DIY Wood Cutting Boards

September 14, 2011

For the longest time, I’ve been wanting to make some thick wood cutting boards for use around the kitchen and to give as gifts.  Cutting boards are just about the most useful tool in the kitchen, but store bought or hand crafted wood ones can get pricey quickly.  

I had this vision in my head of a thick slab of wood with a lot of character that could become a focal point on a table.  Over the weekend I created a few of my own wood cutting boards out of a slab found at a local salvage yard. 

Here’s a look at the trio of wood cutting boards I designed:

diy wood cutting boards cg

trio of wood cutting boards cg


This project began last week when I dropped in on my local salvage yard in search of the perfect piece of wood.  I talked to the people who ran the place and told them I was looking for a harder wood like maple or hickory, but wanted to avoid any grainy or porous woods like oak.

Ordinarily, I stay away from pine because of its knots, but as I browsed all the selections, I happened to fall in love with a piece of Norfolk Pine.  I learned this tree originates in Norfolk Island in the Pacific Ocean and was first brought to America by Captain Cook.  Apparently, it was planted all along the coastlines and near ports because of how straight it grew despite winds that contort or bend other trees.  Sailors would use it to replace their ship masts. 

norfolk pine at yard

This particular piece came from Hawaii and had a very cool pink vein down the middle.  It was also thicker than most of the other planks, so I brought it home as the perfect candidate to make my trio of cutting boards.  They wanted $5 bucks a foot which was more than I wanted to pay, but they gave me a deal at $30 for 8 feet so in the end I didn’t think it wasn’t too much to pay for a thick piece of untreated wood with a lot of character that would yield three separate cutting boards. 

I cut and traced a template and aligned it along my board to avoid the big knots and also so that the pink vein ran down the middle, then traced three separate patterns. 

draw template


My jigsaw blades were beyond dull, so I took a trip to my local True Value to grab some new ones. 

new blades from true value


If you’re tackling this project yourself, simply trace your pattern then cut your individual cutting boards out with a jig saw, pretty simple. 

jig saw cut


Sand the top and the edges smooth with an orbital sander, first with medium 80 grit then followed up by 220 extra fine grit.

sand cutting boards


Wipe down all boards to remove any remaining sawdust, then condition with food safe mineral oil to bring out the beauty of the wood.  Mineral oil is a digestive aid and can be found at most drugstores or pharmacies.  Many specialty food and kitchen stores also carry mineral oil for use on butcher block counter tops so look for it there too. 

food safe mineral oil on cutting board

add mineral oil


That’s really all you need to do to create your own custom cutting boards . . .

trio of cutting boards by cg


I’ve named them Papa Board, Mama Board, and Baby Board. 

cg trio of cutting boards


Naturally, Papa is the life of the party cause he can hold an entire baguette!

diy length of wood cutting board cg


Like with all cutting boards, knife marks will appear as you continue to use it, but I think that adds to the appeal. 

make your own cutting boards


Nothing’s better than a big ol’ slab of good looking wood for serving anything from simple cheese and bread to appetizers to desserts.  Good looking cutting boards always deliver a great presentation, and add a casual rustic touch to any table top.

trio of cutting boards cg


Clean your board with hot water and sanitize with white vinegar, then every few months condition your board with food safe mineral oil.  Your cutting board should continue to look great for years to come.  

Anyone else in the mood to craft some cutting boards?  All you need is a few tools and the right piece of wood !   


True Value Blog Squad legalese: “I was one of the bloggers selected by True Value to work on the DIY Squad. I have been compensated for my time commitment to the program as well as my writing about my experience. I have also been compensated for the materials needed for my DIY project. However, my opinions are entirely my own and I have not been paid to publish positive comments.”





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