How to Make a Cutting Board: A Comprehensive Guide
A cutting board is a crucial item in any kitchen. Not only does it provide a stable and flat surface for cutting, but it also protects your counters and knives. And while there are plenty of options for store-bought cutting boards, there’s something special about having a handmade one in your kitchen. In this blog post, we’ll take you through the process of how to make a cutting board, step by step.
Designing Your Cutting Board
When creating a cutting board, the first step is to think about the design you want. There are many factors to consider, such as size, thickness, colors, and types of wood. Here are some key questions to ask yourself:
- What size do you want your cutting board to be?
- How thick do you want it to be?
- What colors and types of wood would you like to use?
- How will each board be laid out in the design?
- Do I know how to make a cutting board?
Once you’ve decided on the overall design, you can start choosing the right wood and go shopping for the lumber.
Choosing the Right Wood
Hardwoods such as black walnut, mahogany, white maple, padauk, purple heart, and cherry are ideal for this project as they are durable and have a tight grain pattern. It’s important to note that open pore hardwoods such as oak are not recommended for cutting boards due to their tendency to absorb moisture and bacteria.
To find the right hardwoods for your project, you may need to visit a local hardwood store. These stores specialize in selling hardwood lumber and often have a wider selection than big box stores. It’s important to note that hardwood lumber is sold by board feet, not per item, so make sure you have an idea of the size cutting board you want to make before making a purchase.
Preparing the Wood
Making a handmade cutting board requires careful preparation of the wood. There are several key steps involved in getting the wood ready for glue-up and final sanding.
One Straight Edge via Track Saw or Jointer
The first step in preparing the wood is to get one straight edge on each piece of wood. This can be done either with a track saw or a jointer. If you’re using a track saw, you’ll need to clamp your piece of wood securely to a work surface and make your cuts, being sure to stay as straight as possible. If you’re using a jointer, you’ll simply run your pieces of wood through the machine until you get a straight edge.
Cut Strips on Table Saw
Once you have one straight edge on each piece of wood, it’s time to cut the wood into strips. This can be done on a table saw. You’ll need to make sure that your blade is set to the proper height and angle, and then you’ll use the miter gauge to guide your wood through the saw.
Cut Thin Strips on Band Saw
In some cutting board designs, very thin strips are used. Cutting these strips can be done on a band saw for safety. With any cutting board design, the more strips you have, the more cutting, sanding, and prepping is required.
Surface all Strips in Drum Sander
Once all your strips are cut, it’s time to surface all of them. This is done in a drum sander to make sure that each strip is flat and smooth. The drum sander will take off any rough spots and ensure that each strip is ready for the next step in the process.
Gluing the boards together
Once your wood is prepared, it’s time to glue the boards together. This is where the cutting board really starts to take shape. Before gluing, make sure to lay out your boards and ensure that the grain patterns match up nicely.
When you’re ready to glue, apply a generous amount of wood glue to the surfaces of the boards and place them together. Tightbond III is a great waterproof glue that works well for cutting boards. Make sure to apply even pressure when clamping the boards together. This is an important step in ensuring that the boards will stay together and won’t come apart over time.
Using enough clamps and spreading them out evenly is key to ensuring that the pressure is applied evenly across the entire surface. Take your time and make sure the boards are well aligned and clamped together tightly.
After the glue is dry, it’s time to prepare the cutting board for sanding. To get the board flat and even, it may be necessary to run it through a planer or drum sander. This step ensures that the surface is flat and ready for sanding.
Cut the blanks
If you went ahead and made a large blank you would begin cutting them down to size in your table saw or miter saw. This allows the boards to be at a more manageable size to work on for the next steps.
Profiling the Edges
Once you’ve sanded the surface of your cutting board to a smooth finish, it’s time to profile the edges. This step gives the cutting board a finished look and helps to prevent the edges from splintering over time. There are many types of edges to choose from, such as a slight chamfer or a round over.
Using a router or router table is the most efficient way to profile the edges of your cutting board. To start, set up your router table and choose the bit that corresponds with the edge you want to create. Make sure to adjust the height of the bit so that it cuts just the right amount off the edge.
