Introduction: Heirloom Cutting Board

About: I have worked in industry for 25+ years and have learned a lot from a lot of good people. I hope to pass a few things along and continue to learn new things!

I was looking for a gift idea for an upcoming wedding. I wanted to make something a bit personal with some family attachment. I thought a cutting board would be nice especially since I had some wood from a barn from his Great great grandfather's farm. The barn was falling down and a company came in and reclaimed the lumber. They left some pieces that had too many nails or were of too low a quality for their purposes. The current owner invited me to pick through any remaining wood to see if there was anything I would like. I found a few walnut boards around 12 feet long 1 inch thick and 18 to 24 inches wide. I had those available so I thought it would be nice to make a cutting board from part of the original homestead.

Step 1: Material Required

For this project you will need:


Tape measure and Square

Sabre Saw

Belt Sander

Orbital Sander with 80 and 120 grit paper

Drill and bits

Sand paper 220 grit

Peanut oil or mineral oil (In case of Peanut Allergies)

Step 2: Layout the Cutting Board

I wanted to make the board about 12" x 10". We have one that size and it comes in very handy. I was able to find a clear section on the piece of lumber that would work. After studying the lumber a little, I realized I could put a simple handle on the board to give it a little character. I worked around the splits, nails and defects and was able to pencil out an outline. On the corners I used a round guide to draw in a radius.

Step 3: Cut the Board

I used a Sabre Saw to cut out the board. I could have made much nicer, straighter cuts using other equipment, but the intention of this project was to give it a rustic, homemade look. The saw did a nice job of cutting it out and gave the project a little more character.

Step 4: Rough Sanding

I used the orbital Sander with 80 grit paper to do the edges and clean up the radius areas on the board.

The wood was a little warped. I used the Belt sander to flatten out the board. I used an 80 grit paper. On one side I sanded additional material off the outside edges and worked it flat. On the opposite side, the center was high and I had to sand a little more off that to get it nice and flat. After I was finished the board was now about 3/4" thick, but look very nice.

Step 5: Finish Sanding

I used an orbital Sander with 80 grit paper to go over the entire surface of the board. I then put a slight radius on all of the edges to give it a more finished look. Once I was satisfied with that, I switched to 120 grit paper and went over the entire surface and edges again.

Step 6: Drill the Hole in the Handle

In order to hang up the cutting board, I drilled a 5/16 hole in the handle. I drilled a smaller hole first and then drilled it to final size. After drilling the hole, I used a countersink to make a tapered finish.

Step 7: Detail Sanding

After the hole was drilled and countersunk it was time to do the final sanding. I used a piece of 220 grit paper and sanded the countersunk area. I also hand sanded the edges, radius areas and flat surface of the board. When finished the board was very smooth and brought out the character of the wood.

Step 8: Finishing

There are a couple of different oils you can use to finish the cutting board. From what I read, you do not want to use vegetable or olive oils. They can become rancid over time. I have treated other cutting boards and I always use Peanut Oil. You do have to be make sure the end user does not have a peanut allergy! I understand there are food grade mineral oils and special butcher block oils that can be used.

I put 3 coats of oil on this board. It was a simple matter of pouring some on the board an rubbing it in with a clean soft cloth. After the last coat, I rubbed it with a clean cloth to remove any excess. The oil really darkened it.

Step 9: Finished!

The cutting board has a rustic feel to it that matches the history and character of the lumber it was made from. Hopefully it makes a nice gift and is used for many years. I also made a Instructable for some matching wooden spoons out of the scrap edge cut off the board.

I hope you enjoyed this project and thanks for looking.