Introduction: $500 Cutting Board W/ Tropical Woods
This large, chunky chopping board was made using a selection of tropical woods. If you look around fancy cooking stores, sometimes you come across thick cutting boards which are beautiful, however the prices can get really high. Usually those boards are made with walnut or maple, never mind purple heart or camaru or some variety like that. So as I was cleaning out my wood supply, I came across my complete collection of my tropic woods and I figured, why not use the entire amount and create the ultimate cutting board!
Step 1: Milling
I started out with about 12 board feet of tropical wood, a variety of purple heart, camaru, ipe, angel heart, and a few boards which I wasn't even use exactly what they were! The first step in the process was milling them wood up. So I began with running each board first through the jointer and then through the power planer.
Step 2: Cutting
The real challenge here is to utilize as much as I possibly can of the wood. Since the pieces are not all of perfect lengths and thicknesses, I've divided them into two sections of different heights, that way I was able utilize the bigger pieces and the smaller pieces. Since I'm doing an end grain cutting board, there will be two glue ups, and for first glue up, I'm making two boards, which later on will turn into one board. Right now it doesn't matter if the those two boards are of the same height, but it's a bit of puzzle to figure out exactly where you can place each piece of wood, and try to get as little waste as possible. So at this point I'm cutting all the wood on the table saw to two fit in into one of the piles.
Step 3: Length of the Board
The other thing I wanted to make sure of was the length. I wanted the final board to measure about 23 inches in length, so I figured if I got these boards to be 24 inches long, I could do the glue up lengthwise as opposed to the short direction.
Step 4: First Glue Up
For glue, I'm using Titebond III, which is waterproof. So one of the boards is about 2 1/8 inch thick and the other one is about 1 3/4 inch thick. I clamped both boards up well and let them set up.
Step 5: Cutting the Two Boards
So now I have my two boards, and first of all I trimmed both boards up, then I ran them through the planer again. Next up, I need to cut the final pieces to glue up. At first I was planning on making the board 2 1/2 inch thick. But I realized if I did that, it would only be about 14 inches deep, whereas if I cut it to 2 1/8 inch thick, I could get it to be a little over 17 inches deep. So at this point I just cut both boards into the same size strips.
Step 6: Final Glue Up
Once all my pieces were cut up I glued them together again, alternating the direction of the pieces to create a somewhat random pattern of the wood.
Step 7: Trimming
Once the glue had dried I released the clamps and scraped off any extra glue. The board was quite heavy at this point! I trimmed the sides on the table saw to clean it up for the final dimension.
Step 8: Sanding
At this point, the board was too large for my 15 inch planer, so I sanded it by hand instead, first using a belt sander and then an oscillating sander. The trick with sanding a cutting board is to do it slowly and evenly across the entire board as you don't want any high points. Next, I ran the board on the router and made the corners softer.
Step 9: Feet
For feet, I cut up a rubber board into squares. I wanted the board to be very secure on the counter, plus adding feet raises it up a bit. To secure the feet, I used contact cement.
Step 10: Finish
For a finish, I added my mineral oil and beeswax polish which is food safe. And the wood is quite thirsty, so I first add a liberal amount, turn it over, and then I add another coat, and sometimes a third before wiping it off.
Step 11: Conclusion - Watch the Video
For a much better perspective, make sure to watch the video that goes over the complete process of building board, plus shows the final result.