Next, run your cutting board through the router table, being careful to keep the edge flush against the fence and steady as the router bit cuts into the wood. Take your time and make sure to make multiple passes if necessary to ensure that the edge is even.
By following these tips, you’ll have a cutting board with beautifully profiled edges that will stand the test of time.
In the sanding process, it’s important to incrementally increase the grit of the sandpaper used. Starting with 100 grit sandpaper and working up to 220 grit will result in a smooth, even surface. It’s important to wet the grain at 220 grit, and then lightly sand with 320 grit to prevent a rough surface after the cutting board gets wet.VI. Adding a Juice Groove
A juice groove is a popular feature for cutting boards, as it allows for the collection of any juices that may run off during food preparation. To add a juice groove to your cutting board, you’ll need to use a router. This step is best done by hand as any mistakes can ruin the cutting board.
Adding a Juice Groove
A juice groove is a channel carved into the surface of a cutting board, designed to catch liquids, such as juices from meats, fruits, or vegetables, preventing them from spilling onto your countertop. Adding a juice groove to your cutting board is a relatively simple process that can be done with a router.
Before starting, you need to determine the size and location of the juice groove. This will depend on the size of your cutting board and the types of food you’ll be cutting on it. Once you’ve determined the size and location, you can start cutting the groove.
Using a router, make shallow passes, as too much pressure can cause burn marks on the wood. Hand sand the juice groove with progressively finer grit sandpaper to ensure it is smooth. It’s important to work slowly and carefully when carving the juice groove, as a mistake can ruin the entire cutting board.
After you have carved the juice groove, it’s time to sand the entire surface of the cutting board, starting with a lower grit sandpaper (such as 100 grit) and incrementing to a finer grit (such as 220 grit). The goal is to have a smooth surface that will be safe for food preparation. Sanding the surface after carving the juice groove will help blend any rough edges and ensure the cutting board is ready for use.
Finishing the Cutting Board
Once you have sanded your cutting board to 220 grit, it’s time to finish it. There are several finishing options available to you, but it’s important to choose one that will provide protection to your cutting board while also enhancing its beauty. Some popular options include mineral oil, beeswax, and linseed oil.
Mineral oil is a popular choice for cutting boards because it is safe for food contact and doesn’t go rancid over time. It is also very easy to apply and can be found in most hardware stores. Simply apply a generous amount of oil to the board, let it soak in for 10-15 minutes, and then wipe off any excess. Repeat this process until the board has absorbed all it can.
Beeswax is another popular option for finishing cutting boards. It provides a protective coating to the board and also adds a nice shine. To use beeswax, simply melt the wax in a double boiler and then brush it onto the board. Let the wax cool and then buff it to a shine.
Linseed oil is a natural oil that is derived from flax seeds. It is a great option for finishing cutting boards because it is food-safe and dries to a hard finish. To use linseed oil, simply apply it to the board and let it soak in for 10-15 minutes. Wipe off any excess and let it dry for 24 hours before using the board.
Regardless of the finishing option you choose, it’s important to reapply the finish periodically to keep your cutting board in good condition and protected from moisture and other elements.
Adding Silicone Feet
To ensure the longevity of your cutting board, it’s important to add silicone feet to the bottom. This will allow air to flow underneath and prevent warping, as well as keep the cutting board from sliding around on your countertop.
To add silicone feet, simply apply a small amount of glue to the bottom of the cutting board and press the silicone feet into place. Make sure to space them evenly apart and allow the glue to dry completely before using the cutting board.
By taking this extra step, you’ll be ensuring that your cutting board stays flat and stable for years to come, and will be able to withstand the daily wear and tear of use.
Making a handmade cutting board is a rewarding project that you’ll be able to enjoy in your kitchen for years to come. From choosing the right wood to applying the final finish, each step is important in ensuring that your cutting board is durable, safe for food, and looks great. So why not try your hand at making your own cutting board today?
We hope this blog post has been helpful in guiding you through the process of how to make a cutting board. With these steps, you’ll be well on your way to having a beautiful and functional addition to your kitchen.