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Perfect for Beginners
If you love food (let’s face it, who doesn’t?), consider how it got to your plate. No matter where your fresh produce or savory cheese was made, it needs to be chopped, cooked, or otherwise prepared on–you guessed it–a cutting board. Cutting boards are often the most overlooked culinary heroes.
Making your own gives you an added edge when it comes to food prep. This project can be simple or complex, made advanced by adding design elements and experimenting with colors and wood types.
Ultimately, cutting boards are a great beginner woodworking project. Our easy-to-follow tutorial provides the basis for a quality, food-safe DIY cutting board.Continue to 2 of 10 below.
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To make a multi-faceted board like this one, you will need at least two pieces of hardwood. The varieties, colors and sizes are up to you. The rest of the materials include:
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- Electric sander and/or sandpaper
- Table saw
- Wood glue
- Food-safe finish
- 2 wood or pipe clamps
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Choose Your Wood
Head to your local hardware store or lumber mill to look for multiple pieces of hardwood. Using soft wood, like pine, can lead to a warped cutting board. Sticking to hardwoods is crucial for this project.
If you have leftover wood from previous projects, check there before looking at a store. You can often find scraps in your own supply that will look great when glued together to make a solid board. The type, texture and color of hardwood may differ between pieces.Continue to 4 of 10 below.
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Decide how you’d like to arrange your wood pieces for this project. Keep it simple or make interesting designs with alternating colors. Alternate the direction of wood grain on each piece to minimize seasonal warping. It may be helpful to use a pencil to number your ordered pieces for later use.Continue to 5 of 10 below.
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Trim Wood Pieces
Use a table saw to make clean, straight edges on each of your wood pieces. This step makes for a clean finished product. If it’s too tough to make your edges completely smooth or straight, use an electric sander to finish the job. Having clean edges makes gluing the wood pieces together easier and avoids pesky cracks in the cutting surface.
Ensure safety by using a smaller piece of scrap wood to push your slab of wood through the table saw and keep fingers away from the blade.Continue to 6 of 10 below.
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Glue Pieces Together
Wood glue is designed for extra stickiness. It’s the only way to make this cutting project, so using other types of glue is not a good idea.
If your wood glue comes in a squirt container, use that to deposit a generous amount onto one edge of your wood segment. Attach another wood piece by sticking it onto the glue-covered edge.
Continue this process until your cutting board layout looks just how you envisioned. Immediately wipe off any excess wood glue with a damp cloth or allow it to dry and remove the excess with a chisel.Continue to 7 of 10 below.
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Clamp the Board in Place
The time it takes for wood glue to dry varies, so follow any instructions on the bottle. While it dries, use woodworking clamps to tightly hold the pieces in place.
In the meantime, find the right sandpaper. For this project, it’s best to slowly transition from coarse to fine grit.Continue to 8 of 10 below.
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Sandpaper will take longer than an electric sander, but either will get this job done. Sand your new cutting board to your heart’s desire, preferably so all surfaces are uniform and smooth. If you want a softer look, use a sander or router to create rounded edges.Continue to 9 of 10 below.
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Add Food-Safe Finish
Salad bowl finish, mineral oil, beeswax–whatever you use to create a glossy and water-resistant surface must be food-safe. The product you use may come with cutting board seasoning instructions. If not, a general rule is to apply multiple coats with complete drying in between sessions. A clean rag works well to distribute oil and wipe off excess.Continue to 10 of 10 below.
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Now that your board has dried, it’s time to put it to good use. Whether you use it to display charcuterie or prep a salad, you’re in good hands. This useful DIY project also makes for a great gift, just be sure to include a little extra seasoning oil and proper care instructions.