In this project you will build a face-grain Black Walnut cutting board 9 inches wide x 14 inches long x 1 ¼ inches thick. This project is designed for the person with basic tool and woodworking skills.
- Table Saw
- Router with ½" Round Over Bit
- Tape Measure
- Belt Sander
- Random Orbit Sander
- Bar clamps (4)
- Black Walnut, 3 pieces planed and straight edged 6" wide x 15" long x ¾" thick, approximately (1.7) board feet. If you have other lumber you can substitute it for the Walnut.
- Waterproof Glue Such as Titebond III
- Sand Paper 80,120 and 150 grit
- Cutting Board Oil for Finishing
When using power tools follow all directions associated with that tool and always wear safety glasses and hearing protection.
Making a Walnut Edge Grain Cutting Board
Cut your walnut lumber into 12 strips 1 ½" wide x 15" long on your table saw. Make sure you have a sharp blade that makes a smooth 90 degree cut, because you have to glue these strips together to make your cutting board.
Now take the twelve 1 ½" wide strips and place them beside each other making a board 9" wide by 15" long by 1 3/8" thick. It is also a good idea to turn the grain of each piece (end grain) 90-degrees to the one next to it, for both strength and to enhance the look.
Now that you have the boards laid out like you want it take your pencil and make two wavy lines through the width of the board. This way you have a reference on each joint during the gluing process so you don't have to worry, do I have the strip turned the correct way. You can also number each board if you like.
Next set up your bar clamps and get the glue ready (I suggest you use Titebond glue this glue has been approved for use in making cutting boards). Apply glue to one side of each strip and smooth it out with your finger or a putty knife making sure the entire surface has been covered.
Carefully assembled the twelve strips to minimize cutting problems later (squaring across the top of the board will make the assembly easer with less sanding) and applied clamping pressure, add just enough pressure to pull the joints together. Also make sure the pencil lines are in alignment that you placed on them in step #3. It's also a good idea to wipe away the excess glue that squeezed out during clamping; this makes the following step much easier.
Let the glue dry for at least one hour (follow the instructions for the glue you choose to use). After removing bar clamps, sand the top and bottom of your board smooth with a belt sander. Start with 80-grit sandpaper, then 120-grit and a final sanding with 150-grit using a random orbit sander. If you have access to a surface planer it would be better and faster to use it instead of the belt sander.
Now that you have your board glued together and cleaned up, take it to the table saw and using your miter gauge (make sure your gauge is square with the blade) square up one end of the board and then cut it off at 14" long.
Now that you have your board sanded smooth on the top and bottom surface and cut to length take a router with a ball bearing round over bit (or cutter of your choice) and route the edges.
Sand all edges you just routed and give the entire board a good look over and sand any areas that need it.
Finishing, there are many food-safe finishes available but on my cutting boards, I use a board oil made from mineral oil bee's wax and lemon oil. This type of oil is thicker than standard mineral oil helping to preserve and protect the wood from moisture. Also, it does not form a hard film on the surface that would be damaged by normal use of a cutting board. You may ask how much oil do I use the answer is never enough. When you oil your board let the oil soak in for 10 to 15 minutes. If the board soaks up the oil right away add more to surface and let stand, after 15 minutes remove any excess oil from the surface with a clean paper towel. This process will protect your board against moisture and extend the life of all your cutting boards.
I hope you have enjoyed this project and now have a very functional cutting board to use or give as a gift whichever the case it is something you made that will last a lifetime.