Concrete Charcuterie Board with Live Edge Inlay



My full video of the build is below, followed by detailed instructions with tools, materials, and measurements! 

This project is pure experimentation - I wasn't sure how it'd come out.

Spoiler - it was a decent success. It was my second concrete project ever, and it was a step forward in advancing my maker skill set. I guess you could chalk it up to wanting to try mixing resources with the fact that I already had most of the materials on hand.

Quikrete 5000 (~1/5th of a bag) - I also recommend Quikrete Countertop Mix
Melamine (for molding)
Scrap MDF (for Log Planer sled - not necessary if you have a band saw!)
Black Silicone Sealant:
Minwax Fast Drying Spray On Poly:
Paste Wax (Any type)
Mineral Spirits (Any type)
Masking Tape:
Container for Mixing Concrete (Use a big bucket!)

RIDGID 13” Thickness Planer:
RYOBI Circular Saw:
RYOBI Power Drill: with Drill Bits
RYOBI 10 in. Sliding Compound Miter Saw:
RYOBI Miter Saw Stand:
RYOBI Stationary Bench Sander:
RYOBI Glue Gun:
Silcone Caulking Gun
Cake Fondant:
Any tools to vibrate the concrete:
BESSEY Clamps:
Hand Sanding Sponges:
Level (24”):
12” Speed Square:

Canon Rebel EOS T2i:
Main Lens: Canon EF 50mm f/1.8 STM Lens:
Secondary Lens: Canon EF-S 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 IS II Lens:
Studio Lighting Equipment:
Rode Microphone:
Blue Snowball Mic (VO Recording):

I found this old piece of firewood (Alder?) that was many years old and very dry and destined to be burned (Pics 1-2). I couldn't let that happen. Time for a fun live edge project (a first for me).

I used some scrap MDF and some wood screws to work up the simplest sled possible so that I could feed the log through my planer to start flattening (Pics 3-4). This was by no means the most efficient way to do this, but I don't have a band saw to mill lumber so this was my best option. Other options would be to just buy a small live edge slab, use a table saw jig of some type, or use a band saw if you have access to one.

I made many passes through my planer with the log in one position (I'd say 25-30) in Pic 1 to get to a nice clean flat surface in Pic 2. Then, I could flip the log over and over again, making incremental passes (Pic 3) until I was happy with the thickness of the piece, which was roughly half an inch. I wanted both sides to be very clean so I could later pick which side I liked best to be featured. Then I squared up both sides carefully (Pic 4) on the miter saw and was left with a perfect small live edge slab.

I wet and dry sanded down my piece up to 220 grit (Pic 1) and then applied a few coats of fast drying spray on Poly to my log (Pics 2-3) and sanded down to a smooth final surface. This was to water proof the slab so it wouldn't be damaged against the wet concrete. It is food safe once it dries.

Next, I pre-drilled (Pic 4) six holes, then inserted a few small screws (Pic 5), leaving me with a log that had screws in it Pic 6. These screws would serve the purpose of anchoring the log into the concrete so it was secured once the concrete cured.

I had scrap pieces of walnut from a previous build that I wanted to use as the legs (Pic 1). I routed a chamfer on the edge (Pic 2), which wasn't very clean, so I cleaned it up on the belt sander (Pic 3). Easy enough.

I then cut my pieces to length in Pic 4, a length that was based on the overall size of my molding. It is purely subjective to how you do this step. I cleaned up the sides in Pic 5 on the disk sander to create perfectly even lengths, and then applied the same poly sealant like I did to the live edge slab in Pic 6.

I then did the same anchor screw method in Pics 7-8, leaving me with two ready-legs in Pic 9. I think they look pretty cool!

Using the final size of my live edge slab (totally unique to your situation), I then cut a base and four sides for the base out of melamine to fit the slab (Pics 1-2).

Then, using hot glue (Pic 3), I built the molding. You can use screws here if you want to reuse the mold, but i find hot glue to be quicker, just as secure, and I didn't plan to reuse the mold.

Once you build your mold, take paste wax (any brand) and spread it around all of the corners of your mold (Pics 1). Then, using a caulk gun, spread black silicone sealant around all of the edges and corners of your mold (Pic 2). Using a simple cake fondant tool (Pic 3 - link to this product in Step 2), you can run the small circular end over all of your edges leaving you with really nice, rounded edges (Pic 4).

Once the sealant cures after about 30 min, you can go back and peal off all of the excess that it created (Pic 5). You are able to do this very easily due to the paste wax you spread out earlier. Once you've pulled off all the excess, go back with mineral spirits (I had a small amount in a water bottle - Pic 6) and wipe off all excess paste and clean up the mold.

Now you're ready to cast!

