If you want to try out woodworking or want to create something by yourself, then making your own cutting board is an easy DIY project. The work can be uncomplicated, meaning you can use just a single piece of wood or you can try a more complex project using several pieces of old wood. This article will focus on how to make a simple cutting board.
If you are a beginner, you will need to ask some people who are more experienced to help you identify the right piece to start with. While all wood chunks look the same to an untrained eye, they have different properties that can either make them the best starting piece or require a bit more work. For example, you will want to ask an expert at the lumberyard for a single piece of wood with a face grain as a great starter.
A face grain is the best option for beginners because it is easy, plus it looks great as it can show off the wood well. However, it is not as durable as an end or edge grain but these will require more tools and more time to prepare. Cutting boards made from such wood parts are beyond the skills of most DIYers and will end up with a product too expensive if they are planning to sell it.
Thus, for the sake of simplicity, below are instructions on how to make a cutting board from a log that is easy enough even for a beginner.
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What You Need
First of all, you need to have the right materials and equipment. The first is, of course, the wood. This is the most important step, as it will dictate the quality of your cutting board later on. You want something that is strong, safe for use with food, and close-grained.
As mentioned above, you can consult an expert in finding the right kind of wood, but cherry, walnut, and maple are usually chosen for this purpose. Though some people opt to recycle wood or use wood chunks, you might find using a new piece of wood best especially since your cutting board will be used with food. Make sure it is flat and straight, to reduce your work of trying to make everything even.
The tools you need include a drill press with a 1 and 1/8 inch hole saw (you may also opt to use a power drill), a rounder with roundover bit with a 1/8 inch radius, random orbit sander that has 220-grit sandpaper disk, extra sandpaper for hand sanding (220 to 320 grit), and a combination square. Lastly, you will need wood oil for your DIY cutting board finish, just make sure that you purchase the one for exactly this purpose.
Steps In Making Your Own Chopping Board
Once you have all you need ready, including the space to work on, you can begin the few steps to create your chopping board. If you choose a simple piece of wood, you will find these steps easy and do not require much expertise.
Step 1: Shaping
Depending on your needs or preferences, you will first need to cut your piece of wood into the size you want your chopping board to be. To do this, you will need your miter saw. You can opt for an easy rectangular or square shape, but you may cut off a corner to make it look more interesting. You may also look at the piece of wood for a nice pattern and include it on your chopping board. The fact is, the wood itself might already have its own unique pattern that you can feature.
Afterward, mark where you will drill your hole. It may be useful for hanging it after washing or simply adding to the design of the chopping board. Use a combination square to mark where the center of the hole will be and cut the hole using a drill press. Never drill the whole hole from one side to the other because it can damage the grains on the opposite side. You need to drill on one side, flip the board, and then continue drilling on the other side.
Step 2: Finishing And Sanding
Once you reach the desired shape and size of your chopping board, you can start smoothening out the surfaces and making it clean and pretty.
Taking your random orbit sander with 220 grit sandpaper, sand the outer edges, and both the top and bottom sides. You can sand on the edges in a 45-degree cut so that sharp edges can be rounded out. To do this step, use your router with a 1/8 inch radius roundover bit and you can easily see how much nicer that rounded edge feels.
Using the same tool, round over the 90-degree corners and you will end up with a very nice chopping board because your corners will have the same radius. Lastly, these corners should be sanded, as well as the inside of the hole using 220-320 grit sandpaper. The best thing is that when you use a higher quality hardwood, sanding it will be quicker and easier compared to other woods like pine because it will end up splintered when they get cut.
Step 3: Applying The Oil
The finishing step is to apply the oil so that it looks shiny and beautiful. It will also protect the wood from the knife cuts and juices coming out from what you are chopping. Make sure you apply it evenly all over, including the outside edges and inside the hole as well. Choosing the right wood oil is important, so buy one that is appropriate for chopping boards.
Read the instructions of the oil and follow the recommendations on how long it should dry before using it for the first time. Although you will feel reluctant to cut into your new and shiny board, enjoy chopping your favorite fruits and vegetables in your very own DIY chopping board.
Whether you want to create one for yourself or you want a unique, handmade gift, your very own chopping board is quite easy to do. Moreover, who does not need a beautiful and durable wooden one? In just a few steps, even with basic woodworking skills, you can get on your way to making one.