This Instructable is an update on how to make Custom Cutting Boards from scrap wood and offcuts. You can also see my original blog post at: http://fixthisbuildthat.com/how-to-make-a-cutting-board/
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Step 1: Prepare and Cut the Main Primary Boards to Size
I started with a 12' long piece of walnut offcut I got from a local Millwork shop. They literally take these big bundles to the dump so I love being able to save them and make useful items from them.
I make most of my cutting boards around 16" long so I setup my miter saw stand and adjusted the stop block to 16.5" and cut the boards.
I was able to get 4 pieces around 2-3/4" and 2 a little less than that. I ran them through my planer to get smooth faces on them and sized them down to 7/8" thick.
Then I ripped them to a little less than 1-1/4" wide on my tablesaw. I got 2 boards from each 2-3/4" piece and 1 out of the other 2 smaller boards for a total of 10 boards at 1-1/4" wide, 16.5" long and 7/8" thick.
Step 2: Prepare the Accent Woods and Strips
Using a similar process I grabbed a leftover maple and yellowhear board that were both 16" long. I flattened them on the planer, then ripped them to 1-1/4" wide.
To get the thinner size for the accents I turned the boards on edge and ran them through the tablesaw to rip them into two thinner pieces.
I flattened them thin strips on my planer and ended up with 2 maple and 2 walnut strips at 1/4" thick and 1 yellowheart strip about 3/8" thick.
Get creative and mix up the size position and number of accent strips to your liking.
Step 3: Glue Up the Board
I use parallel clamps, but you can use inexpensive bar clamps, or even quick clamps for this glue up. I stacked all the boards together and then flip each one 90 degrees towards me so the face to get the glue is up.
Then I put the glue on spread the it evenly over the boards with a glue brush.
After the glue is spread I just reverse the flipping process and then clamp the boards together, making sure the boards are as flat as possible and lined up on one edge.
Step 4: Surface the Board and Cut to Size
I let the glue dry overnight and then take the boards out of the clamps. There is usually a little bit of dried glue right around the clamps and I knock those pieces off with a scraper or putty knife.
Then I take one more trip to the planer to even out any misalignment from the glue up. Once the board is smooth on both sides I’m done and it only takes a few light passes to get there. You can see the board is still almost 1-¼” after all the whole process.
I square up each end of the board on the tablesaw using my crosscut sled and cut it to final length, which here ended up a smidge under 16” and about 9" wide.
Step 5: Round Over the Edges and Sand the Board
Next up is the edge treatment and sanding. I use a 1/16” roundover bit in my trim router router and go over all the edges.
Before sanding I draw pencil marks on the face of the board. This lets me know when I’ve sanded that very top surface away and am ready for the next grit. I start with 100 grit then go to 150 grit and repeat the same process.
Here is an important step especially for edge grain boards. After 150 grit I spray down the board with water. This raises the grain of the board and makes it rough to the touch. Basically you are making all the severed wood fibers from milling stand up on the board. Wet it down then let it dry. If you skip this step the first time you wash your new board it is going to feel very rough.
After it dries I sand to 220 then use a flexible sanding pad to smooth over all the edges and finish up by hand sanding with 320 and 400 grit paper for a super smooth finish.
Step 6: Apply Finish
The finish I use on these board is 100% mineral oil which is food safe. I cover the board in oil and let it soak up as much as it can. Then I let it dry a bit and come back with an oil and beeswax blend.
The beeswax blend protects better against water and also lets you bring a nice luster to the board after buffing it.
Just let the beeswax blend soak in and setup for about 15 minutes then come back and wipe of the excess and buff out the finish.
That's all there is! You can add feet if you like, but I like to keep both sides available for use for longer wear.
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