Cutting board build

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Forum topic by Bcemail posted 01-16-2017 07:16 PM 553 views 0 times favorited 4 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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16 posts in 709 days

01-16-2017 07:16 PM

I’m looking to build a nice thick cutting board/butcher block as one of my first “nicer”projects (not made from home depot pine). It will probably be about 24” x 16”. I’m in the market for a table saw which I hope will help. All the tutorials I’ve read involve a jointer and or planer, neither of which I have. I’ve never used a hand plane, definitely would like to learn but I’m guessing that’s a pretty steep learning curve.

So, what are my options? Does it matter if I’m using end grain or not? I’d like to try end grain but wasn’t sure if that would be too much work.

I’ve seen ideas for using a router on a sled which seems like a cool idea. I’ve got a Makita compact router so I wasn’t sure if that was an option. Maybe if I just focused on taking small bites at a time?

Any advice for getting everything cut and glued up would be very helpful. Haven’t gone to the lumber yard yet so let me know if there’s any wood, sizes, etc that might work best.

Thanks so much!

4 replies so far

View bondogaposis's profile


5090 posts in 2552 days

#1 posted 01-16-2017 07:24 PM

I recommend you start out with a long grain board. Nothing builds confidence like success. Since your tools and skills are limited, success is much more likely with long grain. After you get a few of those under you belt, then graduate to end grain boards.

-- Bondo Gaposis

View sawdustjunkie's profile


389 posts in 1918 days

#2 posted 01-16-2017 07:47 PM

For sure start with a edge or long grain board. Making end grain requires lots of sanding and when you’re done sanding you have to sand some more. 24 X 16 is a good size board.
If you live close to a actual lumber store, not a big box store, they do offer services such as final cutting and rough sanding for a very modest price. It may be worth looking into that option, unless you know someone with a drum sander.

-- Steve: Franklin, WI

View Bcemail's profile


16 posts in 709 days

#3 posted 01-17-2017 03:16 AM

Thanks for the tips! I’ll start with edge grain. I was already thinking about how many pieces an end grain board would be! There’s a real lumber yard nearby that I will definitely be using for this for the first time. I’ll ask them about finishing.

What should I be looking for as far as S2S etc? Also, if I’m going for 1.5-2” thick do I buy wood that thick or do I buy thinner, rip to the right size, and turn it on its side? Hope that makes sense!

View TungOil's profile


1059 posts in 696 days

#4 posted 01-17-2017 04:31 AM

An edge grain cutting board is a great project to break in a new table saw with. A couple of thoughts, having made many cutting boards over the years.

Without a surface planer you should be purchasing S2S lumber. If you do not have a jointer and are not handy with a hand plane I’d recommend S4S so you have a strait edge to work from. Hard maple is a good choice for a cutting board. It’s light color works well as a work surface and it has a relatively closed pore structure so it does not absorb too much food yuk. I’ve also used cherry and walnut, both work well but finish up much darker. Most other woods are not suitable for food contact so I’d avoid them.

24×16 is a fairly large board. Be sure you have room to store it and enough clamps to glue it up! Speaking of glue, I use Titebond 3 on all my cutting boards.

For an edge grain board, start with 4/4 or 5/4 stock, rip it to your finished desired thickness (leave extra for sanding), then glue up. A crosscut sled on the table saw will square up the ends after the glue up.

Round off the corners with your router, sand through 220 and apply some cutting board finish and you are all set. Good luck!

-- The optimist says "the glass is half full". The pessimist says "the glass is half empty". The engineer says "the glass is twice as big as it needs to be"

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