Cutting and Serving Boards

My most recent project was to make a variety of cutting and serving boards out of black walnut, oak, and cedar. Some of these boards are charred with a blow torch in an attempt at the Japanese Shou Sugi Ban style of cedar wood charring which I also performed on oak and walnut. The charring makes the wood UV, weather, rot, and bug resistant and makes for a unique look and interesting creation process.

Two of these boards have runic inscriptions of Gnomic/Wisdom sayings from Hávamál in the Old Norse Poetic Edda. The chosen verses for these boards deal with friendship and hospitality which I thought was most fitting for something which can be used for entertaining.

The axe/cleaver styled board has a verse which translates:

34.  It’s a great detour to a bad friend’s house,

even though he lives on the route;

but to a good friend’s the way lies straight,

even though he lives far off. 

Afhvart mikit er til ills vinar

þótt á brautu búi

en til góðs vinar liggja gagnvegir

þótt hann sé firr farinn.

ᚨᚠᚺᚹᚨᚱᛏ ᛗᛁᚲᛁᛏ ᛖᚱ ᛏᛁᛚ ᛁᛚᛚᛊ ᛁᚾᚨᚱ ᚦᛟᛏᛏ ᚨ ᛒᚱᚨᚢᛏᚢ ᛒᚢᛁ ᛖᚾ ᛏᛁᛚ ᚷᛟᚦᛊ ᚹᛁᚾᚨᚱ ᛚᛁᚷᚷᛃᚨ ᚷᚨᚷᚾᛖᚷᛁᚱ ᚦᛟᛏᛏ ᚺᚨᚾᚾ ᛊᛖ ᚠᛁᚱᚱ ᚠᚨᚱᛁᚾᚾ

The more board shaped example has the inscription:

47.  I was young once, I traveled alone,

then I found myself going astray; 

rich I thought myself when I met someone else,

for man is the joy of man.

Ungr var ek fórðum fór ek einn saman

þá varð ek villr vega

auðigr þóttumsk er ek annan fann

maðr er manns gaman.

ᚢᚾᚷᚱ ᚨᚱ ᛖᚲ ᚠᛟᚱᚦᚢᛗ ᚠᛟᚱ ᛖᚲ ᛖᛁᚾᚾ ᛊᚨᛗᚨᚾ ᚦᚨ ᚹᚨᚱᚦ ᛖᚲ ᚹᛁᛚᛚᚱ ᚹᛖᚷᚨ ᚨᚢᚦᛁᚷᚱ ᚦᛟᛏᛏᚢᛗᛊᚲ ᛖᚱ ᛖᚲ ᚨᚾᚾᚨᚾ ᚠᚨᚾᚾ ᛗᚨᚦᚱ ᛖᚱ ᛗᚨᚾᚾᛊ ᚷᚨᛗᚨᚾ

The English translations are from The Poetic Edda: A New Translation by Carolyne Larrington. Oxford University Press. 1996

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