MEET THE MAKER: Lee Hinge, Shorebreak Designs

1984

It all started with wanting to make a handmade cutting board as a Christmas gift for his girlfriend. “I had taken woodshop in high school, and a friend of mine had a shop up the street with the tools I needed,” says Lee Hinge, the founder of Granite Bay-based Shorebreak Designs, an artisan cutting board company. Some research coupled with a little elbow grease did the trick: His girlfriend loved the gift, showing it off to friends on social media. Before long, Hinge had so many requests for cutting boards that a business was born.

HOW THEY’RE MADE
Hinge collects hardwood scraps from cabinetmakers or finds rain-damaged wood at lumberyards. “Once you clean and sand it, it’s still good wood,” he says. He squares up the individual pieces, lays them out in a pattern (“I lie in bed at night thinking about patterns”), joins them with wood glue and sets the board in a press while the glue dries. Afterward, he planes and sands the board several times, then finishes it with a food-safe mineral varnish that brings out the wood’s natural grain and color.

 

CUSTOM WORK
Many of Hinge’s customers buy the boards as wedding gifts and have the wedding date or the couple’s initials engraved or burned into the wood. He can also build initials right into the board’s pattern, depending on the shape of the letter.

 

BEHIND THE NAME
Hinge and his girlfriend, both avid surfers, were on vacation in Southern California when they were brainstorming a name for his new business. They happened to be staying at Shorebreak Hotel and decided to borrow the name. “We love the ocean and the beach, so it just made sense,” says Hinge.

WHERE TO BUY
Hinge has been invited several times by Williams-Sonoma in Roseville to sell his cutting boards, cheese paddles and pizza peels at in-store artisan fairs. He also sells at local art and wine fairs and online at shorebreakdesigns.com. Prices start at $25 for a small sandwich board. A standard 12-by-18-inch cutting board runs $100 ($150 if made with exotic woods).