Make a Beautiful Cutting Board 1

This is a finished board-not the ones I am starting today.
This is a finished board-not the ones I am starting today.

Cutting boards are one of my favorite projects. They really highlight the beauty and contrast of various wood species. A friend of mine commissioned these and I thought I would document the process.
First choose wood, size and grain orientation. For wood closed grain hardwood species are the best: maple, walnut, cherry, purple heart, ipe, etc. For size I try to keep the thickness larger than 3/4″ and as a rule of thumb I keep the width of each strip to no more than 3x the thickness. But I do violate this rule if I have a good piece that I do not want to cut.  I purchased walnut and curly maple, I had some cherry on hand.  Cutting boards are also a great project for scrap wood that you may have laying around your shop.

ripped to size

The first step is to rip cut your stock to width then join the edges.  How do you choose a layout or design? Symmetrical or asymmetrical? These are tough question, the answer is do what the wood tells you to do.  Whatever looks good to you is fine.  These boards will be for a bar/drink service, I figure most bars are oak or maple (light colors) so I used more walnut in these boards.


I left the walnut rough sawn on the face because I wanted to keep it as thick as possible.  I crosscut everything down to 12″ to 15″ to make clamping easier.  The key here is to get your edge laminations as tight as possible, a good joiner really helps here.  I generally do a clamped dry fit, then I glue with Titebond 3.  Here are 4 boards “stacked” in panel clamps, pipe clamps work well for this also.  And now we wait.


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