Introduction: Handcrafted 100-piece Segmented Cutting Board!
The perfect gift for any time of year? Absolutely! This cutting board is not only unique, but consists of 100 pieces of beautiful Leatherwood, Wenge, and Maple. This little board is the perfect gift for any time of year, and impresses anybody you show it to. So without further ado, let's get started!
Materials/ Tools needed:
- Leatherwood (red colored wood)
- Wenge (dark colored wood)
- Maple (white colored wood)
- Sand paper (120 - 1000 grit)
- Palm sander/ orbit sander
- Table saw
- Wood glue
- Food-safe wood finish (Mineral oil)
Step 1: Choose, and Mark the Wood
The first thing you need to do is gather the wood. In this project, I am using Leatherwood (red colored wood), Wenge (dark colored wood), And Maple (white colored wood). You can use any choice of wood, but for this project this is the selection used. Each board should be about 2 ft. long, by 7 inches wide, by 3/4 of an inch.. To start, you will need to mark the boards, with a pencil, at 3/8 of an inch. Then, set your table saw at exactly 3/8", and prepare to cut the wood. It is important to make sure it is 3/8 of an inch, because when cut and squared later on, you will end up with 3 layers of each color maintaining 1.25 of an inch.
Once done, you're ready for the next step!
Step 2: Cut the Wood
Now that you've set your table saw at 3/8", it's time to cut the wood. You can use a hand-saw to cut the wood, but it is more efficient and precise to use a table saw. Cut the wood into strips, and you should have 3 strips of each color wood. Feel free to cut a few extra strips of wood, because there is always margin for error when woodworking. Once the strips are cut, make sure all of them are the same width. If so, you're ready to move on to the next step!
Step 3: Glue, and Cut
Now that the wood strips are cut, it's time to glue and clamp them together. Before glueing, make sure to remove any sawdust from the surface of the wood so that the bond of the glue joint is stronger. Layer the dark wood first, then the white wood, with the red colored wood last. (see images above) Make sure they are level to the surface you are glueing them on, then clamp the piece and let sit for 24 hrs for the glue to dry. Once done, take the pieces to the table saw and cut the more uneven side to 1/2 an inch. Repeat with all the piece glued, then set them aside.
Once done, you're ready for the next step!
Step 4: Cut Squares
Now that your strips are glued and trimmed, it's time to cut them into even squares. If your pieces were cut evenly, your strips should be about 1.25 inches wide. If not, lay a strip between the fence and the saw blade, and tighten the fence. This will get it as even as possible to the correct size. If your strips are already even, all you have to do is put your table saw fence at precisely 1.25 inches. Once done, use the Miter Gauge of the table saw and set it to 90°. Then, start cutting the strips into small squares. Make sure to keep it as precise as possible, because all the squares must be even when glueing them later on. Cut about 40 squares. You will only need 32, but it's necessary to have extras in case of accidents.
Once done, you're ready for the next step!
Step 5: Sand the Squares
Now that the squares are cut, it's time to sand all the faces and edges of them. Doing this ensures that all the faces of the squares are even, and won't give us any trouble when glueing them later on. This step may take a while, but it is all worth it in the finished product. Sand each piece with 400 grit sandpaper, and make sure to remove any chipping that may have occurred during the process of cutting them. Once done, make sure no sawdust is on the surface of the wood, as repeated in previous steps. Then, you're ready for the next step!
Step 6: Arrange, and Glue
Now that the squares are all sanded and symmetrical, it's time to glue them together into our final board. But first, you need to arrange them into our given pattern. Start by arranging them in this order: (see images above)
1st layer (pattern A):
Strip flowing vertically with red colored wood on left side, followed by horizontal layer with dark colored wood on top. Repeated pattern with 8 squares.
2nd layer (pattern B):
Strip flowing horizontally with dark colored wood in top, followed by strip flowing vertically with red colored wood on left side. Repeated pattern with 8 squares.
You should have 4 layers, repeating pattern A, B, A, B.
Once arranged, glue the strips together one-by-one, and let sit for 24hrs to dry. (see images above)
Do not glue all the strips and pieces together a the same time, you will need to glue the strips together first, and you will then glue the strips on top of each other later on in the next step.
Step 7: Cut, and Glue the Strips
Now that the strips are glued together, it's time to cut them on the table saw so that they are even and symmetrical, and then glue the strips together on top of each other. To start, set your table saw fence to just a hair shorter than the width of your strips. Then, run it through the saw to even out the sides. Repeat with all strips, on both sides. Once done, glue all the strips together. Make sure the pattern is aligned correctly, as shown in previous step. (see images above)
Once glued, let sit for 24 hrs to dry.
Step 8: Hand-planing
Now that all the strips are glued, you can now start hand-planing the board. This step isn't necessary at this time, but does reduce less work for later on. This also makes the board flat and even for glueing the trim to the board. Once this step is done, you can move on.
Step 9: Cutting the Trim
Now that the board is flat, it's time to square off the cutting board so that it is symmetrical for the trim. As before, remove as less material as possible. You do not want to remove too much, or the pattern will not show symmetrical squares. Once done, you will need to make the trim of the board. I will be making this out of Maple, a light colored wood. I start by setting my Miter Gauge to 45°, and cutting two strips C at 6.5 inches (on the outside angle) and two strips D at 12.5 inches (on the outside angle). C strips are 6.5 inches overall, and 4 15/16" on inside angle. D strips are 12.5 inches overall, and 11 inches on inside angle. Once the strips are cut, dry-fit them to the board to make sure they align perfectly. If so, you're ready to move on. If not, cut a few more pieces to get the angle where you want it to be, and make sure they still align.
Step 10: Glue the Trim
Now that the trim pieces are cut, it's time to glue them to the board. This can be a bit tricky, because the angles may want the pieces to slide around. This can be helped by clamping each piece one-at-a-time, while letting each piece set with glue for about 10 min in between each clamping. After glueing on all pieces of trim, you may encounter some voids in the glue joints. To fix this, you can fill each crack with wood filler. Doing this will give you a much nicer final product. Once done, you're ready to move on to finishing the board!
Step 11: Sanding the Board
Now that the board is almost completely finished, it's time to start sanding the board. I started removing more material with the Orbit sander at 120 grit, and slowly moved on to hand-sanding from 120 grit, moving on to 1000 grit. Take your time between each grit, because in the finished product you don't want any scratches. Any scratches left behind from the previous grit should be sanded out before moving on to a higher grit. Once the board is sanded to your standards, you're ready to move on to finished the board!
Step 12: Finishing
Now that the board is sanded to 1000 grit, it's time to finish the board! To do this, I will apply a food-safe wood finish. This is important to use a food-safe finish for a cutting board, because toxic finishes can soak into the food you're supplying on the board, and can be dangerous when digested. To oil the board I am using Mineral oil. I suggest that you use the same, but if you have something else in mind feel free to use it at your own risk. Apply the oil with a paper towel or rag, and wipe the entire cutting board until you have about 5 even coats. Once done, you have officially made a 100 piece segmented cutting board!
OPTIONAL: If desired, you can also soak the wood in a tub of oil over night for a full long-lasting finish.
Step 13: Finished!
The cutting board is finished! This is a great project for any level woodworker, and is very fun if you're looking for a quick weekend project. Not only is it a great gift for any time of year, but it puts a big smile on the person you're gifting it to.
This is a great cutting board for it's simplicity, and I hope you enjoyed this build as much as I did.
But 'till next time, have a great day and 'Create Something'.