step 4: Attach the cylindrical wooden legs to the base
In this step you can now cut the cylindrical piece of you for legs into uniform 1" pieces or however long you want them to be using the table saw and a guide.
Provided you measured them right these pieces should fit snugly into the groves etched by the laser. If it does not you might have to etch further using the laser machine , or you can make fine adjustments using a Dremel tool, by shaving off the inside walls, but chances are that the circular shape will be ruined.
Now clean the inside of the groove thoroughly and apply wood glue liberally, and hammer in the cut out pieces of circular legs with a mallet, to form the base.
Step 5: Personalize the pastry board and finish it with mineral oil
I used the laser machine to etch out the Initials of my favorite pastry chef in a fancy font, but you can etch anything you can think of, like decorative shapes, flowers or even photos of your loved ones onto it.
Just remember to set the power setting on the laser to low so that the laser barely etched the surface. You do not want a deep etch on the surface unless you want all their culinary creations to bear their initials or pictures (I can see how some may want to do that :)
Finish your creation now by applying a food grade mineral oil over the pastry board.