I used my Speed Square (Pic 1) to measure 1.25" from the bottom to serve as an indicator of how high I should pour my concrete (again, totally subjective to your own build). I also checked to make sure the ground I was working on was level (Pic 2). It wasn't, so I later shimmed my mold.

Off camera, I also covered the TOP of my slab in painters tape. That way, the concrete couldn't get on the mold incase some got underneath (Pic 3). I also gathered all my materials to cash. I mixed Quikrete 500, water, and stirred up the mix in an hold laundry detergent container (Pics 4-5) and then poured in my mold (Pic 6).

OPTIONAL  Tape down your slab to the bottom of the mold using double sided tape.

TIP 1  Use a large bucket to mix concrete all at once - I had to do this 4 times to fill my mold entirely - and I know for a fact that each pour had different consistencies in the concrete.

TIP 2  If you're looking for a very fine concrete, you should look to get Quikrete Countertop mix or use a sifter to filter out the larger rocks of the mix. I wish I had done this, but it was a learning experience nonetheless.

Once I poured my mold, I shook the mold back and forth quickly to spread things out and used a tool to vibrate the bubbles (Pic 1) - you can use anything you have for this - a sander, a multi tool, etc.

Having checked before that the ground was not level, I knew to shim up my mold 1/8" on one side to keep it level (Pic 2).

I worked up a little contraption in Pic 3 that allowed me to suspend my two legs into the concrete while it cured. Just scrap wood and hot glue - and I was very careful to check that everything was even and square. I had put in a lot of work at this point - no need to mess up now! I checked for evenness in Pic 4.

PRO TIP   Your molding tops might not be level - MINE WERE NOT. You can see in Pic 4 how the right side has two pieces of foam to prop up the contraption. If your molding is not even like mine, your legs will not sit level in the mold and will cure at a slope, So check for this levelness ahead of time.

I let the concrete cure for a full two days.

Once it did, it was rather easy to break apart the mold and pull the casting out of the concrete (Pic 1). I then pealed away the tape eagerly to reveal a very clean live edge top (Pic 2).

I realized after casting that I should have taped off the sides too, but was able to clean up the sides really easily with a chisel in Pic 3. I then used some wet sand paper at 220 grit to sand down all of the surfaces and edges in Pic 4. I took my sweet time with this. The concrete wasn't fully cured, but was perfect for sanding down.

You can see in the close up of the pictures that there were bubbles and other imperfections. Three things would help prevent this:

  • Better bubble vibration to get rid of air pockets
  • Using a finder concrete mix
  • Mixing concrete all at once in a big container

Here are various photos of the final product - both overall and in detail. Many ways to improve, and I intend to do so soon!

As always, thank you for reading! I would be so grateful if you could please subscribe to my Youtube Channel for future projects. I put out videos every few weeks.




Making Ovesized Concrete Hex Nut Succulent Planters


Full video of this amazingly fun and versatile project is below which can be found on my Youtube Channel.


The initial steps for this project can be done based on your access to tools.

There is the true maker method of making your own hex nut to mold which requires a few tools that you might not have, or the more simple (and frankly, cheaper and more accessible) way of just purchasing an oversized hex nut to mold and create castings from. I'll show you how to do both as I did in the above video, and will list out the materials I used as well below:

Oversized Hex Nut (More information on that below)
Scrap Piece 2 x 6 for making your own hex nut
Smooth-On Liquid Rubber for Mold Making + Mixing Bowel
Quikrete 5000 (60lb bag) + WATER
Aquaphor (for greasing molding tray)
Tupperware Container (any size that fits your needs)


Incase you've never drawn a hex nut, the above gif will show you how to make your own using only a compass and straight edge. A fun trick to know!

After you have designed your hex nut from the previous step, do the following:

Clamp your piece to a secured surface and drill a large hole using a forstner bit (Picture 1). I used the biggest Forstner bit I had, which was 2.125", but if you have something smaller, no big deal.

Next, carefully cut away all sides to your piece using your miter saw (Picture 2). Safety is priority here. Secure your piece to make your cuts as best you can and take it slow.

Last up, you can sand down your edges however you like. I used my stationary belt sander to get it more of a smoothed profile (Picture 3), leaving me with a final Hex Nut to cast (Picture 4). Now, I did not actually cast this one, but I am guessing it would be good to coat it in a non stick surface - maybe a Minwax Polycrylic or even just melted candle wax - so that it doesn't stick to the molding material due to the porous nature of wood.

I purchased this Hex Nut from a company called Grainger Industrial Supply. The dimensions are as such:

Height: 1 15/16"
Width: 3.375" (outside boarder)
Center Hole: 2.125"

and it cost me $18 total. Beyond using it for this project, I have used it mostly as a heavy paper weight to hold things down where a clamp doesn't work - it doesn't replace a clamp, but it does work well to a certain extent as it weighs about 3 pounds

For molding, I'm using a product called Smooth-On (Picture 1). It is a two part mixture that you mix at a 1:1 ratio and sets and hardens over about 6-8 hours.

