First I apologize for not having pictures of the build as I wasn't expecting John to ask me for a blog on these boards but I have provided a link below to one of the best tutorials for a cutting board constructions that you can use the fundamentals to create just about any pattern you desire. I highly advise watching his video before proceeding with you build if this is your first cutting board build.

  When building a cutting board the first thing to do is select your hardwoods. for these cutting boards I started with 5/4" X 6" X 26 1/8" hard maple & walnut. I surfaced both boards to 1 3/16" thickness on my drum sander using 120 grit paper.

  The surfaced thickness is what I wanted the final dimension for the squares to be. I cross cut both boards to 13" long. I  switched my saw blade to a "GLUE LINE RIP BLADE" and then set up my rip fence on the table saw to 1 1/4" from the blade and ripped my stock. As these pieces came off the saw I arranged them cut edges together and set them off to the side.

  Once all the stock was ripped I arranged the pieces alternating maple walnut maple walnut and so on keeping cut edges together forming a striped appearance that is 1 3/16" thick. After the pieces were arranged and divided into 2 boards (5 sticks of maple & 5 of the walnut for each board) I applied glue with an ink roller for a uniform thickness of glue  onto the widest face (1 1/4") of each stick. I then arranged the pieces into the clamps truing up the ends and the faces of the sticks and then clamping. Once clamped up you should have 2 separate boards that are 1 1/4" thick. Allow to dry and then scrape glue squeeze out from boards.

  Once boards are dry and squeeze out removed I run them through the drum sander alternating between top, bottom and rotating 90 deg each pass with 120 grit paper until the boards are 1 3/16" thick and smooth.

  I then cross cut each board into pieces approximately 1/16 thicker than my desired ending thickness. After cross cutting  I arrange the pieces on my bench keeping cut sides together. I then flip every other stick and arrange with cut edges together but now you should see a checkered pattern. I again apply glue to the surface and then rotate each stick 90 deg which will have have end grain up, true up the edges and faces and clamp. 

  After the glue has cured scrape squeeze out away and run through the drum sander with 120 grit paper until surface is flat and smooth on both sides then switch to 220 grit paper and run through the sander rotating and flipping the board. After I'm satisfied with the smoothness I then sand with my random orbit sander with 220 grit paper until all visible scratches are gone. I then route the finger slots and edge detail and hand sand the routed areas and I then apply the mineral oil finish.


 1: For the flattening of the board you can use a hand plane or RA sander but I wouldn't recommend a motorized planner because of chip out and there is a certain amount of risk involved there have been cases of glued up sections breaking apart during planning.

 2: Also when scraping the squeeze out on the final glue up be very careful along the edges as the wood fibers will tear away.

 3: For my cutting boards I only use TITEBOND III or TITEBOND II EXTEND. These are the only ones I've used that I know to be FDA approved for indirect food contact.

 4: I am only telling you how I built my boards and I bare no responsibility for any failure, injury or illness you may encounter in your build.  

Before attempting to build your first board I would highly advise going to this website and viewing the video. It is full of advise on wood selection, glue up process and application of different finishes. Plus he shows you how to build a pretty cool cutting board. 

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Comment by Lewis Kauffman on March 2, 2012 at 2:27pm

Sorry I missed this until now. Very nice explanation, Mike.

Now that I have my drum sander working, think another couple of these are in the near future.

Lew Kauffman-
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Comment by John Moody on February 24, 2012 at 12:35pm

Nice blog Mike. Thanks

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Comment by John Morris on February 23, 2012 at 3:47pm
yes sir, thank you indeed!
Comment by Greg Aksdal on February 23, 2012 at 12:34pm

Mike, thanks for sharing all this info with us. 

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