Form and function from a fish.

It’s funny how some familiar image in a person’s life can end up as a woodworking-project design. Every time I go on the road to scout a crafts fair, I run into woodworkers who love to create replicas of such things as shore birds, flowers, cars, trains, planes, boats-you name it. Typically, these images hold a special place in their memories. I found in my own woodworking a similar item that served meaningfully in my recent past.

Of course, for a woodworker to be without a cutting board seems beyond comprehension, but that, I confess, describes my unfortunate condition at that time. Now, since I knew I would need to make one (no self-respecting woodworker would ever buy a cutting board), I sought a design that would work from a practical standpoint, and feature a shape that my visitors might appreciate. My solution? Design and make a cutting board after the lowly salt-water oddity known as the flounder. After all, my mother, my father (now deceased), Phil, and I had spent countless hours together trying to reel in our share of these elusive fish over the last several decades. And yes, enjoying a tasty seafood dinner was, hopefully, the second half of our group flounder-fishing experience.

It might help to explain that a mature flounder (and its West Coast relative, the halibut) has both eyes on one side of its head, something that gives the fish its true charm. As the fish grows, the eye that would otherwise be on the bottom side of the fish migrates to the top side to function more effectively. Nature does look after its own.

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