Introduction: How to Make a Fabulous Argyle Cutting Board

Picture of How to Make a Fabulous Argyle Cutting Board

This is a simple step-by-step guide to make this awesome argyle pattern cutting board.  Yes, it requires having tools... and yes, you need to know how to use those tools.

Please use common sense with working with wood.  Wear a dust mask and use eye protection!

Step 1: Choose Your Wood

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Select the wood you would like to use as the main part of your cutting board.  I chose walnut and beech.  This wood has been planed and jointed.

Step 2: Set Your Fence

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Set the width you would like on your table saw fence.  I chose 1 1/2 inches, not too big, not too small.

Step 3:

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Here are the 1 1/2 inch strips of beech and walnut.

Step 4: Cut Little Squares

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Using the cross-cut sled my husband made (, I set the stop block at 1 1/2 inches to cut my little squares.  This makes for quick work.  Cut, slide the piece over, cut again.

Step 5: The Squares

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I cut 20 beech squares and 12 walnut squares.  Here they are in a rough arrangement so you can see how it will go together.

Step 6: Cutting the Accent Color for the Diagonal Segments of the Cutting Board

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I chose padauk for my accent wood.  It's a nice bright orange and really stands out.  I cut eight 1/4 inch pieces of padauk using the thin rip jig in the picture.  

Step 7: Glue-up

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You will need to glue-up 8  blocks like this.  These will surround the two center squares.  

Step 8: Make the Center Squares

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Glue up two center squares as shown.  Hopefully yours will be a little more even.  Mine needed to be trimmed on the table saw before further assembly.

Step 9: First Round of Gluing and Clamping Complete.

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All completed and trimmed.  Again, I arranged them so you can see how they will be arranged for the next glue-up.

Step 10: Mark Your Sides

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If you're absent minded like I can be, then mark your sides.  S is for the short padauk pieces and L is for the longer ones.  It made it much less confusing when I glued these together.  I had to cut apart the first cutting board I made like this because I didn't pay attention to where I was gluing these pieces.

Step 11: Short Padauk Strip

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Using the padauk strips that you set aside, cut them into pieces a little bit longer than 3 inches.   You can trim the excess on the table saw after.

Step 12: Glue-up #2

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Glue the short pieces in between your blocks as shown and clamp.  The second picture is after the clamps have been removed so you can see the order in which they were clamped together.

Step 13: Glue-up #3 and #4

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Cut some longer lengths of padauk (around 8 1/2 inches) and glue these in between the pieces in the 2nd glue-up.  I did this in two steps, leaving the center stripe for last.

Step 14: Level Your Surfaces

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Using a belt sander with a 60 grit belt, I leveled and smoothed out both sides of the argyle stripe.  As you can see in the first picture,  it is quite uneven and has a lot of glue on the surface.  I needed to do this before trimming on the table saw to get nice cuts.

Step 15: Trim the Sides

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Using the cross cut sled again, I trimmed the sides.  I did this by lining up the points of the walnut with the edge of the blade.  Repeat on all four sides.

Step 16: Assemble the Cutting Board

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I saved a couple pieces of 1/4 inch thick padauk and had cut extra 1 1/2 inch pieces of walnut to use as the border of the cutting board.   Glue these to the sides of the argyle stripe and clamp.  

Step 17: More Sanding.

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The side stripes were slightly thicker than the argyle stripe.  I, again, took out the belt sander with the 60 grit belt to make it even with the middle.  Repeat on reverse side.

Step 18: Routing the Edges

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Using a trim router and a 1/4 inch round over bit, I rounded over the edges of the board.  This is personal preference.  If you prefer to use another profile, please do.    

Step 19:

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Step 20: Mineral Oil.

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Apply a generous amount of mineral oil to the surface of your cutting board (after wiping off excess dust, of course).  Spread around board and wait for it to soak in.  This usually takes about 15-20 minutes.  Wipe of excess with a paper towel.  Repeat a couple more times.

Step 21: Wax Mix

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For the final finishing, I use a pre-made oil/wax mix rather than a mineral oil/bees wax mix made at home.  It doesn't have to be heated and applies much easier.  

Apply oil/wax mix to surface of board, spread around, wait... wait... wait... this takes time to soak in.  I let it sit at least for a few hours, but prefer to let sit over night.  

Wipe of excess.

Buff to a nice shine.



ralph.kim1 (author)2017-08-06

This board is fantastic. It does look labor intensive. But hey so what. Approximately how long did it take you to make this board.?

SteveG53 made it! (author)2017-05-05

I made one of these too. They're a bit labor intensive but I enjoyed the challenge. My woods of choice were Ash, Walnut, and Sapele. It will be a gift to my son.

gregfrbks (author)2017-04-30

My question is what type of oil/was what is the radio

JimSchrader1 made it! (author)2016-03-26

Kasianne, thanks for the plans. I made mine with 2" squares and added an additional accent strip of maple. Mine is roughly 12 x 15. Used a cove bit for handles, rubber non-slip feet and 4 coats salad bowl finish.

kc91 made it! (author)2015-11-14

Thank you very much for the wonderful plans and purple heart suggestion!

Cerealius made it! (author)2014-12-27

I made 3 of these in 1 go round. My family loved these as Christmas presents. Thanks for sharing otherwise I would not had been able to do this.

Kasieanne (author)Cerealius2014-12-27

Those look great! They're much less tedious to do in multiples! I'm glad your family loved them!

