Homemade cutting board

I love wood cutting boards and solid butcher blocks.  I love natural elements in a kitchen and they kind of make me feel like a real chef- the only downside is that they are really expensive.  I have been collecting on Pinterest some of the cutting boards that I really like with the hopes of making my own in the not too distant future.

As luck would have it I found an extra piece of wood in my store that was left over from when my cash area was made by my carpenter.  Truth be told I originally had a different purpose for it.  This week my carpenter is installing a shelf and sewing table in my house and I was going to use the slab of wood that I had found for a thread holder.  I had actually already stained one side of it only to change my mind and sand it all off and cut it the wood into two pieces….perfect for a cutting board!

On a scale of one to ten -ten being most difficult and one being easy–this project is definitely a one.  This is a perfect project for a beginner.

The first step is finding  a piece of wood.  I had a slab of oak which is perfect for a cutting board because it is naturally hard.  I wouldn’t use found wood for this project- based on food safety….you just never know what found wood could have on it.  In my internet searches I saw lovely slabs of wood with the bark still on- really beautiful and with a modern and rustic element and the ability to work in many different styles of kitchens.

So after you have decided on the wood the next step is to decide on the shape.  This has endless possibilities.  I went with a simple rectangle shape – I did a Pinterest board of different shapes for inspiration- there are some really beautiful ideas out there.

http://pinterest.com/swlodarski/cutting-boards/

Then you need to cut it out with a saw.  I have a jigsaw which did the job nicely.  The piece was only three cm thick so I didn’t have any problems.

Next you need to sand.  This takes the most time.  An electric sander is necessary.  You could sand by hand but it would take forever.  I used a rotary sander and started with 60 grit sandpaper and rounded all the edges and corners.  Then I moved up to 80 making sure to get all sides and make certain the piece was level.  Then up to 120 grit to smooth out the wood and prepare for the finish.

Once the sanding step was complete and I was happy with the shape I wiped down the board with a damp cloth to remove all the dust.   Then I applied a mineral oil to seal the wood.  The oil MUST be safe for food!  It seals the wood to prevent damage from oils and acids but most importantly it is non toxic so you can use the cutting board as a cutting board!!  Simply using an oil such as canola or olive oil does not do the job.  It doesn’t penetrate the wood properly and often gets dirty and gummy. There are special oils you can buy for this particular purpose.

I did three applications of the mineral oil allowing the wood to dry between each.  I simply applied with a paper towel making sure to get all sides.

Because I had initially applied stain to one side I didn’t want to use this side….just in case.  I am certain I got all the stain off but I wasn’t willing to take the chance.  Another issue is water damage.   I wanted to raise the board off the counter top with little legs.  There are rubber legs you can purchase at most DIY stores that simple screw into the wood.  The little legs also prevent slipping when you are cutting.

And this is the result!

The little leg is barely visible- which is exactly what I wanted.

I did two of them from the one slab of oak I had.  One is smaller and has more rounded edges.  I think I am going to expand on this idea for my store.  It is a great time filler project and so easy to do and it makes a great gift!

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2 thoughts on “Homemade cutting board

    1. Sean, of all the choices of wood I wouldn’t go with pine. my thoughts are that it is a really soft wood and would show cuts easily, and could hold bacteria if not washed properly. Also, usually there are loads of knots in pine planks.
      Oak is a really hard wood, as is bamboo–if you can get a plank of it.
      It would be worth investigating what hard woods are local to you. Another good one is birch. But- oak is typically available everywhere.

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