Woodworking in Technicolor: Karen Thorp's exotic cutting boards stand out

“They are very vibrant. There’s no trouble telling the colours,” says Karen Thorp of her handmade wooden cutting boards and serving trays.

What is Karen Thorp at? Brightly coloured woodworking is it

Karen Thorp prepares a piece of exotic wood for use in a woodworking project. (Mark Cumby/CBC)

"They are very vibrant. There's no trouble telling the colours," says Karen Thorp of her handmade wooden cutting boards and serving trays.

"I just want it [the colours] to be something that separates me from other woodworkers."

Thorp makes and sells cutting boards, trays, toys and boxes under the banner of Karen's Woodworking.

Thorp incorporates exotic, coloured woods — such as zebrawood from Africa, and Indian and Honduras rosewoods — into everything she makes.

She says she never stains the wood but simply leaves it with its natural colour.  

Lengths of rough lumber 

Thorp orders her exotic woods as lengths of rough lumber.

She planes and sands each piece, then cuts each piece into strips of the size she wants for her projects.  

Then she matches the different types of wood according to the colour combinations that work for each project, and tries not repeat each colour pattern, "unless someone specifically requests it," she says. 

Do you have an interesting weekend project or hobby? Tell us what you are at. Email wam@cbc.ca or tweet @CBCWam.  

You can hear What Are You At? This Is It on Saturdays on Weekend AM from 6 a.m. to 9:30 a.m. (5:30 a.m. to 9 a.m. in Labrador) on CBC Radio One.  

About the Author

Heather Barrett


Heather Barrett is the host and producer of Weekend AM on CBC Radio One in Newfoundland and Labrador.

with files from Mark Cumby