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Do you like what you see?
This project is my entry for the "Before and After" contest. If you like it, don't hesitate to vote for it and share it with your friends!

What we will do.
In this Instructable, I will describe how I changed a simple and ordinary IKEA Proppamätt chopping board to a fancy custom-shaped kitchen item. Of course you can start from any chopping board, or choose for a nice kind of wood. But I think starting from a simple board perfectly fits in the "Before and After" theme. It is a super easy project that most of you should be able to create. I made this one as a last-minute birthday gift for my dad.

What we will use.
For this projects, I used only a few tools. But I'm sure you don't need the laser cutter if you don't have acces to one.

  • Laser cutter to make a template.
  • Jigsaw to make the rough cuts.
  • Router to copy the template on the board.
  • Chopping board to ... make the chopping board.
  • Oil as a finish.

That being said, let's get started!

Step 1: Make the Template.

Why a template?
You could ask yourself why you should take the time to start with a template. You could just start cutting the board right away? Indeed, but using a template will allow you to reproduce your work easily and allows you to design and redesign without having to sacrifice a board.

Choosing a design.
You certainly have plenty of ideas for making a nice cutting board. But if you are like me, you lack the talent to draw them. Fortunately there are a lot of websites where you can get your inspiration. I manipulated a vector file from freepik.com that I used in the laser cutter.

Creating the template.
If you have access to a lasercutter, you can use a vector file to cut your design out of a thin (3mm) MDF board. I had the chance to use one of the lasercutters at the FabLab in Leuven (Belgium).
Otherwise, take your time and draw, cut, sand a sheet of MDF until it has a shape you are happy with. Using MDF has the advantage that it is very easy to work with, even with very simple tools. To help aligning the template to the cutting board. I glued a circular thicker piece of MDF to the template to fit into the hole of the cutting board.

Step 2: Cut the Cutting Board.

Jigsaw.
Start with copying the design of your template on the cutting board and cut it out with the jigsaw. Leave some extra material (+/- 3mm). This will be taken away with the router.

Router.
Attach the template to the rough shape you cut out of the board, using double sided tape for example. I used a flush trim bit on my palm router to trim the edges of the board square to the template. An easier way would be to use a router table. This project actually made me feel I really needed one, so I already started building one.
After trimming the board flush, I used a 45° chamfer bit to finish the board on all sides.

Oiling.
A last step should be to sand and oil the board with a cutting board oil. The photos shown here are taken before this step ...

Step 3: Enjoy or (and) Give Away!

The only thing that lasts is to enjoy your new cutting board and compare it with the ordinary shape it had before.

If you like what you see here, feel free to vote for this project in the "Before and After" challenge.

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