In this Instructable I am going to teach you how to make a Meat and Cheese End Grain Cutting Board!
This makes a fantastic gift and a great display piece for dinner parties. Everyone will want one, so you've been warned.
The process is pretty easy and if you follow the steps I think you will be amazed what you can create.
Take your time, be accurate, and enjoy the process.
Let's go for it. A lot of fun. Come on.
-Black Rabbit Designs
Step 1: Let's Get Started!
You will need the following for this project:
#1. Hardwood - begin by selecting your building materials - for a cutting board, you will want to use only hardwoods such as Maple, Walnut, Ash, Butternut, Mahogany, Cherry, etc. This project uses Butternut, Maple and Cherry. You will need a total amount of 12" wide and 14" in length
#2. Table Saw
#3. Glue - For cutting boards it is recommended to use food safe products. I use Titebond #3 which can be purchased at Lee Valley.
#4. Finish - You can use a variety of finishes such as beeswax, mineral oil or other food safe products. In our case we will use Tried and True Danish Oil from Lee Valley.
#5. Sander(s) - I use three different types - belt, orbital and finishing. However, you can use just an orbital and a sanding block if that's all you have available
#6. Sander Paper - use a variety of grits beginning with 60 all the way up to 300.
#7. Clamps - several pipe clamps are recommended
#8. Cloths - lint free, or an old cotton T-shirt
Optional - but very useful items:
Step 2: The First Cut Is the Deepest.
Before you head to the table saw, make sure your hardwood is square and all your boards are the same thickness. You can either buy your boards like this, or, if you have a jointer and a planer you can square them up and get them all to equal thickness.
Being accurate to start will save you a lot of headache later!
Once this is achieved, proceed to the table saw. Using a square, ensure that your table saw is set to 90 degrees to ensure accurate cuts.
In this project we are going to cut our strips in various widths to achieve a scattered look. Feel free to use any different combinations you like and be creative!
I used a variety of widths anywhere and up to 1" and 1/4" wide. You can cut your boards as long or as short as you like, depending on the size of the board you would like to make. In our case, the board is approx. 10" x 10".
Cut your boards a few inches greater than you want your final product to be as there will be some waste. To achieve this size, cut your boards at least 14" long.
Step 3: Design Your Board and Glue Up #1
Once all your strips are cut, lay them out on your table and decide what pattern you want them in.
Try to change the layout so your switching up the size and colours of the wood, move them around and scatter them. Be creative, there is no right and wrong pattern. Do what suits your eye.
*HINT* Keep in mind, we will be reversing the order. So the edges will change. By having a different colour wood at each end of your work piece you will a achieve the look we have in the end product shown.
Apply a thorough coat of glue to each piece of wood. The glue dries fairly quickly, so, make sure you are ready with your clamps handy.
Clamp with even pressure and follow the directions on the glue bottle for drying time. Wipe or scrape off as much excess glue as possible before it dries to limit sanding.
Once your product is dry and you have given the glue time to cure, you want to make sure your work piece is flat. You may have some cupping or bowing which you can work out by sanding, or if you have a planer.
Step 4: Cut, Flip, Rotate, Glue #2!
Head back to the table saw and turn your work piece in the opposite direction of the way the wood is running.
You will need to square one end of you work piece first.
Then cut your board, unlike in Step #2, into equal width strips. This product uses a 3/4" strip. The size of the strip will determine how thick the board is.
Once your strips are all cut, you will now lay them out onto your table again.
Take each strip and flip them one time so that the end grain is facing up.
Then, take every other piece and rotate it so that every other end is different.
You are now ready to do your final gluing! Follow the same steps as before for gluing and clamping.
After gluing, if you would like to have rounded edges you can do so with a router, band saw, belt sander, or tediously by hand. Simply use a lid and draw the size of rounded edge you would like to achieve on all four corners and shave off the excess material. I think it adds a nice contrast to the square end grain look!
Step 5: Sand, Sand, Sand...Finish! Enjoy!
You are now at the tedious stage of sanding your work piece.
This is where all the magic starts to happen.
Begin with a 60 grit sandpaper. We want to get the piece free of any bumps or high points as well as free it of any burn marks from your table saw. Let your hand be your guide.
Gradually work up in grits. 60, 80, 120, 180, 220, 300. Its worth it. Trust me.
Now that you have reached 300 it is so smooth and soft! Congratulations.
Time to finish it.
Apply the oil with a cloth. If you have lint free clothes around, those work great. Otherwise, an old cotton T-shirt works just fine. Begin by applying a thin coat and really working the oil into the grain. End grain cutting boards will soak up the oil a lot. Be prepared to apply 3 coats, letting each coat dry in between. When you are satisfied, shine and buff to perfection! Behold, you've done it!
Head out and grab your best meat, cheese, baguette and wine.
Step 6: Maintenance Department.
Cutting boards are not meant to be in water.
Wash promptly after use with a moderately wet cloth and wipe dry immediately.
You can use lemon juice for sterilizing.
Eventually you will want to oil your board again and after years of use, re-sand to a brand new shine.