This Instructable details how to make hardwood cutting boards out of maple and cherry scraps. Not only are they beautiful and high quality, they're made from materials that would have been discarded otherwise. Reduce, Reuse, Recycle!
Step 1: Get your materials
For this project, my friend N. graciously provided the materials and his workshop. We used maple balusters removed during a remodel as the main elements of the cutting boards. You can see from the two pieces in the foreground that each piece had a few holes in the ends from where they'd been attached to the stairs/banister. We cut off just enough material to get rid of the holes, not worrying about uniform length.
Step 2: Getting a square deal
After we'd removed the ends, we had to take care of the rounded edges with a quick trim on the table saw.
Step 3: It is not OK to eat varnish
Varnish: good for balusters, bad for cutting boards.
Here you can see N. passing them through a planer to take off the outermost layers of varnish and wood so we could get back to clean maple. We passed through each face that glue would be applied to several times to get a nice smooth surface. We left the varnish on the faces that would become the cutting surfaces to be dealt with later.
Step 4: Check your work
This step is more or less concurrent with the last, you can see that the piece he's measuring (for thickness) still has varnish on two sides.
As a related aside, you can see we were wearing ear protection, which is key.
Hearing is one of those things, like eyeballs and fingers, you want to hang onto for as long as possible.
Step 5: Make it go faster
I've said it before, and I'll say it again: The key to speed lies in the paint job, not what's under the hood. For a spiffy racing stripe, we used a piece of cherry leftover from a desk N. had built. The nice thing about using cherry is that it gets darker the more you use your cutting board. Here you can see N. trimming it down to size so it matches the thickness of our maple pieces.