Before molding, I rubbed my surfaces (Picture 2) with Aquaphor, hoping that it would make it easier to remove the molding after it hardened (spoiler - it did, but not as much as I thought).

I wasn't sure how much molding I'd need, so I started off by using half of the mixture in each container (Picture 3) and combining / mixing in a large bowl for 2 minutes (Picture 4).

I placed the hex nut down in the container, then poured my mixture (Picture 5). 
NOTE - I placed the metal hex nut facing UP in the container before pouring the molding; that way, once the mixture covered the nut and I removed it later on, there would be an opening at the bottom of the mold that I could then use to cast the concrete molding upside down, allowing it to have a bottom. More on that later.

I also vibrated the mold once I cast it to remove air bubbles (Picture 6).

Using pressure, finesse, and an X-Acto blade, careful remove the hex nut from the molding (Pictures 1-4).

Picture 5 shows how wonderful the molding came out!

Now, here is where it is important to cast your blank a certain way. Since we casted it facing up, we ended up with a molding that has a bottom to it. In Picture 6, I am using my X-Acto blade to remove about 1/8" of the center piece of the mold. That way, when you pour concrete in, there will be a ~1/8" space where concrete can fill the entirety of the mold in a single layer, creating a bottom to your planter. Without this, it will just be like your original metal blank.

I have never done this before, so this was trial and error. I'm using Quikrete 5000 for this project as it is about $5 for a 60lb back and was recommended from other videos I watched on the process.

In Pictures 1 - 3 I scoop out, add water, and mix the concrete till it has the consistency of pancake batter. Now, this might be trial and error for you. My advice, error on the side of less water. You really don't need as much as you think, and making it too soupy will result in weakened final moldings that break rather easily.

In Pictures 5 - 6, I pour in, push down, and vibrate out as many air bubbles as I can. As you can see in Picture 5, by cutting away that 1/8" layer in the previous step, the concrete will span the entirety of the hex mold shape and create a base layer to serve as the bottom of the molding.

Two things I want to discuss here.

First, in Picture 1, you can see a broken hex nut. This is for two reasons. One, I pulled my molding out way too early (about 12 hours). I recommend waiting (based on experience), at least 24 hours for the concrete to set and cure.

Second, as discussed in the previous step, my mix had too much water, and resulted in a weaker overall final product. I don't believe these would have ever held up regardless of how long I let them cure. To rectify this, I used a piece of chicken wire (you can really use any flexible metal like a paper clip) to create my own mini-rebar (Picture 2).

I then mixed up another batch of concrete, this time using much less water, and cast another mold, pouring about 1/3 of the mixture into the molding, adding the chicken wire (Picture 3), then pouring the rest and doing the whole "vibrate out the air bubbles" method again.

Like I said before, I let this one sit for much longer before trying to remove. About 36 hours to be exact.

Removing these from the molding was a little tricky. My advice, take it slow and hold it up to your ear when doing so. As you squeeze, pull, and flex the mold, you will hear the mold separate itself from the concrete, and slowly it will slip out. Takes about 2 minutes-ish once you get decent at it. Hex nut fresh from the molding is in Picture 1.

The bottoms / bottom corners were a bit rough, so I used some sand paper to hand sand down these edges (Picture 2) to give everything as clean of surfaces as I can. Concrete actually sands away pretty well. You can also use a stationary belt sander to do this if you fancy speeding it up - but I found it can be a little aggressive if you're not careful!

These work awesome as succulent holders, candle moldings (I did my first wax melting / custom candle making session), cool little book-ends, and probably 100 other neat things I haven't considered yet!

TOOLS For Making Your Own Hex Nut (If you have the tools...)
RYOBI Power Drill
RYOBI 10 in. Sliding Compound Miter Saw
RYOBI Miter Saw Stand
BESSEY Economy 2.5” x 12” Clutch Clamps
RYOBI Stationary Bench Sander
Forstner Bit (2.125”)

TOOLS for Molding / Finishing (Needed regardless)
Any tool that can vibrate (I used my RYOBI Multi-Tool)
X-Acto Blade (for trimming mold)
Cup / Mixing Apparatus for Concrete
Hand Sanding Sponges  

Canon Rebel EOS T2i
Canon EF-S 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 IS II Lens
Studio Lighting Equipment
H4N Zoom (VO Recording)

As always, thank you for reading! I would be so grateful if you could please subscribe to my Youtube Channel for future projects.

I put out videos every few weeks.