Picture of A unique style of cutting board

Cutting boards are a great skill builder for woodworkers. I enjoy making them from time to time and like to challenge myself. My wife makes some pretty intersting cutting boards as well - like the one featured in this instructable

In this Instructable, I will walk you through making this cutting board:

Essential tools Required:

Table saw
- 1/4" straight bit and guide bushing
- 1 1/4, long flush trim bit
- 1/4" roundover bit
Random orbit sander
14" or larger bandsaw
Smaller bench plane or a scraper

Tools that make your life easier but can be replaced with hand tools or other methods

12" or larger planer
Spindle Sander

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Step 1: Use Caution!

Picture of Use Caution!
Power tools are dangerous. I chose not to remove any guards when creating this. Some operations my be obscured a bit by the safety equipment, but it is very important to use the safety equipment supplied by the tool manufacturer. In addition, personal protection equipment such as safety glasses, hearing protection, and dust masks are required for certain operations. If you have active dust collection equipment, use it wherever possible.

Never wear gloves,  jewelry, or loose clothing around power tools!

Step 2: Prepare your lumber

Picture of Prepare your lumber
Here is the walnut I will be using. This came from a rough sawn board and was planed down and cross cut to rough length

Step 3: Joint an edge flat

Picture of Joint an edge flat
Test flatness on the cast iron.jpg
After plaining, you need a square reference edge. I joint one edge on the jointer. I then check the flatness against a known flat surface - like the cast iron on my table saw

Step 4:

Picture of
Once jointed, the jointed edge is placed up against the fence on the table saw and the other edge is cut clean. This ensures your edges are parallel to each other 

Step 5: Rip the lumber into smaller strips

Picture of Rip the lumber into smaller strips
Due to the natural tendancies of lumber to warp and shift, I like to work with thinner pieces. Especially on something like a cutting board that will get wet often. I am using a jig called the GRR-Riper

Step 6:

Picture of
Here is my collection of 2" strips. The board will be 12 inches wide so there are 6 2 inch strips
Sam DeRose1 year ago
This is amazing! I love the technique you're using... I'll have to try this soon.
Blade guard in place: check
Eye protection in place: check
Thanks for being a good safety role model.
joelav (author)  Harold Hill1 year ago
I need my eyes and fingers for my day job (IT), so I use whatever precautions I can.
skyboy_psu1 year ago
Can you post more details on your thin rip jig? FYI, I saw your mineral oil in one picture. Cvs sells it for about a third of the price of the big box retailers.
lluna61 year ago
Very beautiful work!
OTP11 year ago
great, love the result. thanks you for sharing
looks nice
a.steidl1 year ago
Very nice instuctible, joelav. Personally, I love end-grain boards in the kitchen, but this would look great as a tabletop, etc. Cheers, and keep up the awesome work.
joelav (author)  a.steidl1 year ago
Here are some pictures of a hall table I applied this technique to
Very nice!
markmoran1 year ago
Wow! Great instructable, thanks Joe! I've just started reading Woodwork by DK Publishing and am really excited about pursuing this as a much more serious hobby. (I started out just wanting to make small platforms and enclosures for hobby robots and electronics platforms, but now would love to build real furniture, etc.)

I don't have any of the tools yet, but I'm intrigued to see that a hand planer is still useful even if you have a power version. Do you have recommendations for a decent inexpensive table saw to get started with, or any other tools you found really useful starting out? Thanks for sharing this.
joelav (author)  markmoran1 year ago
I have a kind of unique style which is often referred to as hybrid woodworking. I use a good mix of hand and power tools. Sometimes a hand plane, scraper, bench chisel, etc is a better choice than a comparable power tool. With a properly sharpened/tuned tool, (I feel) you have a bit more control.

As far as inexpensive table saws, I would recommend the one I have, the Ridgid R4512. It's not the cheapest on the market, but I feel it is the least expensive saw capable of the precision needed for fine woodworking. A table saw is your workhorse, and with the right jigs, you can make just about any cut you need.
srilyk joelav1 year ago
I've actually found that only rarely does a power tool seem to take me less effort, skill, and time than a comparable well-maintained hand tool. Though I suspect if I had a planer I might feel differently ;)

A great resource is a TV show called the Woodrights Shop - it's a fantastic view for anyone who wants to work with wood.
Beautiful craftsmanship!
Those are great methods man. Looks awesome. Gotta try it now. This makes me wanna dug my blade guard back out of the drawer. Good stuff. Thanks
hhemphill1 year ago
Beautiful. thank you for sharing this how to.
lbrewer421 year ago
Excellent idea with beautiful results. Thanks for sharing this great instructable.
shallnot1 year ago
Fine Woodworking's May/June 2013 issue has an article on the same technique and online an accompanying video
kenbob1 year ago
I like this technique! I had a wooden chair seat break a few years ago and I glued it back together... Now i am thinking about taking the seat back off and adding some laminated 'pizazz'.
I was going to mention it was a lamination but thought that would sound snarky I've been doing inlays for about 20 years now and always want to learn more.
Here is a lacewood and Podunk one I did ten years ago keep up the good work looking forward to your next instructable.
13, 6:48 PM.jpg
joelav (author)  longwinters1 year ago
Wow, that is really nice! That's some pretty maple too
Why go all the way through? A channel keeps the board whole and does not allow for misalignment and eliminates the need for a band saw and sanding
I would love to see your procedure for thin cutting your inlays
joelav (author)  longwinters1 year ago
This is technically a lamination. A true inlay would be very difficult. Bending a 1/4" of material would be a challenge - especially dense tropical hardwoods. You need lateral force if you are doing multi-colored strips also. You would still need sufficient depth because after all people will be taking knives to these things. I can capture that in more detail on my next instructible. I am making a box and use the same procedure for the miter splines.
Yoshinok1 year ago
Wonderful instructable! I might just have to try that myself!
joelav (author)  Yoshinok1 year ago
You should, and post the results! It looks a lot harder than it actually is. If you are familiar with router operations, it's not too bad.
When I get some time I will. I think it would be really nice to make accents in risers like this.
That's gorgeous! Fantastic work. :D
joelav (author)  jessyratfink1 year ago
Thank you!
Where do you get your different species of woods from? I live in NJ and need a starting point for a supplier. Thanks! Beautiful cutting boards!
joelav (author)  millerdiver1 year ago
I get the domestic hardwoods direct from a lumber mill near me where they are sawn. Buying from a mill can be a little tricky since they don't normally sell directly to consumers. You have to be patient and may wait for a while, know what you are looking for, understand lumber grading, and understand board foot calculations. You save a considerable amount of money though (60% less than hardwood retailers). To find a supplier, put your zipcode in here:

I also work with a lot of exotics. I get those at a woodcraft store near me. There are a lot of online sources as well, but my local Woodcraft has a huge selection of exotics and is moderately priced.