22 December 2014
I made these two long grain cutting boards as Christmas presents for my brother and my mother. A cutting board is one of the simplest woodworking projects possible, but there is still a lot that goes into making a good one.
It starts with wood choice. I picked maple, dark walnut, and padauk. These were heavy on the maple. In the future, I would make padauk the base, due to its excellent water resistance and its natural antiseptic properties. The maple tends to raise grain when it gets wet for the first time. Not a big deal. it just needs to be sanded back down. The high oil content of Padauk means it stays smooth even after wetting.
Building these was quite easy. I just ripped a bunch of strips of wood the same size and glued them together, making sure to keep them as flat as possible during the glue-up. Be careful not to pinch any newspaper or plastic in the gaps as you tighten the strips together. I did on mine, but it was close to the top and it was sanded out with a bit of extra work. I attempted to sand them flat by hand, which was a nightmare. If you do not own a thickness planer, as I do not, get someone who has one to do it for you. It's way too hard to do that by hand - trust me. So after getting my boards back from CO Lumber where I had it planed, all that remained was to round the corners and finish the edges. Then I carefully sanded them by hand up the grits and applied mineral oil (butcher block oil.)
Be sure that whatever you finish them with is food safe, doesn’t have a taste, and is odorless.