Introduction: 2x4 End Grain Cutting Board / Butcher Block

This is my first Instructable ever.

I want this post to be informative and simple.

Let's do this! ^_^

Step 1: Materials


  • 2 - 2x4 UNTREATED: $1.95
  • TiteBond III Glue "Waterproof": $8.00
  • Mineral Oil: $3.99 "Food Safe Finish"
  • Gulf Wax: $3.99 "Food Safe Finish"
  • 1" Anti-Skid Pads w/screws: $2.95
  • Sand Paper (not shown)

Machines and Tools

  • Bar Clamps
  • Quick hand clamps
  • Glue Scraper
  • Power Miter Saw
  • Table Saw
  • Surfacer/Planer
  • Radial Arm Saw
  • Random Orbit Sander
  • Router

Step 2: Power Miter Saw

  • Cut two 2x4 in half. Right at 48"

Step 3: Table Saw

1st Cut

  • Rip all 2x4's in half at 1-3/4", USE A PUSH STICK!!!

2nd Cut

  • Set the rip fence to 1-1/2"
  • Cut off all the curved edges.

Step 4: Clamps

Clamping - 5 total clamps

  1. Lay cardboard on the table.
  2. Lay 3 bar clamps on the cardboard. (1 clamp in the middle, 2 for the outsides)
  3. Lay 2x4 material on clamps.
  4. Spread glue on the "smooth" edge of every joint, (do not glue your boards to your metal clamps) ^_^
  5. Put the last 2 clamps on top.
  6. Apply pressure. ALSO use a rubber mallet to hit boards that warp up.
  7. Allow the glue to cure for minimum of 1 hour (longer is better). Do not stress joints for 24 hours.

Step 5: Surface

Glue Scraping

  1. Use 2 hand clamps to hold material.
  2. Use a glue scraper.
  3. Scrape the BIG beads of glue. (don't sweat the small stuff) ^_^

Surfacer Machine

  1. Measure your material thickness. Mine comes out to be around 1-7/16".
  2. Set surfacer to above measurement.
  3. Make 1/16" cut every pass until the glue beads are completely gone.
  4. Do the same on the other side of the board until the beads of glue are gone.

FYI: I feel that any and every cutting board project practically requires the use of a surfacer somewhere in the process. Otherwise, it is nearly impossible to create a perfectly smooth, even surface...quickly. If you do not have a surfacer, then perhaps call a local lumber company.

Random Orbit Sander (Optional)

  • I used 120 grit on both sides

Step 6: Crosscut

Radial Arm Saw

  • Cut the board in half.

If you have a table saw "sled", then use that.

I didn't have a table saw sled so I improvised and used a radial arm saw for the wide crosscuts.

Crosscut in fourths if that's what you need.

Table Saw Crosscutting

  • Set the rip fence to 2-1/8"
    • 2-1/8" will be how tall my cutting boards will be.
    • By crosscutting at 2-1/8", I will have 1 rectangle cutting board (15"x12") and 1 square cutting board (12"x12").
    • IF you want 2 cutting boards that are rectangle (15"x12"), then crosscut at 1-5/8", give or take.

Step 7: Alternate Tree Rings

Flip Up and Rotate

  1. Align all of the crosscut pieces so they look like the original board.
  2. Flip all of the pieces up on END in the same direction (so you can see the tree rings on top)
  3. Next, rotate every "even number" 180 degrees. 2,4,6,8,10 etc.
  4. Next step is gluing.

Step 8: Clamps

Clamping - 3 total clamps

  • This step is almost identical to the first gluing process.
    • The only difference is to not glue the 2 cutting boards together near the middle.
  • I prefer NOT to wipe the glue on this step. If you wipe the glue, it will push the glue into the end grain and then cause you to have to sand more in the next step.

Boards on the sides

  • I used 3 quick grip clamps to clamp two boards on the sides so the cutting boards would stay straight.
  • Once the metal bar clamps are tightened, then uninstall the two boards on the side.
  • Do not let them cure on the sides.

Step 9: Surface and Edges

Glue Scraping

  • Scrape just the BIG beads of glue.

FYI I did not use the surfacer for the end grain surface. I think it is too tough on the blades to make a cut on the end grain. If you have a surfacer and you want to use it, then that is up to you.

Random Orbit Sanding

Sand both cutting boards, top and bottom.

Time: took me 20mins to thoroughly do the job.

Sand evenly on the surface. Otherwise, you will have low spots like mine. oops ^_^

  • I used 3 different grit levels: (it's what I had at the time)
    1. 40 grit
    2. 100 grit
    3. 150 grit

Table Saw - Cut to Dimensions

1 - 12x12

1 - 15x12

  1. Shave a little on any given side.
  2. Rotate 90 degrees clockwise and shave a little on that side.
  3. Rotate 90 degrees again and cut to dimension.
  4. Rotate 90 degrees one last time and cut to dimension.
  5. Repeat for the other cutting board at the given dimensions.

Router Edges - 1/2" Round Over

  • Router all 4 corners first. To prevent "chip out" on the edges.
  • Then, router all of the edges, top and bottom.

Sand Edges

  • I used a sanding block with grit levels of:
    1. 120 grit
    2. 150 grit
    3. 220 grit

Step 10: Finish

Paste wax finish - Food Safe!

Most people just use pure mineral oil to finish their cutting boards.

I wanted to make a finish that was more water resistant. So I came up with an 8:1 mixture that uses a food safe wax, paraffin wax!

8:1 Ratio

  • 1 cup mineral oil = 8 ounces
  • Half block of Gulf Wax (paraffin wax) = 1 ounce
  1. Melt the paraffin wax and the mineral oil together. I used a mug in simmering hot water.

Apply the paste wax finish

  1. I heated the paste wax a little before applying. (I feel it spreads better that way)
  2. I applied the paste wax with my hands. My clean hands of course!^_^
  3. Allow the first layer of finish to soak for 20 mins.
  4. Apply three more layers before using!

DO NOT HEAT UP THE CUTTING BOARD. If the cutting board gets hot, it will dry the wood and begin to crack. We do not want cracks in our cutting board.

Step 11: Anti-Skid Pads

Anti-Skit Pads

  • Install pads 1" away or more from the corners.


My rectangle cutting board was a little warped, so I used a small washer to give the pad a boost.

Step 12: Care and Maintenence


  • Apply a layer of mineral oil and wax once a month or when cutting board feels dry.
    • Allow the mineral oil time to soak.
  • DO NOT allow liquids and water to stand on the cutting board for long periods of time.
  • Be careful when cutting raw meat (beef, poultry and fish). Your cutting board must be thoroughly waxed.
    • I personally will NOT cut raw meat on my cutting board. I sometimes will for cooked meats.
  • Sanitize your cutting board with mild soap and water. Dry thoroughly.
    • You could also use a fresh cut lemon to sanitize and freshen the smell.

Sanding - Last result

If you feel your cutting board is beyond worn, then sanding may be your best option.

  1. Use Random Orbit Sander with grit levels of:
    1. 150 grit
    2. 220 grit (optional)

Step 13: ENJOY!!!

This was a fun and inexpensive project! Materials cost me approximately $15.

I hope my post was informative and simple like I said.

Thanks for reading!

Please vote and help me in the 2x4 Contest ^_^

Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for men.

-Colossians 3:23

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