Making a Butcher Block Cutting Board

Making a Butcher Block Cutting Board

Are your countertops showing undue wear? Do your kitchen knives dull faster than you can sharpen them? Protect your utensils and kitchen surfaces with an attractive butcher block cutting board you can simply make yourself.

  • Table Saw
  • Belt Sander
  • Tape Measure
  • Clamps
  • Router
  • Goggles
  • Dust Mask
Selecting the right timber for a butcher block cutting board is very important. The timber should be dense enough to withstand the constant pounding that a cutting board must endure. The material should not transfer any flavour to the foods that are processed on it. Generally, hardwoods such as meranti, oak, maple, cherry, etc. are ideal. All African hardwoods can be used. You may want to use two different species of timber with contrasting colours to make your cutting block. Most cutting boards are made of narrow, deep strips laminated or glued together. We will focus on the gluing method.

Size the cutting board according to your needs and specifications. The length and width may be whatever you choose. The thickness should be at least 25mm to give the board substance.

Prepare and assemble the timber using the following steps:

1. Cut the timber half an inch longer than the desired length of the cutting board.
2. Set the fence on the table saw and rip cut the stock 1,6mm wider than the cutting board depth. Depending on the thickness of the cutting board, you may be able to get more than one piece from each board, e.g. if the cutting board is 38mm thick and you are using 25 x 100 (1 x 4’s), you can cut two pieces from a single board.

 Lay the pieces out on a flat surface, glue and clamp them as shown. Use glue sparingly and remove any excess as soon as it squeezes out.
4. Allow the glue to set and cure.

 Remove the clamps. Use a table saw to cut the cutting board to the proper length.
6. Use the belt sander to smooth and level the cutting board.
7. Use a router or sander to round the edges of the board.
8. Apply a coat of mineral oil to the entire cutting board to keep the board from drying out and cracking. Let it sit overnight.
9. Wipe away any remaining oil and your cutting board is now ready to use.

Thoroughly clean the cutting board after each use with hot, soapy water and a mixture of two tablespoons of Jik to one litre of water to kill any bacteria on the board. Always dry the board thoroughly before you store it. To extend the life of your cutting board reapply mineral oil monthly.

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