If you are looking for a simple and satisfying woodworking project, you might want to try making an edge grain cutting board. An edge grain cutting board is a type of cutting board that has the narrow and uniform grain pattern of the wood facing up. It is more durable and stable than a face grain cutting board, which has the wide and visible grain pattern of the wood facing up. An edge grain cutting board is also easier to make than an end grain cutting board, which has the distinctive and varied grain pattern of the wood facing up. In this post, I will show you how to make an edge grain cutting board from scrap wood that you may have lying around in your workshop.
What You Will Need
To make an edge grain cutting board, you will need the following tools and materials:
- Scrap wood: You can use any hardwood that is suitable for a cutting board, such as maple, walnut, cherry, oak, or birch. You can also mix and match different types of wood to create a contrasting or harmonious pattern. The amount of wood you will need depends on the size and thickness of the cutting board you want to make.
- Table saw: You will use the table saw to rip the wood into strips of equal width and thickness. You can also use a circular saw with a guide, but a table saw will give you more accuracy and consistency.
- Planer: You will use the planer to smooth out the faces and edges of the wood strips after ripping them. You can also use a jointer or a hand plane, but a planer will save you time and effort.
- Clamps: You will use the clamps to hold the wood strips together while gluing them. You will need at least four clamps, but more is better. You will also need some clamping cauls, which are pieces of wood that you place on top and bottom of the wood strips to distribute the clamping pressure and keep them flush.
- Wood glue: You will use wood glue to bond the wood strips together. You should use a food-safe and water-resistant wood glue, such as Titebond III.
- Sander: You will use the sander to smooth out the surface and edges of the cutting board after gluing it. You can use a random orbital sander, a belt sander, or a hand sander, but a random orbital sander will give you the best results.
- Router: You will use the router to round over the edges of the cutting board and to create finger grips or juice grooves if you want. You will need a round over bit and a straight bit for the router. You can also use a jigsaw or a chisel to make the finger grips or juice grooves, but a router will give you more precision and ease.
- Cutting board oil: You will use the cutting board oil to seal and protect the wood and to bring out its natural beauty. You should use a food-safe and natural oil, such as mineral oil.
Here are the steps to make an edge grain cutting board from scrap wood:
- Cut the wood into manageable lengths. Depending on the size of your scrap wood, you may need to cut it into shorter pieces that are slightly longer than the width of the cutting board you want to make. You can use a miter saw or a circular saw for this step.
- Rip the wood into strips. Set the fence of your table saw to the width that you want for your wood strips. For example, if you want a 1 inch thick cutting board, you can set the fence to 1 inch. Then, rip the wood pieces into strips of equal width and thickness. You can also vary the width of the strips to create a more interesting pattern, but make sure they are all the same thickness.
- Plane the wood strips. Run the wood strips through the planer to smooth out the faces and edges and to remove any saw marks or imperfections. You can also use a jointer or a hand plane for this step, but make sure the faces and edges are flat and square.
- Arrange the wood strips. Lay the wood strips on a flat surface and arrange them in the order and pattern that you like. You can alternate the colors and widths of the wood strips to create contrast or harmony. You can also flip some of the wood strips to create a checkerboard effect. Make sure the edge grain of the wood is facing up and the face grain is facing down.
- Glue the wood strips. Apply a thin and even layer of wood glue to one edge of each wood strip, except for the last one. Then, press the wood strips together and align them as best as you can. Use the clamps and the clamping cauls to hold the wood strips together and to keep them flush. Wipe off any excess glue with a damp cloth and let the glue dry according to the manufacturer’s instructions.
- Trim the cutting board. After the glue is dry, remove the clamps and the clamping cauls and trim the ends of the cutting board with a circular saw or a table saw. You can also use a miter saw or a hand saw for this step, but make sure the cuts are square and clean.
- Sand the cutting board. Sand the surface and edges of the cutting board with a sander, starting with a coarse grit and working your way up to a fine grit. You can also use a hand sanding block or a sanding sponge for this step, but a sander will give you a smoother and faster finish. Remove any dust with a tack cloth or a vacuum.
- Router the cutting board. If you want to round over the edges of the cutting board, use a router with a roundover bit and follow the edge of the cutting board. You can also use a hand plane or a file for this step, but a router will give you a more consistent and neat edge. If you want to make finger grips or juice grooves on the cutting board, use a router with a straight bit and a template or a guide to create the desired shape and depth. You can also use a jigsaw or a chisel for this step, but a router will give you more accuracy and ease.
- Oil the cutting board. Apply a generous amount of cutting board oil to the surface and edges of the cutting board with a clean cloth or a paper towel. Let the oil soak into the wood for a few minutes, then wipe off any excess oil with a dry cloth or a paper towel. Repeat this process until the wood stops absorbing the oil, which may take several coats. Let the oil dry and cure for at least 24 hours before using the cutting board.
Congratulations, you have just made an edge grain cutting board from scrap wood. You can now enjoy using your cutting board for chopping, slicing, or serving food. You can also give it as a gift to your friends or family, or sell it online or at a craft fair. To maintain your cutting board, you should wash it by hand with mild soap and water, dry it thoroughly, and oil it occasionally. You should also avoid putting it in the dishwasher, microwave, or oven, or exposing it to extreme temperatures or humidity. With proper care, your cutting board will last for a long time and will become more beautiful and unique with age.