A cutting board seems to be a right of passage for any new wood worker, that and making a mallet! I’ve already made a mallet and have been putting off making a cutting board so I figured now was as good a time as any. I’ve always liked the look of edge grain maple and I had some scraps of maple that were too narrow for most projects so I figured that I would go for that look. To spice it up a bit I decided to add a couple of accent strips of Oak.
The final dimensions of the board are 9″ wide by 12″ long a 3/4″ thick. I started the project by ripping the maple and one strip of oak into 1 inch wide strips. Then I took one of the maple strips and the oak strip and cut two Oak strips at 1/4″ wide and one maple the same width. I don’t currently own a drum sander so I taped a piece of 180 grit sand paper to my table saw top and sanded the edges of the thin strips to remove the saw blade marks before the glue-up. The glue-up is pretty simple, just flip all the pieces on to their faces and smear a good water proof glue on to all the pieces, then flip each piece back on their side to form the edge grain look and clamp them all into place until dry. While the glue is still wet is a good time to take a damp cloth and wipe away any excess glue before it drys.
The next process for the board is to run it through the planer to clean up the board and get it down to your final thickness. I Then used my cut off sled to clean the edges up nice and square. Before sanding the board it’s a good idea to clean up the edges of the board and get it to the final length you want. If you have a drum sander as mentioned above then the next step is pretty easy, if not then break out your sander and go to town. I started with 80 grit and worked my way up to 220 grit before heading to the router table.
This was the first time getting to use my new router table so I was pretty excited for this next step. I wanted to add a chamfer around the bottom and round over the top. I cut the chamfer first being careful to cut the end grain first to prevent and tear out problems that may occur when routing end grain. I used a test piece of pine to get the exact size of chamfer that I wanted. Once that was done I swapped out the bit for a round over bit. This was made easier by the fact that I own a router life and was able to easily change the bit from atop the table. Just like the chamfer, I first tested the cut to get that right amount of round over.
I gave the board one final hand sand of 320 grit to clean up any edges or any swirls for the orbital sander before applying the finish. I used regular mineral oil to finish my board, available at any super market or drug store. Make sure if you go this route that you use 100% mineral oil. You can also use salad bowl finish if you like. I soaked the board first in the mineral oil in a cooking pan for an hour or so and then let it dry on it’s own till the next day. I then wiped one more coat on the board before wiping it dry with a clean cloth. It’s a good idea to keep your board out of standing water and re-oil your board periodically to keep it in good shape.
Now your ready to use your new cutting board. There are lots of different cool designs out there you can make and lots of different combinations of woods to use. I can say from experience that they are fairly simple and fun to make. I can see how they would be very addicting because much like when I made a mallet, I wanted to make another one immediately after finishing this one.