An Atlanta Woodworker
Kitchens need personality and what better way to make your space stand out than with a killer cutting board. Mikhail is a Georgia Tech student with an interesting hobby. He creates beautiful cutting boards and serving platters from natural slabs of wood. When my friend Rania from Hungrily Homemade showed me Mikhail's pieces I was breathless; the thin stripes were an instant show stopper. I had to know how Mikhail began this adventure; here is his story.
Name: Mikhail Khoury Age: 20 Job Title/Position: Mechanical Engineering Student and Self-Taught Woodworker Education: Mechanical Engineering
- This isn’t a typical hobby - how did you get started designing your cutting boards?
I started woodworking only a few months ago. As a member of the Invention Studio, a student-run maker space at Georgia Tech, I have access to a small wood shop. I’ve only just started making these cutting boards. All of my boards so far have been trials, so to speak. I’m still playing with different designs, species of wood, and building methods. So, really, I’m still only getting started designing my cutting boards.
- I saw that you have made tables and cheese boards too. What is your favorite piece to make?
At this point I’m really just experimenting and making whatever comes to mind, so it’s hard to say which piece is my favorite to make! Soon after learning to use a wood lathe, I couldn’t stop making bowls. Then I started designing and crafting these boards. I’ve recently finished building my first side table, and I’m already planning out the next one. But if I had to choose a favorite piece, I would say it’s the carved platters. On a nice day, I’ll gather some chisels, files, sandpaper, and beeswax, go sit outside for a few hours with a raw piece of lumber, and return with a useable platter/cutting board!
- What were your initial goals when you started woodworking? How have they evolved?
I started out making bowls on the lathe a few months ago. Every week I would go and find new pieces of wood, bring them into the studio, and carve them into small bowls, medium bowls, and eventually big bowls! And from bowls I moved onto making cutting boards and tables. Looking back, I can’t say I really had any goals starting out – I just couldn’t stop making bowls on the lathe! Right now I’m focused on developing my style and establishing a woodworking portfolio.
- Where do you find your inspiration?
To tell you the truth, I spend more time looking for wood than for inspiration. Once I find an interesting slab, or an odd shaped cutoff, I start drawing over it until I’m happy with the design. I’m still playing around with different designs, and gradually putting together a collection of pieces and projects.
I do however spend a lot of time searching for blogs, artists, and other woodworkers. I might as well admit I have a huge crush on Ariele Alasko. She makes incredible wooden spoons, boards, and lath panels and tables – I admire her story and all of her work.
- What is your biggest challenge in creating these?
I really can’t say I’ve encountered many challenges yet! I often struggle to settle on a design, and spend hours erasing and drawing a few pencil lines, or sanding the corners of the board. And in retrospect, I’m still never quite satisfied! So I guess my greatest challenge would be finding a style and series of designs I’m happy with.
Unfortunately, Mikhail isn't selling his creations just yet, but he will keep us posted on his future plans. If you can't get enough of these boards comment below and let's convince him to start a shop sooner!