Making a Cutting Board That Won't Warp





Introduction: Making a Cutting Board That Won't Warp

About: I love woodworking and making fun stuff on the lathe, I really enjoy making stuff and posting it on this website, and I love the Hobbit

Most cutting boards are made so that the end grain is facing up. This is because the end grain is a lot harder than the side grain and it holds up a lot better after years of use, but it is kind of a pain to make one like that. So I wanted to make just a side grain cutting board as a gift for mother's day and I felt a little guilty about just cutting down a board for a cutting board. So in order to make this a little more unique and interesting, I re sawed some rough milled oak into thinner pieces of wood, glued those up into panels, and then glued those panels into a certain grain orientation so that it is like plywood. That "plywood" orientation of the grain will greatly prevent warpage/expansion and contraction that would normally occur from the wood soaking up moisture. There is a PDF below that you can print out and that will have a set of plans for you to follow if you want to make one yourself. Let's get started!

Step 1: Re-Sawing

I cut down some small lumber from some oak a long time ago. Now that it's dry, I couldn't wait to use it up. So I re sawed it on my table saw to about 1/8" to 1/4" thick boards. I first ran it through with the blade less the half the height of the board. I did the same thing on the other side. Then, I raised the blade to above half the height of the board and got my first board. I just continued this process until I got enough boards. After that, I trimmed the outside edges to give me a nice straight edge for glueing.

Step 2: Glueing Your Panels.

Now if you print the PDF plans, you'll see what I'm talking about a little better, but I basically glue up three panels with two of them having the grain go lengthwise and one of them having the grain go widthwise. No tricks here. Just ran a bead of Titebond II wood glue along one edge and applied some clamping pressure. It helps to wrap a couple of boards in packing tape and clamp the panel in between them to keep everything flat.

Step 3: Glueing the Layers

Once the glue has dried, I used a hand plane to flatten off all the surfaces. After that, I glued the three layers together with the panels with lengthwise grain on the outside. I wanted to distribute the clamping pressure as evenly as I could, so I wrapped two pieces of plywood in wax paper and sandwiched the layers in between them. This helps evenly distribute clamping pressure and you won't have any dents on your cutting board from your clamps.

Step 4: Shaping It / Finishing Touches.

I then trimmed everything down to final size on the table saw and drilled a 1" hole for hanging it or picking it up. I used the bandsaw to round off the corners. I used a 1/4" round over bit in my router and eased over all the edges. I sanded from 150-400 and finished with beeswax and mineral oil. Beeswax mineral oil really needs to soak into the wood's pores for a durable finish, so I wiped it on kind of thick and then threw it in the oven for 20 minutes at a really low temperature to really melt the finish into the wood. I buffed it a little with a cloth rag and that was it! I hope this was helpful! Thank you for reading!



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    Ahhh! I see how you make it not warp! Very nice! I like it!

    End grain is used not because it is harder - actually it is not (think of breaking an end grain scrap of wood - much easier than a lengthwise grain). Cutting boards are made of end grain most because it is "self healing" - the fibers will shift and adjust to fill cuts and cracks. Your board would be lovely for occasional soft duty work (such as a cheese board) but would quickly get marred and splintered in a busy kitchen with sharp knives. Not everything has to be heavy duty but do not expect a cross- or lengthwise-grain to be durable. Personally, I would use a nice board like this on the table top for bread or serving snacks.

    2 replies

    Yeah I was going to say that too, and wanted to add --end-grain boards are very much easier on your knife edge.

    yea i don't quite care about that. just sand it up every now and then and i'm good to go.

    Dude, that was a cool thing you made, you really know your way around some power tools. Impressive, and great video. Nice way to upcycle and make something useful out of found material!

    1 reply

    thank you! You can never get too cocky with a power tool! Always respect the tool

    Excellent and informative, even by adding the surplus can make a lot of accessories.

    You put it in the oven? To dry the wood or to melt the wax ??

    1 reply

    The wood was bone dry....I wouldn't recommend putting even a little green wood in the oven as it would crack. I put it in the oven to melt the wax into the pores of the wood. It actually worked very well. I'm a turner and that beeswax is meant to be polished into wood at high speed to create friction which will do the same thing as the oven.

    Wow!! Always love seeing something being made lovingly out of wood

    1 reply