Flag Cutting Board

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Tackle the curves with a pair of shop-made templates.

By Scott Grove

I like straight seams as much as the next woodworker, but I’d rather play with organic shapes. However, getting curvy seams to fit together demands special consideration. Sometimes a joint can be squeezed into submission, but as curves become tighter, or change direction, the matching parts must be cut to fit perfectly. 

After many trials and errors, I came up with a simple system that makes curved joinery easy to master. I designed this patriotic maple and cherry cutting board in order to teach my woodworking students how I handle curved seams on my more complex, one-of-a-kind creations. 

The trick is creating a pair of complementary templates that set the bit to either side of the cut line, for perfectly aligned seams. Various bit/bushing combinations will work, but to simplify things and obtain the smoothest possible cut, I prefer using a 1/2"-straight bit and 1-1/2" O.D. template guide. You can make your own 1-1/2" O.D. bushing to fit a 1" O.D. template guide (see OnlineExtras), or purchase a ready-made guide (see the Buyer’s Guide on p. 70). 

As you’ll see, the stripes don’t need to be straight-laced. You can play around with their width to create a billowing effect. And after completing the board, you’ll get a chance to combine epoxy and mother-of-pearl to create an eye-catching inlay. (See the “Sparkling Star Inlay,” on p. 53.)

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