Tumbling block cutting board

  • Advertise with us
Project by Keelan posted 01-17-2011 06:42 PM 6050 views 10 times favorited 11 comments Add to Favorites Watch

I originally found this block as a kitchen island in a wood working magazine we sell at work and I got to thinking about doing it myself. I knew the level of detail was more than anything I had done before but I was determined to see this through. I chose maple, mahogany, and walnut for my 3 types of woods as I thought that was the best contrast in colours. I also went a step further and gave it a purple heart boarder. From seeing other boards that were similar I didn’t like the look of the edges where the design ended.

To make this as food safe as possible I used Elmer’s waterproof wood glue. I would have to say the gluing was the most tedious part of this project. It took me several days of gluing and clamping for it to finally start taking shape as a cutting board. Nearly every piece has to be edged a little bit as there was a slight variance in the maple when it was first put through the table saw. Taking an extra 5 minutes nudging and truing my table saw would have saved me hours of work in the end. None the less I pushed ahead.

Sanding this project I went from a 100 grit to remove all glue off the surface to a 150 grit, then i moved up to a 220 grit for a nice smooth finish. Overall I spent roughly 2 hours on my finishing day sanding this board and it really paid off when you feel it.

After all the comments on the different oils to use, I washed it down with some warm soapy water and re-oiled it with a mineral oil. So far its been heavily used and still doesn’t have a scratch on it. It made an awesome Christmas present.

The board was roughly 14” x 20” and 3/4” thick. The starting lumber was 1 3/4” x 3” to give 2” on each side of the hexagon.

Anyone looking to try this project, make sure to take extra care in the very first cuts to avoid extra work down the line.

Just recently I was home visiting and got a few more pictures of this project. I didn’t take the time to get some quality pictures after finishing it as I was in rush mode for the holidays.

11 comments so far

View AttainableApex's profile


347 posts in 2828 days

#1 posted 01-17-2011 06:54 PM

doesn’t vegtable oil go bad?
nice board none the less.

-- Ben L

View Dusty56's profile


11819 posts in 3683 days

#2 posted 01-17-2011 06:56 PM

Nice project except for the vegetable oil which will become rancid over time .
If anything , use Mineral Oil which is available at pharmacies and supermarkets for about $2 a pint.
I get mine from WalMart : )
The angled side view really shows off the 3D effect !!

-- I'm absolutely positive that I couldn't be more uncertain!

View gmsmg's profile


3 posts in 2686 days

#3 posted 01-17-2011 07:23 PM

They our better then great,You have the calling


View Ted Pagels's profile

Ted Pagels

63 posts in 3058 days

#4 posted 01-17-2011 07:46 PM

Mineral oil without fragrance (not baby oil) is best!

-- Ted Pagels, Green Bay, WI

View Robsshop's profile


907 posts in 2970 days

#5 posted 01-17-2011 08:03 PM

Yep, You are now officially in the secret society club of cutting boards. Your members only jacket is in the mail , LOL ! Really great looking design and execution, the effect on the eye is amazing !

-- Rob,Gaithersburg,MD,One mans trash is another mans wood shop treasure ! ;-)

View McLeanVA's profile


491 posts in 3430 days

#6 posted 01-17-2011 08:18 PM

Keelan, excellent job on the design and wood species. Unfortunately I have to agree with the others in that vegetable oil, oilve oil, etc are bad choices for finish in that they will harbor and promote bacterial growth. There are lots of great methods on LumberJocks for finishes. Pros and cons to all.

You did a great job on your first attempt. Your grain patterns are dead on. The newbie mistake is to rush the process and neglect the grain orientation. Very nice edge to your board.

-- Measure, cut, curse, repeat.

View Monty Queen's profile

Monty Queen

1593 posts in 3247 days

#7 posted 01-17-2011 10:22 PM

Great job on that cutting board. Looks superb.

-- Monty Q, Columbia, South Carolina.

View degoose's profile


7233 posts in 3350 days

#8 posted 01-18-2011 01:29 AM

Firstly welcome…
Secondly I personally would not use vegetable oil… I use mainly mineral oil…
Thirdly great first attempt… McL nice to see you are aware of grain orientation… lol…
You might find this helpful.
I look forward to seeing more of your work… Play Safe!

-- Don't drink and use power tools @

View isetegija's profile


763 posts in 3510 days

#9 posted 01-18-2011 06:17 PM

Beautiful cutting board, very well done.
Thanks for sharing with us and welcome to Lumberjocks community.
I also did something similar:

-- Not my woodworking

View childress's profile


841 posts in 3537 days

#10 posted 01-18-2011 06:53 PM

I disagree with McLean’s statement of ”they will harbor and promote bacterial growth.”

While everyone is right about vegetable oils (and other oils with natural fats) going rancid , I personally believe that the chances of bacteria breaking down the oil is very slim. This is because the oil get’s absorbed into the wood and bacteria doesn’t survive “in” wood. It’s much more likely that the cause of rancidification will be caused by oxidation more than anything else (especially as long as you don’t cut raw meats on it). Then, if the oil does go rancid, the main problem will be a bad odor and possibly a foul taste. But again, since the oil is “in” the wood, I highly doubt that it will transfer onto food very easily.

Don’t worry about it too much and wash the thing with warm soapy water several times. Let it dry out fairly well and then oil with mineral oil. At least that’s what I would do….

-- Childress Woodworks

View Keelan's profile


34 posts in 2682 days

#11 posted 01-20-2011 10:07 PM

Thanks for the comments everyone, I am glad that the veggie oil vs mineral oil was pointed out, I was not aware of the difference at all ( lesson learned haha ). This is my first cutting board but it wont be my last. In between schooling I will try and post what I can in the terms of projects.
And as for grain orientation I made extra care not to screw that up :)

Have your say...

You must be signed in to post the comments.

DISCLAIMER: Any posts on LJ are posted by individuals acting in their own right and do not necessarily reflect the views of LJ. LJ will not be held liable for the actions of any user.

Latest Projects | Latest Blog Entries | Latest Forum Topics