I talked last time about hating to buy something I could make myself, opining that I could probably do a better job. I had no idea.
I needed an end-grain cutting board for a close-up photo, and with no time to make one myself bought one on Amazon. It was really and truly a piece of garbage. To begin with, a 2" length of one of the glue joints was open in the center. The routing of the “juice groove” had numerous burn marks. Some of the wood pieces had serious gouges and chip-outs that would have (if I had actually used this thing as a cutting board) readily filled with food debris. The surface wasn’t level; the joints were like little steps.
For my photos I used the non-routed side, so that wasn’t an issue, and since the wood needed to be raw I had to sand it down anyway. I was amazed at how little effort it took to level the surface – they couldn’t have spared the extra two minutes?
My sanding corrected the unlevel surface joints, and the photos were tight and close enough that the overall junkiness of the thing wasn’t apparent. That open glue joint? My friend Mr. Photoshop fixed that. In the end, the stupid thing worked out perfectly for my photos.
Because of that, I’ve decided to consider this cutting board nothing more than a cheap photo prop. I often have to buy things to use a single time for photos (one of my book publishers even gives me a budget for such things), which are then relegated to my scrap bin for repurposing at a later date. Or simply disposed of.
As long as I look at this thing in that light, I’m OK with it. I don’t feel nearly so bad about having bought a “woodworking object,” because I didn’t. I bought a cheap, use-it-and-toss-it prop.
There, I feel much better now.