How To Make A Cutting Board

Cut out 1″ X 1″ sticks with your table saw.

Any wood works, but the harder the wood, the better the result for a cutting board. This cutting board is made from an apricot tree.  The smaller branches are a bit darker, so I’m using a lot of that stock.

Lay out your design. 

I reset my table saw fence to about 1/3″ and cut out slimmer pieces too. Make sure that the edges fit snugly to one another, or at least with a little pressure.

Keep adding pieces until you reach your desired width. 

Avoid using any pieces with more than superficial irregularities

Anything that won’t disappear with light or even heavy sanding will ruin your finished cutting board. Also, dry fit and clamp your pieces together to make sure they will sit level against each other.

Lay out two prop sticks

Your excess wood glue will need a place to escape. Always use more glue than is necessary for surface coverage, but not too gratuitously.

Draw a guideline across your pieces

It doesn’t have to be fancy or exact! Just don’t mix up the order they’re in.

Turn the pieces on their sides and add glue

Still on top of your two prop sticks, turn each piece to the left (or right) and run a bead of glue down each one.

Spread glue evenly

Use the flat side of a piece of junk wood to evenly coat the surface of each piece.

Turn pieces back up and connect glued edges with your guideline 

Line your guideline up just generally, because they will shift around when you’re clamping them.

Clamp the glued pieces

Tighten the clamps at 1/2 of your full grip strength and line up the guideline marks

Ensure basic level of pieces while glue is still wet

If your clamps are heavy like mine, you may need to put some scrap wood under the excess bar to avoid having the pieces bend around.

Check for basic level again

Put a scrap piece with a level edge against the to-be surface and make sure your cutting board isn’t going to be a bowl.

Remove excess glue

Oh my God, I cannot emphasize this enough!  I have to resist the temptation to “sand it later” quite often. Remove the glue while it’s still wet and save yourself 5 1/2 pieces of sandpaper and a lot of time.

Check for basic level once again

Zero out your line of sight against the surface of the project and make sure your cutting board is going to be nice and flat later on.

Trace out and cut out your design 

This is where you need to create your own masterpiece, or you can copy the general idea from a number of standard designs with either a handle or no handle. Here’s the idea of the shape we’re using here. Nothing fancy at all; just simple with a handle.

cut brd

Sand it until you are satisfied with its smoothness

…or use a thickness planer.  I have one, and I just have to say that hand sanding this flat would have taken a lot more grease from my elbows. Once you are happy with the surfaces, make sure to smooth out all the edges and handle to your liking as well.

Thoroughly clean with soap and water, then oil it up!

Remember to never use any chemicals on a cutting board.  No stain, no lacquer, etc. I simply put a robust flavor olive oil on mine and let the wood speak for itself. You’re all ready for a knife and veggies!


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