butcher’s block designed and crafted by Jeff Matthews.
Jeff Matthews was making a good living when he founded his company, Old World Molding Co., in 1996. After retiring from the aerospace industry, he moved from Texas to North Carolina where he produced high-end wood molding and trim for some of Lake Norman’s more expensive homes, Mooresville Tribune reports.
Then the economy along with the housing market fell, and Matthews was hit hard.
“The collapse was really tough on my business,” said Matthews.
He had then turned his woodworking talents to crafting kitchen cutting boards as a hobby.
“Things turned around when my old friend, Bryan Dilberto (of Pro Chef), saw my cutting boards and got me into business with Harris Teeter a year and a half ago,” Matthews said.
He has been making cutting boards on the side for 30 years, and said they are rapidly gaining popularity. Harris Teeter is now one of Matthews’ biggest customers, along with the Ritz Carlton hotel chain. His customers have ranged from NASCAR drivers to pro chefs to TV cooking host Guy Fieri.
Matthews says he uses only wood from Associated Hardwoods in Granite Falls. He said he uses maple and sapele, an African wood. The cutting board is cut by machine, but finished by hand. He said he uses food-safe, water-resistant adhesive that makes for strong, stable, and tight joints.
“It’s not like any other board out there,” he said.
After being shaped by the cutter, each board is sanded for smoothness. Then an all-natural oil featuring pure bees wax is applied to seal the wood.
“The boards are really durable and if you take care of yours, it will last forever,” Matthews said. “In fact, I have a friend who is still using their board from about 20 years ago. Just wipe it off with soap and water or white vinegar, making sure to never put it in the dishwasher and re-oil the board to protect it.”
Matthews said he is still open to custom woodwork and will “try anything new.”
“Hopefully in the future, I will keep gaining the business of Ritz Carlton and keep getting to do what I enjoy,” he said. “It’s just me making the boards, so I don’t want to grow too much, but I hope to keep steady and remain top quality.”
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