Lin Babb doesn’t use a pattern for his heirloom-quality cutting boards. The self-taught Louisiana craftsman lets the wood dictate the size and shape of each stand-apart piece.
The artist: Born in Lecompte, Babb grew up in Alexandria and graduated from LSU. He received a master’s degree at Northwestern State University. Afterward, he taught physical education in east Baton Rouge for 36 years and coached many sports. He retired in 2001. In 2013, he started Linwood with his daughter Mattie.
The name: Linwood is Babb’s middle name, but he is called Lin.
The company/workshop: Linwood, a family-owned company, is located in Central, a small town near Baton Rouge. Babb works out of a backyard woodshop that he built years ago.
In the beginning: Babb started wood carving as a hobby in the 1950s.
The art & materials: Mostly one-of-a-kind wooden cutting and serving boards. Also bowls, trays and serving spoons. All pieces are made with hand tools, not a lathe.
What’s popular: Walnut and cherry cutting boards ($100 to $200), depending on the size.
Other favorites: Serving pieces like bowls and cracker trays ($50 to $150).
- Each board begins with an outline sketched in pencil right on top of the grain of locally-sourced wood.
- Wood is hand cut and planed.
- The rough board is sanded, dunked in water, dried and sanded again. This process is repeated five or six times.
- Finally, steel wool and hand-rubbed coats of mineral oil and beeswax finish each piece.
- Each board takes about six to eight hours to complete.
- Shapes in natural woods, including knots and curves.
- Natural materials
- Anything handmade
- Other handmade artists
Fun and special or unusual requests: A customer came to the shop to design a board for her fiancé.
Big break (s): Being featured in:
- Garden & Gun’s Southern Food Edition, 2014.
- The book, “Hand Made Baking,” by Kamran Siddiqi, 2014. A Linwood board was on the first page of the cookbook, which was also sold in Anthropologie stores.
What’s new: A final collection of mostly cutting boards and custom orders.
Where to buy: linwoodco.com
Get social at:
- Instagram: @linwoodco