How To Make A Cutting Board
Making your own DIY cutting board is not only satisfying, it can be an incredibly practical and rewarding project to undertake. Whether you plan on making one for yourself or as a gift for someone else, here we provide you an easy to follow step by step guide on putting together your very own handmade cutting board.
In this guide we want to explain the process of how you can create a cutting board by combining several blocks of wood. This technique makes it a hugely practical idea if you have pieces of wood laying around that need to be used up.
If you don’t have any spare wood already just waiting to be used, you can buy the pieces from a DIY or supply store. One advantage of buying the wood is having the option for the wood to be cut to your desired sizes within the store.
You might need: How To Make A Butcher Block From Simple Wood Strips
In the first stage of the guide, we go over the types of wood you should aim to use. Cutting boards receive a lot of hard work and cutting actions. For this reason it is very much advised for you to use woods that are hardy and dense. Make sure you get all the “items needed” on the list below, this will save you time and energy as you go through the steps
- Wood strips (any type with a high hardness rating, preferably edge grain)
- Waterproof wood glue
- Sander or Sandpaper
- Table saw or Chop saw
- Butcher block ointment or wood lacquer purpose made for kitchen surfaces
Use Wood That Is Hard And Dense
All the wood you decide to use in the board have to be very strong and durable. Some suitable examples might be, Mahogany, Maple, Walnut or Hickory. You can combine different types of would to create a great visual effect, but each and every piece within the board has to be made from wood that is appropriate.
Edge grain wood is usually best for projects like this. It is not too hard to work with, but is durable enough to withstand reasonable punishment from blades and cutting. The denser the wood, the harder it will be to work with, but the more durable it will be as a finished cutting board.
Saw All Wooden Blocks Into Your Desired Size
Use your saw to make sure all the wooden blocks you have are the right length and width. It is important to do this correctly now if you don’t want to have to do too much cutting and sanding when the board is put together.
If you want a really thick heavy cutting board, you could aim for each wooden block to have a width of around 1.5 x 3 inches. If you want your cutting board to be lighter and more mobile, 1-2 inches or slightly less may be more appropriate for you.
It is worth remembering that towards the end of this process your board may need to be sanded and cut down a little to ensure it has flat surfaces. On top of this, if you plan on keeping and using your board for a very long time, you could end up sanding and re-oiling it in future to keep it in tip top shape. For this reason it can be beneficial to add half an inch more than you think you need to the sizes of your blocks.
Assemble Your Clamps In A System
Before you start gluing your wood blocks together, it is vital that you arrange your clamps first. We recommend having your clamps set up and positioned around a platform that your glued up board will lay on as it is left to set.
It is much better to have this system assembled on the floor and away from any carpets rugs or other presentable surfaces that you don’t want ruined by drops of glue. Your platform can be made of a couple of raised planks. If your clamps are pre set, when it comes to gluing, you can assemble your board onto the platform one block at a time.
We recommend using three clamps. One to apply pressure to each side of the assembled board, and one that applies pressure down the middle.
Glue Your Blocks Together One Piece At A Time
Now you can start to apply glue to your blocks and sticking them together. You’ll want to do this one block at a time to ensure you do it as safely and as routinely as possible. Start with the first two blocks. You only need to apply glue to one surface between them. When you have put them together, place them on your platform on one of the far sides, right next either end of the clamp jaws. You are effectively assembling the board into the open clamps.
You can proceed to apply glue to one side of each block, placing it onto the platform, and stricking it to the compilation of pieces you have already glued and laid down. By doing it this way, you prevent the need to have to move the compiled board after it is stuck together.
If you tried building your board in the same way that you would raise a tall building or a stack of pancakes, from the ground up, when the board was complete, you would have the constant threat of the entire system falling over to worry about. By compiling it sideways laying flat, you have no such concern.
Engage Your Clamps
Once the board is glued together and laying between your clamps, you can start to tighten them. We suggest doing this in stages. If you completely tighten one side all the way before tightening any of the other clamps, you risk applying pressure unevenly.
You should first get all the clamps closed to within a light holding grip. Then proceed to tighten each clamp a little at a time until the it becomes reasonably trough to tighten them any further. Avoid going mad and tightening each clamp as hard as they will possibly go. This is unnecessary and is likely to create markings on the surfaces of your board.
Cut And Sand All Surfaces
When the glue has properly set and your board is perfectly fixed together, you can begin to cut and sand it down. If any blocks are slightly poking out, be sure to cut them down. The largest flat surfaces will be the ones that you perform your cutting on, so these need to be perfectly flat.
It can be annoying or potentially dangerous to leave the cutting board with uneven work surfaces. Sand all sides to ensure all bumps and edges are perfectly smooth. If you want curved edges, the best technique is to apply sanding strokes along the edge that are long and consistent.
Clean The Board And Apply Your Wood Ointment
Clean off all of the wood dust from your board with a dry cloth. When it is perfectly clean you can prepare to coat it with your wood ointment. We suggest using a very high quality ointment that is designed for consumption items and water resistance.
This is a cutting board, which means it will be in constant contact with water. Not only do you want a quality ointment, you also want to apply a generous number of coats to ensure the wood gets a sufficient amount of soaking.
We would suggest using a wide paint brush to facilitate the application. The wider the better. This will ensure your coats are as evenly spread as possible. The bottle containing your ointment will provide instructions for use. In most cases it is advisable to apply a coat and wait at least a couple of hours before applying another.
You want the ointment to soak into the wood, before applying a fresh coat. The more coats you apply, the longer the board is likely to last before it needs more attention. The more protected it is, the higher its quality will be in terms of aesthetics and long term endurance.
Once you are happy with the look and feel of the board, you’re done! Enjoy its beauty, quality and the fact that it’s all from your own handy work.
You’ll Never Have To Buy Cutting Board Ever Again!
Not only does the process outlined above give you the freedom to design and build a board that looks and feels exactly how you want it, but it’s great for long term use. Because you’ve used quality wood and quality ointment, you should notice a vast difference between this board and others you have bought in the past.
If the board begins to wear down and show signs of degradation, you can always trim it down, give it a sand and throw on a few new coats of ointment to restore it to perfect condition. You shouldn’t have to buy another store-made cutting board ever again!