Making a Beautiful Wood Cutting Board

You'll want one of these easy-to- build babies for cutting your favorite breads & vegetables and also for decorating your kitchen counter or walls.

Multi-Species Wooden Cutting Board.  

Special thanks to Jim Birkenheimer of Timbergreen for teaching us this method for making beautiful cutting boards.  The pictures below are from his workshop in Spring Green, Wisconsin.  Read more about Jim and his wonderful ideas at http://www.timbergreenforestry.com/.

This is a great project that can be made with short lengths (12"+).  A great use for scraps of wood.  To make this cutting board a true work of art, use different species & colors of wood.

 

Tools used in this project: 

Planer, Router, Table-Saw, Wood Glue, 4-Way clamps, orbital sander, hearing protectors, safety glasses.  . 

Step 1:  Plane or use planed wood.   Plane several different thicknesses of wood.  Do not try to cut all the wood pieces to the same width.  These different widths will add to the beauty of the cutting board.  

Step 2:  Decide thickness desired for cutting board.  I made mine 1".   Use table saw to cut lots of 1" strips of wood.

 

COOL TIP:  Jim showed us how a plastic coke bottle (see picture above) with a slit cut in the cap makes a great glue dispenser.

Step 3:  Cut strips to desired length of cutting board plus 1" or so to be cut off later. 

Step 4:  Glue different strips together to form total width of total board. Do not exceed allowable width for your planer.  In other words, don't make a 14" wide cutting board if you only have a 12" wide planer. 

The variable widths and color/species are best to alternate to enhance contrast & beauty.  We used Elmers Wood Glue.  Really cover both sides completely.  Be a little messy. 

Step 5:  Clamp strips.  If available, use 4 direction clamps.  

What are 4 direction clamps?   They allow you to clamp down all four sides at once.  Cool.   Woodcraft.com sells them. 

Step 6:  REMOVE CLAMPS AFTER 1 HOUR.  If not, you may not be able to remove your clamps.  

Step 7:  Pass board through planer. Pass through until you have a smooth surface on both sides.

 

Step 8: Cut ends to equal length.  (Remember I asked you to leave the lengths about 1" or so longer than needed.) 

 

Step 9:  Make hole with drill.  As you can see, we used a drill press for ours.   We used 1.5" bit. 

This is my sister Elizabeth making her first cutting board at Jim's shop in Wisconsin.

Step 10: Round edges with a router if available to you.  Otherwise skip to step 11 and simply sand edges smooth. 

Step 11:  Sand with orbital or vibrating style finish sander.  Use the following grits (or something close) in the following order:  80, 120, 240, or 320.   You'll need to hand-sand the inside of the hole.

Step 12:  Finish with food grade mineral oil.  You can use this often on your board to prevent drying and to help seal the wood.

 

Voila!  

to learn more about my family's adventure in Wisconsin learning Timbergreen Sustainable Forestry techniques...click here.

    

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