A handmade cutting board is a great small project for any woodworker who saves their scraps from larger projects. These can be created for almost zero materials cost when made from scraps, and they go together quickly.
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The basic process for a laminated cutting board is to select the woods that will be used, and then glue them together at the edges with a strong wood glue.
Next, the pieces are passed through a planer or sanded by hand to level the surface. A nice bevel is routed around the edges, and finally a food safe finish is applied. If you do not have a thickness planer, you can always sand them by hand or with a belt sander. It will take a little longer, but it will work out just fine.
Glue the boards together with a good quality wood glue like Titebond Original, and allow them to dry before leveling the surface and beveling the edges. Be careful on the router, as the end grain can chip near the edges.
Sand everything smooth and break any sharp edges with 220 grit sandpaper by hand. This only requires a few passes with the paper, just enough to remove any sharpness around the edges.
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No matter what kind of wood you use for your handmade cutting board, arrange them for looks. The contrast and interplay of wood species should be shown off.
The finish on a handmade cutting board is a little different than on something that will not contact food. Look at ready made finishes that are sold for cutting boards and butcher blocks. These are typically Mineral Oil based, and will not contaminate food when used according to the instructions.
Handmade cutting boards can be crafted in any size or shape, and there is a trend for narrower, longer boards. These are typically used as serving trays, and can be a nice way to display food at a party or dinner.
Caring for these boards is a little different than caring for a plastic cutting board. These cannot be allowed to soak in water, and they need to be washed after every use. Wash the surface carefully to remove any food residue, and then dry the surface with a towel. Leave the board on the counter to fully dry, and it can then be stored away.
Cutting boards are a great way to put some of the woodworking scraps from larger projects to good use. Since this wood is already bought and paid for, any project you make from the scraps is essentially free. Having several smaller projects that make use of scraps can really help maximize the dollars spent with every wood purchase.
My article on my Briar Wedding Ring shows you what is possible to create and sell with even the smallest scraps that are produced in the shop.
Any questions about making cutting boards, please leave me a comment and I will be glad to give you a hand.
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