My First Cutting Board

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Project by shulmey posted 05-31-2011 05:56 AM 16889 views 16 times favorited 13 comments Add to Favorites Watch

It’s my second woodworking project ever, an end grain cutting board made of maple, walnut, yellowheart, and padauk. (I wouldn’t use padauk again for my next one, read why below).

First off, I have to give crazy amounts of credit where it’s due. dewoodwork gave a lot of my inspiration for this project, and a pretty awesome step by step process for what he’s done.

Next, props to Marc Spagnuolo ( for some really helpful tips on making end grain cutting boards and a great discussion on his site about finishes for boards. His recommended method has held up very well under my knife for the last month!

I made a couple changes from De’s process. My board was slightly larger than his, which means I couldn’t use my planer after the initial planing of the boards. There was LOTS of sanding involved in order to make the layers flat…

If I were doing it again, I would definitely not cut the boards to 10 inches until after I had gotten them to the correct thickness. It felt a bit unsafe putting such short boards through the planer and you end up planing about 6 times as many boards. I also wouldn’t use padauk again. It is by far the dustiest of woods I’ve ever worked with, so you end up with red sawdust on absolutely EVERYTHING. I would probably use something like purpleheart or bloodwood to get the second dark color if i was going to do it again.

13 comments so far

View John Fleming's profile

John Fleming

29 posts in 3127 days

#1 posted 05-31-2011 06:31 AM

This is a fine cutting board.

I have made several but for you do do this as a first board is simply over the top.
Can you give some feedback ?
Size, how many glue ups, did you use a belt sander, would you ever attemp again.
I agee the Woodwhisperer discussion influenced my finish and I am also very happy.

Great Work

-- Woodworker in Progress, Oceanside CA

View cannondale's profile


54 posts in 3060 days

#2 posted 05-31-2011 08:06 AM

Great looking board. A real man size one !!

Thanks for sharing

View Daniel Towler's profile

Daniel Towler

15 posts in 3053 days

#3 posted 05-31-2011 08:35 AM

super cool! I am inspired. Thanks for posting

-- "Luck favors the prepared" Edna Mode in 'The Incredibles'

View RS Woodworks's profile

RS Woodworks

533 posts in 3248 days

#4 posted 05-31-2011 08:53 AM

Thats a nice board! I have made quite a few, and am in fact finishing up 4 more now, with 3 more large ones still on order. I may try your design. I like it.

-- I restore the finest vintage tools! If you need a nice plane, saw, marking tool or brace, please let me know!

View mtkate's profile


2049 posts in 3321 days

#5 posted 05-31-2011 12:51 PM

”If I were doing it again, I would definitely not cut the boards to 10 inches until after I had gotten them to the correct thickness.”

I learned that too the first time. Looks like you are off to the races now!

View shulmey's profile


5 posts in 2549 days

#6 posted 05-31-2011 01:57 PM

@John – I followed the instructions in the blog I linked to pretty closely. I increased my pattern to a 19×19 square, and each square is 3/4”x3/4”. The final board is around 15”x15”x1 1/4” thick. The process makes 3 of them, so my mom got one for mother’s day, and it weighed 10 pounds when I shipped it.

The other step I changed slightly is that when De cuts his original strips, he cuts them to 7/8”, so that after his first glue up of the layers, he can mill that down to 3/4”. The only reason to do this is so that during your first glue up when stuff shifts around (and it will) you can use the planer to flatten the layer. If you’re going to sand instead of planing those layers flat, I highly recommend cutting the strips closer to 3/4 and then using cauls during the glue up to try to get the layer flatter. One of the pictures show that.

The only sander I own is a random orbital, so yeah, I’m a bit limited in that department… It gets the job done, it just takes forever.

@cannon, daniel, ryan, and kate – thanks for the encouragement! In retrospect it was probably a little insane of me to attempt this as such a beginner, but it was definitely a fun learning experience. But yeah, I should have tried an easier board first, like the ones mark makes on the wood whisperer.

View SPalm's profile


5320 posts in 3878 days

#7 posted 05-31-2011 02:07 PM

Very very nice. I really like it.
That is an amazing result, first time or not.
I am spoiled, I cannot imagine doing something like this without a drum sander.

I am impressed,

-- -- I'm no rocket surgeon

View Eagle1's profile


2066 posts in 3061 days

#8 posted 05-31-2011 05:46 PM

Great looking box, especially for your first. Good job!

-- Tim, Missouri ....Inside every older person is a younger person wondering what the heck happened

View Kean's profile


74 posts in 2557 days

#9 posted 05-31-2011 11:43 PM

That? Your second project ever? You are insane! (And I mean that in the best way.) Great job!

-- Kean - It's all fun and games until someone loses an eye.

View JL7's profile


8661 posts in 2961 days

#10 posted 06-01-2011 02:49 AM

Very nice board – truely great for your second woodworking project – you learn quickly! I’m with Steve – can’t imagine doing these without the drum sander anymore. I did do the first couple without, but no more spending 6 hours sanding one board….....

Looking forward to seeing the third project….


-- Jeff .... Minnesota, USA

View Jacquelyn Smith's profile

Jacquelyn Smith

95 posts in 2563 days

#11 posted 06-02-2011 07:30 AM

This is great, I love the design and that you actually chose to have a design. Nice work!!! Thanks fro posting.


View JDA's profile


3 posts in 2543 days

#12 posted 06-08-2011 03:29 PM

Very Nice!

View Birdhouse's profile


17 posts in 937 days

#13 posted 11-25-2015 03:05 AM

Look real nice

-- Terry

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