Cutting Boards

I was at a craft festival in Ohio this year where they had awesome cutting boards for sale.  I have a table saw, planer and jointer I purchased a while back for when I built our kitchen cabinets (saving thousands of dollars), so I figured that’s all I needed to build my own cutting board.  I want to the local lumber company and purchased several feet of rough cut Cherry and Black Walnut.

I own a Dewalt planer that is around 5 years old.  The current model of the same planer is DW734, shown below.  I paid $399 for it at Home Depot at the time, it’s on now for $349 and free Prime Shipping.  I’ve used the planer to build an entire set of hickory kitchen cabinets.  It is still using the original blades and planes incredibly smooth.  I have zero complaints.

Below is a look at the rough cut Cherry before planing it.

Below is a look at the rough cut Black Walnut before planing it.

I planed the Cherry into both 1 inch and 1/2 inch sections.  Once planed, I cut into strips as shown below:

I then planed the Black Walnut down to 3/4 inch and cut those in strips as shown below:

I didn’t worry about the burn marks as I was going to plane them down later.  Once all the pieces were cut, I layed them on their side to assemble the cutting board.  The various planer sizes, when laying the pieces on their sides, gives varying widths for each board type so it looks a little better.  You’ll see that later.

I layed all the pieces out side by side and began applying beads of wood glue as shown below:

I then used a glue brush to brush the beads out, making sure to cover every inch of the wood.  I didn’t worry about the glue running over the edges, I’ll explain why later:

Once the glue was spread out, I stacked the pieces on top of 2 wood clamps.  I’ve used several wood clamps in the past, none of the worked as good as the Jorgensen Cabinet Master clamps below:


Once the pieces are layed side by side on top of the clamps, I added 3 more clamps on their sides.  In all, I used 4 clamps to hold the cutting board together, as shown below.  Again, I didn’t worry about the glue all over the place:

At this point I let the glue dry for around 36 hours.  Below you can see the hardened glue after it has dried.  Next, I used a standard wide wood chisel to chisel off as much of the hardened glue as I could.

After I had as much glue chiseled off as possible, I ran both sides of the board back through the planer taking off as little as possible to get off the burn marks and any leftover glue.  I then cut the board to its final size and ran each of the sides through the jointer one more time to take off any burn marks or excess glue.  Once done, the board looked like this:

The final step was to use a router to round off each of the edges, do some light sanding and apply the Butcher Block Conditioner.  I applied 4 coats with 20 minutes inbetween so season the board. The exact conditioner I used is the Howard’s brand below:

When that was done, the grains and the colors in the wood were beautiful.  See below, you can see where the varying plane thicknesses give it a bit of a more rustic, uneven look.

As far as maintaining the cutting board once you start to use it, you’ll want to apply a single coat of the conditioner every 6 to 8 months or so depending on how much you use it.  Never wash the board with soap and water, you only need to wipe it down with a wet cloth and some hot water after using it.  If you’re worried about bacteria, there are some easy cleaning steps on the Food Network site below:

How to Clean a Wooden Cutting Board

I hope this article will help you should you decide to try and build your own cutting board.  Any comments or questions, use the form below and I’ll answer them for you.

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A mix of home improvement ideas, DIY projects, product reviews, compiled from years of owning my own home and refusing to pay anybody to do, build or fix anything that I couldn't figure out myself.