Making Exotic Hardwood Cutting Boards

Posted by Jeremy Walls | Labels: , , , , , | Posted On Sunday, January 12, 2014 at 4:28 PM

Many of you have probably already made cutting boards before, and it's a pretty common sense process, but I'm going to walk you through it anyway. I started out just making cutting boards from scraps, but with the demand I had for them, I decided to start making them in "batches". I drove down to my nearest lumber store and purchased about $200 worth of various exotic hardwoods. Wenge, yellowheart, purpleheart, walnut, and maple are my primary choices since they are hard enough to resist slices of the knife. Because I don't own a very nice table saw, I had the lumber company straight-line rip my boards for ten cents per board foot. If you do want to put a straight edge on the boards yourself, I recommend finding a solid piece of angle iron and using that to run through with the boards.
Cutting boards before being planed down.
I make my cutting boards by using a variety of 1/8", 1/2", and 3/4" strips. That being said, the next step is set the table saw fence to 1/8" and run the boards through, creating as many strips as you desire. The same is done with the 1/2" and 3/4" strips. Next the boards are mitered to the length desired, and the strips are glued in whatever pattern is chosen. After the glue dries, the clamps are removed, and the boards are run through the planar to even them out. Next, the boards are mitered to even out the ends, and the edges are routed with a round-over bit.

The mineral oil and beeswax creates a smooth shine.

The finishing of the boards is perhaps the most important part of the process. For my boards, I sand them with 80, 120, and 220 grit sandpaper and then apply a 1:1 mixture of all natural beeswax and food-safe mineral oil. The wax is melted on the stove and the oil is added to it. Doing so not only provides a very smooth, finish and shiny luster, but also a sanitary and anti-bacterial finish. The beeswax fills the pores in the wood, and prevents moisture and bacteria from settling on the board. After vigorously rubbing the oil/wax mixture into the wood, I let the
The food-safe mineral oil I use.
Found at Walmart or Amazon.
boards sit for 10 minutes before wiping off the excess with a towel. And with that, the boards are finished! I don't put routed grooves in my boards because people have told me that they don't like when vegetable pieces among other things get caught in the groove as they slide the pieces off the board. I also don't put rubber feet on my boards so that they may be used for cutting on one side, and displayed on the other side.


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