Introduction: Houndstooth Pattern Cutting Board
I’ve always wanted to make a houndstooth end grain cutting board. Houndstooth is a timeless pattern and I think it would be a unique look for a cutting board. In order to create the pieces, I had to figure out what goes into the pattern. I broke it apart and ultimately it comes down to three square pieces: a light colored wood square, a dark colored wood square, and a square with four stripes of light and dark wood. Knowing that, I can start my project!
Step 1: Making Stripes Pieces
The most difficult part of this project is making the stripes so I started with that step. I’m using white oak and walnut to make this project. My cutting board will be made out of squares that are approximately 7/8” long and wide, and the cutting board is about 1-1/2” thick. The oak and walnut stripe blocks need to run at an angle. I glued up strips of oak and walnut to form blocks that are about 1-1/4” tall and wide.
I set my table saw blade at a 45 degree angle and cut off one edge of the strips. Then I turned the blade back to 90 degrees and cut the remaining sides. This results in my stripes running at an angle.
Step 2: Cut the Remaining Pieces
I cut oak and walnut pieces that are the same size width and thickness of my striped pieces, which are 7/8”.
Once these were cut, I was able to form my pattern. The cutting board needs to be assembled in three steps. I alternated the striped pieces with oak ones to form one panel. I did the same with the walnut pieces. It’s important to make sure that the stripes are running in the same direction. This is easy to overlook.
Step 3: Gluing the Board Together
The size of the cutting board is dependent how many pieces you use and the length of those pieces. If you want a wider cutting board then add more oak, walnut and striped pieces. If you want the board longer then use longer pieces.
I glued the oak pieces and striped pieces together. Separately, I glued the walnut and striped pieces together. To make this a bit easier, I made a jig from particle board using glue and pin nails. This gives me a flat surface for assembling the pieces and applying cauls across the top.
Once those two panels are dry, I sanded them down and cross cut them on the table saw. I cut mine at 1-1/2” wide. Those pieces are then turned on their edge and arranged to make the final houndstooth pattern. The walnut/striped ones have to be turned at 180 degrees during assembly. I made sure that the pattern looked perfect and then I glued all of those pieces together.
Step 4: Flattening the Board
No matter how careful you are with gluing together the cutting board, it likely won’t be perfectly flat. There are a few ways to flatten an end grain cutting board. The easiest way is to use a CNC. If you don’t have a CNC then I’d recommend using a router sled. I have an Instructable on how to make one if you don’t know how. https://www.instructables.com/Chainsaw-Mill-Slab-Router-Sled/
Once the board was flattened, I cut a bevel on each end to make it easier to pick up. I sanded the cutting board from 80 grit through 220 grit sandpaper.
Step 5: Applying Finish
There are a few ways to finish a cutting board. Most people soak it in mineral oil and call it a day. While that’s a fine finish, it’s not my favorite because mineral oil doesn’t dry. I’m also not in love with how the board looks with just a mineral oil finish. This is what I do instead.
I thin down some salad bowl finish with mineral spirits. Salad bowl finish is food safe once cured and mineral spirits evaporates. With the finish thinned, it easily soaks down into the wood. I apply finish until it starts to soak through the underside. I make sure to not leave any puddled on the surface. I only want the finish in the center of the board. Once it’s dry, I sand the board again with 220 grit and then apply mineral oil and wax. The center of the board is protected from moisture, and the knife is only touching the oil/wax surface.
Step 6: Enjoy Your New Cutting Board!
Enjoy using your new cutting board. If you make this, you will have a ton of people ask about it the moment they see it. It will be a stunning piece in your kitchen!
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