How to Make a Cutting Board with Minimal Tools

This project involves making a beautiful and functional cutting board using minimal tools.

It’s an ideal project for beginner woodworkers or those without access to extensive equipment like a jointer or planer. Follow this step-by-step guide to create your own cutting board with ease.

The full how to video by Matt at MWA Woodworks is at the end of this article.

Design and Structure

The cutting board features a simple yet elegant design, made from various hardwoods to create a durable and attractive kitchen accessory. The combination of different wood species adds visual interest and functionality to the board.

Material Selection

Choose hardwoods such as maple, walnut, cherry, or oak for their durability and aesthetic appeal. These woods are ideal for cutting boards due to their hardness and resistance to knife marks. Ensure the wood is properly dried and free from defects.

Building Techniques

Constructing this cutting board involves several straightforward woodworking techniques:

  1. Selecting and Preparing the Wood: Choose boards with straight grain and minimal defects. Ensure the edges are straight and the surfaces are smooth. If you don’t have a jointer or planer, select pre-milled boards or use a hand plane to smooth the surfaces.
  2. Cutting the Strips: Cut the hardwood boards into strips of equal width using a table saw or circular saw. The width of the strips can vary based on your design preference, typically between 1″ to 2″.
  3. Arranging the Strips: Arrange the strips in a pattern that you find visually appealing. Alternate the wood species to create a contrasting look. Ensure the edges align properly.
  4. Gluing the Strips: Apply wood glue to the edges of the strips and clamp them together. Use multiple clamps to ensure even pressure across the board. Allow the glue to dry completely, typically for at least 24 hours.
  5. Sanding the Board: Once the glue has dried, sand the entire surface of the board to remove any glue residue and ensure a smooth finish. Start with coarse-grit sandpaper and gradually move to finer grits. Sand the edges and corners to round them slightly for a comfortable grip.
  6. Finishing the Board: Apply a food-safe finish to protect the wood and enhance its appearance. Mineral oil or a beeswax finish are excellent choices. Apply multiple coats, allowing each to soak in before applying the next.

Technical Considerations

When making a cutting board, consider the following technical aspects:

  • Glue: Use a water-resistant wood glue that is safe for food contact, such as Titebond III.
  • Clamping: Ensure even clamping pressure to avoid gaps between the strips. Use cauls if necessary to keep the board flat during the glue-up.
  • Finish: Choose a finish that is food-safe and easy to reapply. Regular maintenance will keep the cutting board in good condition.

Aesthetic and Practical Appeal

This cutting board project combines functionality with a clean, modern design, making it a great addition to any kitchen. The use of different hardwoods not only adds beauty but also provides a durable surface for food preparation.

The simplicity of the construction process makes it accessible to woodworkers with limited tools.

This project is perfect for those looking to create a practical and attractive item for their home or as a gift. It offers an opportunity to practice basic woodworking skills while producing a useful and visually appealing cutting board.

So gather your materials and tools, and enjoy the process of making a cutting board that will serve as a reliable kitchen companion for years to come.

Full How-To Video