I love a charcuterie board. The endless combinations: brie and prosciutto, goat cheese on a slice of fresh baguette or cheddar and apple — the best! So when local craftsmen, Nick Allinson, reaches out and asks if I want to make my very own board with him from scratch. A beautiful board on which I can serve a delicious array of cured meats and mouthwatering cheeses I can’t resist the opportunity!
I am greeted by a warm and smiling Nick on a chilly Saturday morning in his new workshop filled with big equipment and giant slabs of wood. While having the classic Kingston conversation of “Which high school did you go to?” and “How long have you been back home?” we pick out the wood I am going to use for my board (butternut), begin cutting and sanding. Nick hops from one machine to another with ease.
Nick, a graduate of the Ontario College of Art Design where he studied sculpture design, has clearly found his niche with his latest venture. Having a passion for any hands on project from pottery to painting, making pieces like charcuterie boards and tables comes natural to him.
It’s only been since the spring that he made a board for a family friend and special requests came flying in. Now, you can find his work in the new Kingston Collective shop and he’s had to upgrade his space to accommodate the volume of orders he’s accepting.
What makes Nick’s work so unique is he tries to sustain as much of the natural look of the wood as possible leaving a “live edge” on his pieces.
He handpicks locally sourced woods like maple, maple walnut and butternut — anything grown in Ontario — and considers the pattern of the grain and how his potential pieces will look while selecting his slabs.
My morning with Nick I learn so much about the process of woodworking– I will never look at another board the same. While admiring a maple slab he explains how the holes in the wood are from the tree being tapped for syrup and the dark stains are from the sugar dripping through the tree. Who knew? Not me!
Check out the images below to see a piece being made from start to finish. My finished product retails for around $150. His handcrafted pieces are great for any host or hostess who likes to serve with style. He also does an array of other items! Visit Nick’s website, or the Kingston Collective shop to see more of his work.