Ebony Cheese Knives or Dip Spreaders

Once we made the first board, we started talking about cheese knives. Marlo had two old pieces of ebony. They were actually decorative carved heads that had seen better days. They were a great length for a long cheese knife so we each set about turning one. Marlo used his metal lathe and I used my wood one to turn the handles, then we used our belt sanders to make the blades. It turns out that the woods were not the same. You can see how much darker his is. But oh my! Once buffed out, they look like they have a varnish on them.

ebony cheese knives

We then bought a small set of ebony pen blanks and I turned the handles on the wood lathe. I did a few blades and Marlo did a few. He has made quite a few metal knives over the years so has more experience making blades for sure. But what a trip. I love making functional art and it’s fun to stretch your comfort zones a bit.

ebony cheese knives and dip spreaders

ebony cheese knife

These are the first items up on our Etsy shop.

Cheese Boards from Cherry

I have never done any wood carving before but Marlo got the idea to make a couple of cheeseboards from some cherry wood he had.  Wow!  The finished products are gorgeous and I got a good upper arm workout in the deal. Ha. Seriously, swinging a heavy wood mallet over and over is a good workout!

Wood carving is so very different than wood turning.  When I turn, the wood is flying off in showers of sawdust and all I see is the whole piece. It’s a grand vision and a wonderful thing but very different than carving.  When you carve, each strike of the mallet takes off a flake of wood, individual. And there are lots of strikes!  (As an aside, the shavings make great kindling for fires. We were doing this when it was cold enough to want a nice fire every night.)

In both cases, you take away what you don’t want, unlike other crafts where you add what you do want. That took some getting used to when I was first turning. You’re not building something–you’re reducing it.


I was also amazed at how smooth the wood is without sanding. Each stroke left a smooth surface behind. I can get fairly smooth with turning but not to the level of carving. Maybe that says something about my skill level. I’m definitely a novice turner.

You can see more of the boards here.