How to Make a Brick Pattern Cutting Board

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Introduction: How to Make a Brick Pattern Cutting Board

My favorite projects are the ones that I think about, set aside for a while, and come back to them.  This was my first project that wasn't  just a plain old striped cutting board or end grain.  This is what began my experimentation with wood.

What you need:

Wood for your "bricks"
Wood for the  "mortar"
Waterproof/Food safe glue
Table saw and Cross-cut sled
Band saw
Spindle Sander (not necessary, but I used one in this project)
Planer
Random Orbit Sander
Time and Patience
Imagination

Please use all appropriate PPE when working with wood.  

Step 1: Your Bricks

I chose maple for my  "bricks" for no other reason except we had a ton of maple.  I cut five 2" wide strips that were about 16" long.  Set these aside while you cut the wood for your "mortar"

Step 2: Cut Your Mortar

Using the thin rip jig my husband made, I cut 1/4" strips of cherry as my contrasting mortar pieces.  I cut about 14, which was way too many, but they got used it other projects eventually.

Step 3: Pieces

Here are the two woods together.  A subtle contrast.  

Step 4: Line 'Em Up

Arrange your woods before applying glue.  I like to lay them out like this.  It make the glue application much easier.  

Step 5: Apply Your Glue

I'm not endorsing the titebond brand.  This is my personal preference as far as waterproof and foodsafe wood glues go.  There are other options out there, find one that suits you best.

Apply a generous amount of glue to all your wood strips and spread.  I like to use a silicone brush.  They work great, they're cheap, reusable, and easy to clean (wash them out with water or wait for the glue to dry and just pull it off). 

Remember, it is better to use too much glue than too little.  You really only get one chance to glue.

Step 6: Arrange the Wood in the Clamps

After you apply the glue, arrange the "mortar" strips in between the "brick" strips and clamp.

Step 7: Remove From Clamps...

The glue should be set up in a half hour.  Remove from clamps and send through the planer.

Step 8: Even Up Your Ends

Using a cross cut sled, even up your ends.

Step 9: Cut Some Strips

Keep your piece on the cross cut sled.  Set your cut at 1".  Cut away.  Cut as many strips as you can get out of your glued up piece.

Step 10: Mark Your Centers

Find the centers of each piece.  Make a mark.  This will be used as a guide when you glue up again.

***An easier way to do this would have been to mark them before I cut them.

Step 11: Get Ready to Glue Again!

Line up your pieces like this again and apply glue.  

Step 12: Arrange Your Pieces Again

Place one strip of cherry between the other strips...  This is where that mark comes in handy.  Line up the center of a cherry strip with the mark you made on the maple to get that staggered look.  Once arranged, clamp up and wait another 30 minutes or so.

Step 13: Hand Plane

Once removed from the clamps, you may notice your cherry pieces are significantly higher than the rest of the board.  That's okay.  Whip out your hand plane (or planer if you have one wide enough to accommodate the piece) and level to the rest of the board.  

Step 14: Square It Up.

Using the cross cut sled again, I squared up the board.  

Step 15: Sand...

Sand the surface of the board.  I started off at 60 grit.  This was just a rough sanding before started cutting the corners on the band saw.

Step 16: Mark Your Corners

I added a rounded corner to the cutting board to break up all the straight lines and sharp angles.  To do this, I used a paste wax can and traced the edge.  

Step 17: Cut...

Trim those corners off with a band saw.  

Step 18: Clean Up the Corners

I used our spindle sander to clean up the band saw marks on the corners I cut.  

Step 19: Route the Edge

Using a 1/4" round over bit, I rounded over the edges. 

Step 20: More Sanding

Starting at 80 grit and worked down to 600 grit for a super smooth surface.

Step 21: Start Finishing.

I bring my cutting boards inside to finish.  

First thing I do is wipe off all the excess dust that I can with a dry paper towel and then place my board on a clean paper towel.

Step 22: Apply Finish

Apply a liberal amount of mineral oil.  Spread around the board.  LET SOAK IN.  Wipe off excess when barely any is visible on the surface.  Repeat a few times.  

Then I like to apply Howard's Butcher Block Conditioner.  Same Method.  Again, this is my personal preference and not an endorsement of their product.  There are many pre-made finishes on the market.

Step 23: Ready to Use!

All Done!

2 People Made This Project!

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33 Comments

Great tutorial! If you cut one of your "brick" strips (either the first one or the last) half the width of the rest, you can almost eliminate having any waste to cut off. All you'll have to do is flip every other row (so every other row starts with half a brick, and the alternating rows end with half a brick like in your finished product).

1 reply

You're right. I'm having one of those "why didn't I think of that" moments. Thanks you.

Do u think you can have your husband make a instructable on that thin cut jig he made

This is an awesome idea! I love your instructions, and your variation on the cutting board project. Nice!

Very detailed instructions and a beautiful finished product.
I would love to see this in black walnut and purple heart cedar!!

1 reply

I made one in walnut and purpleheart (not cedar)! It came out pretty nice, but the colors were both dark so, it was hard to see the lines.

Great instructable! I had to check it out to see how you did the cross pieces. Very simple once you see it done :)

1 reply

It is wicked simple, but had baffled a lot of people before I did the how-to.

Amazing work!!! you are a real PRO, thank you.

1 reply

I'm fairly new at this, so thank you!

Definitely the best woodworking I'ble of the last months, great job!

1 reply

Thank you! That's a very nice compliment!

This is awesome!! Great step by step and totally something just about anyone could do!

1 reply

It looks a lot more complicated than it actually is. If you have the tools, then anyone can make it.

terrific chopboard

Very Nice. Now I just need to buy a sander, router, vice grips, saw, planer and sled. I think I might have the glue. :)