Introduction: Wood Cutting Board
When I was making a chess board for a friend I realized similar methods could be used to make some cutting boards for Christmas gifts.
Step 1: Select the Wood
The reason for making these boards was to create something I could give to my sisters made out of black cherry lumber that originally was a tree on my Fathers farm. I used some maple, mahogany that was left over from other projects and I also purchased some expensive walnut from my local lumber yard.
I have to admit once I got started I went and bought some more wood because I kept thinking of others that I wanted to give a cutting board to.
If you do a little research online you learn which types of hardwood are best for cutting boards. Maple, cherry and walnut are good, mahogany is questionable but I used it anyway because I had it. After I was done and applied the mineral oil finish I think I have a couple of boards that I mistook poplar for maple.
Step 2: Ripping Multiple Widths of Wood
Utilizing a table saw I cross cut each board to about 21 inches, then I ripped each type into multiple widths
Step 3: Arrange the Wood Into a Pleasing Pattern
Since the "legacy" cherry was limited I tried to center it and arrange the other colors and widths into a pleasing pattern.
Step 4: Glue Up
I utilized waterproof wood glue and applied it on the sides and clamped it up. It helps to have wax paper under the glue up and a couple of straight 1x underneath to make sure you keep it flat when you clamp it up. Also I learned the hard way make sure your table saw blade is exactly 90 degrees by using a carpenters square. If you rip your stock at a slight angle it's almost impossible to glue up a flat cutting board. After you clamp up make sure you clean as much glue as possible off while it's still wet.
Step 5: Sanding
Power tools and patience needed for this step. I do not have a planer, but I do have a belt sander and a random orbit palm sander. I used the belt sander first with about 60 grit sandpaper. The belt sander does the heavy cutting. Then I followed up with 60-120-220 grit using the random orbit. I left the boards 21 inches long as its easier to use a belt sander on a longer piece that can be clamped in the workmate.
Step 6: Cut the Boards to Length
I glued them up about 6 inches wide by 21 inches long so after sanding both faces and sides I trimmed up the ends and cut the length in half to leave a finished cutting board of about 6 x10 inches.
Step 7: Sand Some More
Use your eye and your touch to determine when you are done sanding the faces. After cutting to length the ends need to be sanded.
Step 8: Round Over the Corners or Not
I used a router to round over the corners of some and left some with square corners. You will have to sand the edges again after using the router.
Step 9: Mineral Oil Finish
I bought mineral oil at my local grocery in the pharmacy section. Just paint it on to all sides and let it soak in. Multiple coats over many days.
Step 10: Finished Boards
When I started this project it was to create gifts for my sisters that used a piece of cherry wood to remind them of my dad. However maple and walnut trees played more prominent roles in our childhoods. A maple tree was in the front yard of our childhood home and huge maple trees shaded my grandparents farmhouse. Walnut trees were not as common on the family farms but were more highly prized for the yearly nut crop and the value of the tree as lumber. Mahogany, I guess it represents our children and grand-children's future exotic adventures.
But I finally decided the boards represent the beauty of diversity.
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