Wild Woods Cutting Boards
Landscaper Rick Maude of Kansas City has time on his hands from November to May. An avid barbecuer, he wanted a long and narrow board on which to cut a slab of ribs. When he couldn’t find what he was looking for in stores, he made his own. Soon his buddies were clamoring for rib boards.
More recently he has moved into crafting salvaged and reclaimed woods — oak, walnut, hickory, locust, hackberry and more — into distinctive bread, cheese and cutting boards, most with a live edge. “The edge is distinctive and tells you which kind of board it should be,” he says.
If you’re a regular customer at Better Cheddar, chances are you’ve spotted Wild Woods’ stunning boards in a variety of shapes, colors and sizes. They’re also available at Cockrell Mercantile in Lee’s Summit. The company is so new it won’t have a website until December. Maude also takes custom orders at 816-223-8006.
Wood cutting board care tip: If you’ve been cutting on plastic, you might be worried about nicking such beautifully finished woods. Maude says no worries: simply use fine sandpaper on the marks and rub with olive oil. Wild Woods is featured on today’s cover shot ($168). Look for a cheese board ($99) on next week’s Food cover.
Stoneware Pottery by Steve Coburn
Coburn has been making pretty yet utilitarian plates, mixing bowls, soup tureens, casserole dishes and pie plates that are lead-free and oven, dishwasher and microwave safe from his studio in Salina, Kan., since 1982. “My whole line of pots is designed to go in the kitchen,” he says.
His most popular piece is his soup bowl. People sometimes buy just a pair, but after they start using them, they come back for more. Roasted Pumpkin and Pear Soup is shown in a soup mug ($12) and the Cornbread Oyster Dressing is shown in an open casserole ($25). Coburn’s line is priced from $10 to $80. We found him selling his wares at a festival in downtown Overland Park. He also sells his line at Phoenix Gallery in Lawrence and the Kitchen Gallery in Topeka, as well as at stevecoburnpottery.com.
Great Planes Wood Shop
Sometimes Shawn Wilkinson just needs a break from his high-tech job as director of pharmacy informatics (yes, it’s a real word) for Children’s Mercy Hospitals.
When Wilkinson has the time, he takes a “woodworking vacation” and hunkers down in the woodshop he has set up in the garage of his Overland Park home. There he makes a stunning array of items ranging from $18 bar key-style bottle openers to $1,900 custom tables. “It’s truly a small-batch, artisanal kind of thing,” he says of his hobby. He sells his wares under the name Great Planes Wood Shop.
As cooks, we were drawn to his salt boxes ($9) made out of reclaimed red oak with a food-safe “salad bowl finish.” The wood scraps came from Elmwood Reclaimed Timber and the idea was spawned by Food Network star Alton Brown’s fondness for salt cellars.
Wilkinson’s salt box can be swiped open using one finger, great for quick access and messy-handed cooks. The simple brass pin that the lid swings on is the kind of design that is “a joy when you’re opening it, instead of a complicated frustration,” he says.
Wilkinson is mostly self-taught, although he has taken several courses in furniture-making at the Kansas City Art Institute. We found Wilkinson during his first-ever guest-artist show at Good JuJu in the West Bottoms in October. Good JuJu has some of his work; the bottle openers are available at Local Pig. Reach him at greatplaneswoodshop.com.