KCB70 (author)2013-10-11

Great cutting board, I would use another wood instead of Paduak because over time it darkens to look like walnut.

Kasieanne (author)KCB702013-10-20

we found that out after leaving a piece out in the sun. We'll see how it looks over time!

eahutchinson (author)Kasieanne2014-01-28

Maybe try purpleheart?

Great piece. I've got some walnut, purpleheart, and maple I may have to try.

jenmills59 (author)2014-01-10

Really beautiful! I will give this a try.

wboulanger (author)2013-12-04

Where do you purchase the exotic wood? Great design and craftsmanship!

KCB70 (author)2013-10-21

it's a great job.

Sam DeRose (author)2013-10-10

Wow! This is beautiful, great work!

ldubia (author)2013-10-06

The only change I would make to this work is to make the grain all go in the same direction to prevent seam splits and wood splitting during wood movement. I love the design. Makes me want o go out to the shop and build one...or ten. Great job on the build and the instructable. Bravo!

Kasieanne (author)ldubia2013-10-06

Because of the diagonal stripes, it would be impossible to make all the grain go in the same direction. THis was only my second board and I already made changes from the first. Definitely a learning experience.

ldubia (author)Kasieanne2013-10-06

Woodworking is definitely a learning experience. It is also quire addicting. I am a wood turning artist and periodically find myself in challenging predicaments. I learn something new pretty much every time I turn on the lathe (or other tools). I love doing this stuff. Keep up the fabulous work.

Kasieanne (author)ldubia2013-10-07

I love turning as well! It is amazing how much you learn every time you make something. I am amazed at how much I've learned and changed in the year and a half i've been doing this.

KoomoriForge (author)2013-10-03

Very nice work! I love my argyle socks; guess I'll have to make a cutting board to match. Thanks for the outstanding Instructable!

Kasieanne (author)KoomoriForge2013-10-06

I love argyle too. I remember buying my first pair of argyle socks at the GAP when I was in high school.

carlos66ba (author)2013-10-03

wonderfully done!

Kasieanne (author)carlos66ba2013-10-06

Thank you!

SlickSqueegie (author)2013-10-04

I absolutely love it... This is a magnificent piece of work. Beautiful job!

BTW Don't give it to anyone with OCD. they will go nuts! lol!

Kasieanne (author)SlickSqueegie2013-10-06

Yeah, I know... that one piece going in the wrong direction. :)

doodlecraft (author)2013-10-04

Gorgeous! I would never use that as a cutting board--I'd hang it on the wall! :)

Kasieanne (author)doodlecraft2013-10-06

I would too if it were 3-4 times the size. It is pretty to look at.

kenbob (author)2013-10-04

Love this! beautiful and useful! great instructable.

Kasieanne (author)kenbob2013-10-06


Haplo1 (author)2013-10-04

That's fantastic. really beautiful work.

Kasieanne (author)Haplo12013-10-06

Thank you, I appreciate it!

misko13 (author)2013-10-05

I love this, it's very beautiful!
I like the procedure you used to make it.

Kasieanne (author)misko132013-10-06

Thank you!

iscovell (author)2013-10-05

Did you find that the padauk had a tendency to stain when sanding? Beautiful wood though, just built a coffee table using padauk

Kasieanne (author)iscovell2013-10-06

Absolutely it does. I wipe down my freshly sanded boards with dry paper towels until I can no longer see the orange dust. I get much less staining that way.

Krasen (author)2013-10-06

The final product looks great. And to make one must be kind of expensive for all of the work and time it took. Lets hope the glue sticks hard for when I want to make some pork-chops on the board with a hammer :)

Kasieanne (author)Krasen2013-10-06

I'm not sure how it would hold up to the hammering of pork chops. I'll have to make another to try it out... but with something other than pork chops (yuck).

Mugsy Knuckles (author)2013-10-06

What did you use for a reference edge when you cut step 15?

Kasieanne (author)Mugsy Knuckles2013-10-06

The groove/slot/whatever it's called on the cross-cut sled... i lined the corners of the walnut up with that.

ShamWerks (author)2013-10-06

Beautiful design, I love it!

The only modification I would make is turning the wood pieces so that the end grain is showing on top of the cutting board : it might be a bit less appealing to the eye, but it is much more respectful of your knives cutting edges.

Kasieanne (author)ShamWerks2013-10-06

I am going to try making it end grain as well. Some people prefer visual appeal over functionality. Others are the opposite.

foobear (author)2013-10-04

wow, this is beautiful! Now I understand how it is done. thank you!

ichambers42 (author)2013-10-03

You should mention that padauk is toxic and causes allergic reactions in some people.

Kasieanne (author)ichambers422013-10-04

You are correct. I just assumed people knew that pretty much all wood has some level of danger when working with it. I can certainly add that in. Thank you.

ichambers42 (author)Kasieanne2013-10-04

Most people willing to attempt this project might know, but when I was just starting out I wound up breathing the wrong kind of sawdust and having a bad reaction. This cutting board is awesome, so hopefully nobody snorts a pile of padauk dust and it all goes well.

Kasieanne (author)ichambers422013-10-04

I, too, had a terrible reaction to wood dust (bloodwood) and ended up hospitalized for 3 days. It's serious stuff! I wasn't using common sense and didn't wear a dust mask.

jessyratfink (author)2013-10-03

That's beautiful!

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