-Maple is the wood of choice for cutting boards. When purchasing the wood for your cutting board, choose the hardest, highest grade maple you can find. Bamboo is also a great choice.
-Choose shape and outline for your cutting board. You can go traditional, or search around for interesting shapes and ideas. If you want to keep it simple, it’s best to go for a square or rectangular shape with a handle.
-Use tape measure and combination square to measure out the outline for your cutting board. Pencil-in the pattern that you like. Use a template or circle guide for arcs and curves.
-Use a jigsaw to cut out the piece, unless you have a band saw. Firmly clamp your wood to the table because the jigsaw will make it bounce around a lot as you’re cutting. Make “relief” cuts. This means that you can cut out small sections at a time to make cutting easier. If you try to cut out the exact piece that you need, you may end up forcing the blade around corners and altering the final shape of the cutting board. Cut right outside of the line that you drew with your pencil so that you have room for sanding without altering the shape that you’ve drawn out.
-When you have the shape cut out, finish it out by using a bench-top sanding machine, hand sander, belt sander, or sand it by hand. Don’t worry about making a really fine finish at this point. Use about a 150 grit sandpaper just to get the major debris off.
-Drill a hole in the handle with a handheld drill or drill press. Then roll up a small piece of sandpaper and run it back and forth through the hole a few times, just to smooth it out a bit.
-Round out the edges with a router, files, rasps, or sandpaper. The handle is harder than the rest of the board, so do this part by hand unless you have a routing table. A regular router will have very little surface area to press against on the handle, so it tends to either jump a bit or burn the wood a little more. Don’t worry if you get some burn marks, they easily sand off.
-It’s time to do the final sanding. Sand starting with a 150 grit sandpaper, then 200, working your way up to a fine grit of 220 or higher.
-A food safe, linseed oil finish is best for cutting boards. You don’t want to contaminate your food with varnishes. Linseed oil that is all natural, not boiled is generally considered food safe. All you have to do is wipe it on and rub it in with a lint free cloth. Let dry and your cutting board should be ready for use.
About the Author: Dave Murphy is the founder and president of Good Wood, Inc., which makes a high quality wood dowel and the best hardwood dowel on the market. They also create wooden balls, wood knobs, wooden toy parts, custom wood parts, and more. They offer safe wood finishing, wood turning and can import from off-shore when necessary. Visit http://www.goodwoodinc.com for all of your wood product needs.