Instructables
Cutting boards are a valuable, and, at times, under-appreciated kitchen accessory.  In this plastic age, we have been overrun with sick, milky-white slabs of questionable origin, claiming to be safe and clean.  After a few weeks, you end up with a scarred, savaged scrap, un-saveable, collecting crud in all those crevices.  The alternative?  A solid, reclaimed hardwood cutting board made from old flooring, hand-rubbed with tung oil to a high, non-toxic sheen.  In a pinch, it's solid enough to chock the tires on your inlaw's RV, or knock a kitchen intruder unconscious.  It's also cheap (nearly free!), beautiful, and can be continually refinished, lasting for generations.  

I put this cutting board together with oak and maple floorboards pulled from old Chicago bungalows.  Save what you can from alleys, building sites, and salvage shops, get some good glue, and set aside an afternoon.  If you are lacking some of the heavier equipment needed -- thickness planer, pipe clamps, router -- you could laminate it together using the technique found in this table I did a few years ago:  http://www.instructables.com/id/Scrap-Table/

You will need these materials:

Reclaimed hardwood (not laminate of any kind!) flooring
Waterproof wood glue
Tung oil
Mineral oil

You will need these tools:

Table saw
Chop saw
Thickness planer
Jointer
Orbital Sander
Router
Clamps
Sandpaper
Rags
 
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Step 1: Preparation

Picture of Preparation
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The first step, key to safety throughout this project, is to thoroughly de-nail the floorboards.  One nail can chip teeth off of a table saw blade, ruin a planer cutterhead, or fly up and take an eye out.  Go over the boards carefully and remove all nails and staples.  If you have a metal detector, use it.  Zircon, maker of stud finders, makes a handy pocket-size metal detector that is handy for this sort of thing, as well as finding wires in walls, rebar in slabs, etc.  
Great effort! The joy of seeing your efforts and, also the humor I consider high quality and enjoyable, keep at it!
rosebud5572 years ago
Fantastic!! I make these occassionaly. I look for old broken kitchen tables, legs, side tables, in dumpsters or throw aways from salvation army. I cut them in 1 inch strips and glue them with Elmers white glue, sand and veg. oil them. Yesterday I found a broken oak chair, I will be cutting in strips.
dsalter22 years ago
nice instructable! however, you should be protecting those baby blues while using the equipment!
ikoglin2 years ago
How nice - and I wish I'd had such a nice workshop...;-)
melfinaw2 years ago
Doesn't he say that it's made of floorboards pulled from old Chicago bungalows. Does that mean that these cutting boards were once trampled on by people's feet over the span of years??
Would that mean that it would be completely saturated with nasty gross bacteria of the hostile kind that no amount of soaking in straight bleach will completely permeate and erase??

I think the concept is awesome, the idea of using used floorboards for my food is definitely not.
wholman (author)  melfinaw2 years ago
the wood has been cut, planed, and sanded. it is essentially new again, reborn, fresh as can be.
bossfish2 years ago
A comment about sanitation. As a former food safety manager for a chain of food services sanitation of cutting boards was a serious consideration. Extensive research by various agencies in San Diego, following a serious food born infection outbreak, was made into all types of cutting boards and cleaning methods. Properly sanitised, wood boards were superior in food safety, especially ones with NO coating other than mineral oil and that are made with the end grain as the cutting surface. Yes, bacteria ran into the cracks but so did cleaning and sanitising solutions. One of the best is a tablespoon of chlorine bleach in a quart of water. Cutting boards are cut by knife blades which also pushed bacteria and biological media into the cut. Plastic closes over entrapping the bacteria and growth media protecting it from sanitising solutions. After the bacteria multiplies many millions of times a knife cut through the entrapped colony will contaminate the knife and the food you are slicing. End grain wood (the benefits were discussed earlier) will also close-up BUT NOT water/sanitiser and oxygen tight. Thus sanitiser and oxygen (also a sanitiser) remains for many minutes in the cuts before evaporating while killing the bacteria and preventing growth colonies from being established. PS-Don't try to make a cleaning sanitiser by mixing chlorine bleach with soap or detergent, they decompose each other and you don't have the benefit of either. Use them separately and rinse soap thoroughly before applying bleach solution.
AZKAHUNA2 years ago
Nice job! Wish I had access to equipment like that. Boy, what I could do.
Have you looked for a local makerspace/hackspace or tool collective? I know we have one here in London (I'm a member). They often have many of these tools, probably a stock of wood and other stuff too. They generally have websites so shoudl be easy to search out. The same goes for HollyHarken.
tkjtkj2 years ago
thanks for a good idea and presentation! .. a handy way to pass an afternoon, and theN to guzzle down a few watching the oil dry for a few days!
I do suggest tho that you not have long-sleeves while using your great collection of major tools!
Eye-wear, of course, but dont forget the ability of clothing to become entangled with rotating devices!!!
One other thing, as an engineer it would seem to me that this quote is perhaps not so true:
"...If you don't have the heavy-duty clamps required, you could pre-drill, counter-sink, and screw each layer to the next with galvanized screws along with the glue. This is more laborious, but perhaps cheaper. I wouldn't be super-psyched about the long-term stability of that system, but it might work for awhile."
We note that with no screws the board is glued.
but *with* screws it is both glued aND screwed!
I'd also suggest stainless countersunk screws too, .. i never knew a galvanized fastener to staY galvanized for long, certainly not for the generations of family that your design is clearly providing!
Again, excellent 'structable!!
HollyHarken2 years ago
Beautiful job! I wish that I had access to your tools. Perhaps it is time to sign up for a wood working class at my local high school adult education program in order to have access to the kinds of tools you have. I would love to make something like this some day. My Grandfather was a meat cutter and grocer. He never had a problem with contamination. This was back in the 40's thru 60's. I think our meat supply was cleaner then than it is now. No factory farms back then.

I would love to own a beautiful cutting board like the one that you made!

ramospk2 years ago
Good cutting boards should be made with the wood cut on end, so that the knife scratches the wood between wood fibers, not cutting them. This way:

* Fibers will not dull the knife's edge. Wood is hard cellulose and it will do that, and

* As fibers are cut, they tend to separate from the board, creating splinters.

* When cut on end, wood will be easier to resurface every few months, and will better absorb the mineral oil.

Your design is beautiful, but this minor change will significantly enhance your finished product. Great Job.
right on ! … 
vincent75202 years ago
another guy who doesn't care much about his eyes on video #2…
I would wear goggles !!¡…
That is a beautiful cutting board!
Very nice. Mineral oil is another food-safe finish for cutting boards.
chubbyvegan2 years ago
neat idea, beautiful project, but how sanitary is it?
Extremely. The following quote is directly from the link. Please read the whole article for more information.

"Research has shown that when bacteria were inoculated on both wooden and polymer boards, bacterial recoveries from wooden boards generally were less than those from plastic boards, regardless of new or used status (Ak et al., 1994a)."

http://fycs.ifas.ufl.edu/foodsafety/HTML/il114.htm
wholman (author)  chubbyvegan2 years ago
it's sanitary. i wouldn't cut raw meat or fish on it, but hardwood, with sufficiently dense grain, and a penetrative oil finish will prevent anything from seeping in and living in there. people have cut on butcher block for hundreds of years. those cheap plastic boards, once roughed up enough from a lot of small knife slices, have the potential to harbor a lot of bacteria. secondly, all those microscopic bits of plastic end up in your food.
mikeasaurus2 years ago
nice reuse, I love this style of cutting boards.