A retired educator from St. Joseph creates handmade charcuterie boards from raw wood which she picks out of a local saw mill.
Nancy Gillespie said she spends hours stripping the bark off and sanding the boards down to a smooth finish.
She sells the boards at the Rusty Chandelier in St. Joseph. She has had a booth for many years to sell her products and antiques.
At 73 years old, and struggling with COPD, she looks for hardwood with a good grain. She has found walnut and catalpa wood to be popular.
“I normally don’t mind knot holes or some splits as I fill them with epoxy and think it usually gives them uniqueness and character,” Gillespie said.
She strips off the bark and uses 40 grit and 80 grit sandpaper on the wood. After many hours of sanding, she finishes with a 220 grit sandpaper.
Gillespie said she marks each board with a marker into the shape she wants them. She cuts boards that are under an inch in thickness.
Her longtime friend’s Judy and Chuck Herndon cut boards that are more than an inch in thickness. Chuck cuts them into shape and either a hole is cut into the top of the board or handles are placed on the board.
“An average board takes me around four hours to make from start to finish,” Gillespie said. “Two hours is probably the fastest I have ever made a board. However, some boards could take more than six hours and some have even taken several days to complete. The hardest are the ones with a lot of bark to remove and to fill with epoxy.”
She washes the board in mineral spirits or mild soap and water to help cleanse it. She then sands again.
Gillespie said the final step is the application of food grade board butter which is usually a mixture of mineral oil and beeswax.
Gillespie also makes her own board butter used to treat the boards that is also available for sale at the Rusty Chandelier.
She attaches a care card on each board with instructions on how it should be treated.
Her charcuterie boards normally range between $25 and $80. She also creates some to resemble the shape of the Chiefs Arrowhead Logo.
She said the prime time to purchase the boards will be in February or March since it takes time to create them after the holiday sales.
Gillespie can be reached by text at 816-752-1060 or by email at email@example.com. The Rusty Chandelier can be contacted by phone at 816-676-0662.