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The Art of Crafting Cutting Boards: A Detailed Breakdown

The Art of Crafting Cutting Boards: A Detailed Breakdown - Maria's Condo

In the realm of kitchen utensils, a cutting board is an essential tool. Despite their simplicity, these tools carry an undeniable charm that attracts both amateur cooks and professional chefs. If you've ever wondered about the process behind crafting these kitchen essentials, this guide is for you. Especially if you're fond of DIY projects, knowing how to make a cutting board can be a rewarding experience.


1. The Debate: Wood Vs. Plastic Cutting Boards

Before we delve into the process of making a cutting board, it's important to discuss the most common materials used for this purpose - wood and plastic.

Wooden Cutting Boards Wooden cutting boards have been around for centuries and are preferred for their durability and aesthetic appeal. They are made from dense hardwoods like maple, walnut, and cherry, which can resist moisture and withstand knife cuts. Ideal wood for cutting boards should be free of warps, have a flat surface, and shouldn't have any excessive knots on the surface.

On the other hand, Plastic Cutting Boards are a more recent addition to the kitchen. These boards are lauded for their ease of maintenance and sanitary properties. Plastic cutting boards are often perceived as safer due to their non-porous nature, which prevents bacteria from seeping into the board.

However, it's crucial to note that both wooden and plastic cutting boards can be safe and sanitary when properly cleaned and maintained.

2. Selecting the Right Wood

The first step in crafting your cutting board is selecting the right type of wood. As mentioned earlier, dense hardwoods like maple, walnut, and cherry are among the best options. The ideal thickness for a cutting board should be between 1 1/4 to 2 inches.


3. Designing Your Cutting Board

Cutting boards come in various designs, each with its own unique appeal. The three main types are face grain, edge grain, and end grain cutting boards.

  1. Face Grain Cutting Boards: These are the most affordable option and are best for light usage, such as slicing bread.
  2. Edge Grain Cutting Boards: These boards reveal the vertical pattern of the wood grain and are great for slicing and dicing.
  3. End Grain Cutting Boards: These are the most durable and expensive option.

4. Necessary Tools for Cutting Board Craftsmanship

To start your project, you will need the following tools:

  • 1” x 12” hardwood board
  • Tape measure
  • Pencil
  • Hand saw
  • Planer
  • Miter saw
  • Jigsaw
  • Clamps
  • Sandpaper, 220 grit
  • Eye and ear protection
  • Power drill with drill bit set
  • Router with bit set
  • Drop cloth
  • Food grade mineral oil
  • Leather strip for handle

5. Crafting a Face-Grain Cutting Board

Here's a step-by-step guide to creating a face-grain cutting board:

  1. Measure and Mark: Using a tape measure, mark the 1- x 12-inch hardwood board at 16 inches. Draw a line with a pencil.
  2. Cut the Wood: Cut the wood on the line using a circular saw. Make sure to clamp the board in place as you cut.
  3. Drill a Hole for the Handle: Measure and mark 1 1/2 inches in one of the corners, making a plus sign. Drill a hole through the wood plank at the mark. Thread the leather strip through the hole and tie off the ends.

6. Customizing Your Cutting Board

For a unique touch, consider creating a custom design for your cutting board. For this, you will need a stencil to create intricate patterns.

  1. Trace the Design: Use a pencil to trace the stencil design on the cutting board.
  2. Cut the Design: Clamp the cutting board in place. Using a jigsaw, follow the traced line on the board.

7. Cutting a Drip Groove

A well-designed cutting board should have a groove along the sides to collect liquids. This requires building a frame to guide the router you will use to cut the groove.

  1. Mark the Cutting Points: Use a pencil to mark points 2 inches from each edge of the cutting board.
  2. Draw the Cutting Lines: Use a carpenter’s triangle square to mark the corners and connect the lines.
  3. Make the Initial Cut: Set the router bit to about 3/8 inch depth, less than the cutting board thickness. Turn the router on and set the guide against the cutting board edge.
  4. Complete the Groove: Slowly bring the router down to make the initial plunge cut. Guide the router along the drawn line. Repeat the process for each side.

8. Sanding for a Smooth Finish

Use a sanding sponge or block of 220-grit sandpaper to rub the board and edges smooth on both sides. Round the sharp corners with the sanding sponge or block. Wipe off all the sawdust with a damp cloth.

9. Sealing Your Cutting Board

Protect your cutting board by applying oil to seal the surface of the hardwood. Apply the oil liberally to all sides of the wood by rubbing thoroughly. Let it dry overnight.

10. Maintaining Your Wood Cutting Board

Here are a few tips to keep your cutting board in prime condition:

  • Handwash your hardwood cutting board with a bit of soap and rinse in hot water.
  • Do not clean a wood cutting board in your dishwasher.
  • Every few weeks, sprinkle coarse salt over the surface of the board and rub it with a sliced lemon to sanitize. Then rinse well with hot water.
  • Once a month, apply a small amount of mineral oil or butcher block oil in the direction of the wood grain. Let the oil soak in for a few minutes, then wipe off any excess and let the board dry overnight.

By following these steps, you'll be able to create a durable and aesthetically pleasing cutting board that will serve you for years. Not only will it be a practical addition to your kitchen, but it will also add a touch of personal style to your culinary space.


Marias Condo
Marias Condo

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