A few months ago I took a Fundamentals of Woodworking class, and I learned how to make a cutting board. Since then I’ve made a few more and I hope to make a ton more this year. Cutting boards are a great way to use up scrap hardwoods and make awesome gifts. Today I’m sharing the steps I take to make a cutting board.
Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links.
What you’ll need
- Table saw
- Orbital sander
- Hardwood (such as walnut, maple and cherry)
- Mineral oil or Butcher block oil
- Wood glue
How to make a wooden cutting board
Step 1: Select hardwood boards
There are a few things you want to consider when you buy wood for a cutting board. Avoid soft woods like pine (it cuts and scratches easily) and very porous woods such as red oak (the large pores can harbor bacteria). For durability, also avoid soft hardwoods like poplar. Domestic hardwoods such as maple, walnut, and cherry make excellent choices for a cutting board.
I really enjoyed making my first cutting board so now I’m plotting my second one. 😁 I picked up some walnut, cherry and maple boards. This will be another long grain cutting board, but for my third one I would like to try making an end grain cutting board. 😊 #wood #lumber #walnut #maple #cherry #cuttingboard #woodworking #roughsawn #homemadegifts #tothejointerwego
Step 2: Rough cut boards to size
Typically when you purchase hardwood it comes rough sawn and will need to be milled before it is ready to use. The objective here is to get the board flat on all four sides. To begin the milling process, cut the boards down to rough size. I take the final measurement that I want the cutting board to be and add 2-4 inches to get a rough length.
Step 3: Face and edge joint the boards
Determine which face of the wood wobbles the least. This side will be the first side we flatten with a jointer. (Selecting the side that wobbles the least on a table helps reduce board waste as we try to flatten all the sides.) Once the first face is flat, place that side against the jointer fence and joint the edge of the board until it is flat.
After this point we have 2 faces surfaced.
Step 4: Plane the rough face smooth
Next, move to the thickness planer. With the jointed side face down, run the board through the planer until you reached the desired thickness of the board.
After this step we have 3 faces surfaced.
Step 5: Rip the boards to size
Finalize the design of your cutting board. Go to the table saw and rip the board to the desired width.
After this step all 4 sides have been surfaced.
Step 6: Glue up the boards
Arrange the ripped pieces of wood, glue and clamp them together. I use Titebond III wood glue. It’s waterproof and food safe.
Step 7: Remove the excess glue
After the glue has been curing for about 15 minutes, get a scraper and remove some of the excess. It is easier to remove the glue while it is tacky versus waiting until it is cured. Once the glue has completely dried, take a light pass through the planer to remove any remaining glue.
Watch out for planer snipe.
Step 8: Trim off the excess wood
Cut off the excess wood from each end of the cutting board.
Step 9: Decorate the edges
Add a corner radius or route the edge of the cutting board with a round over router bit.
Step 10: Sand, sand, sand
Give the cutting board a really good sanding.
I’m almost done with the cutting board. 🙂 I had a chance to sand it with this @festool sander. There really is a big difference between using this sander and my Bosch one. It’s very nice. (And this is totally my submission for @krugerconstruction’s Festool HKC giveaway. What a cool power saw!) @festool_usa #krugerfestoolhkc #woodworking #woodworker #wood #sawdust #walnut #maple #cuttingboard #hardwood #sander #festool #powertools #woodwork #orbitalsander #festoolusa
Step 11: Apply the finish
Seal the cutting board with your favorite food safe finish. I like to soak the cutting board in a layer of mineral oil. Allow the oil to absorb into the wood before wiping away excess. Over time and use, you may need to reapply mineral oil to refresh the cutting board.
Homemade cutting boards
I enjoy making cutting boards and look forward to getting more creative with my creations.