Custom Edge Grain Cutting Board – Walnut and Maple


I feel like making a cutting board is
kind of a rite of passage for an entry-level woodworker but I’ve been
woodworking for five years and I’ve not made one until now this is an incra
style cutting board I believe it stands for incremental and stay tuned if you
want to see how I made it the incremental name comes from the pattern
of two contrasting woods incrementally getting smaller and larger from left to
right and from right to left for my board I chose to use the beautiful
combination of walnut and maple using my neighbors joins here to first get one
face and one edge of the board’s nice and flat big thank you to my neighbor
for being so gracious with his shop and tools after flattening one face and edge
on my walnut board I also did the same with my maple board then since I was
already in my neighbors shop I went ahead and used his planer to flatten the
other side of the board’s getting the board’s back into my own shop I figured
out how long I wanted my cutting boards to be then had it about an inch and cut
that length at the miter saw this way my boards are rough cut to size but I still
have room to cut them to final length later on before continuing let me
explain two different cutting board options there is end grain and edge
grain cutting boards and grain is where you have the end grain of the wood
facing up and down for the cutting surfaces and edge grain is where you
have the edge facing up and down in green is easier for a knife’s edge but
edge grain is just so darn pretty so for my pattern I went with edge grain I took
the board’s over to the bandsaw and started cutting them in strips in this
dimension that you choose here will ultimately become the thickness of the
cutting board so keep that in mind when you’re choosing this dimension next I
glued each strips together by applying glue to the face grain of the pieces so
that the edge grain will be facing up and down for this project I am using
type on three as it’s waterproof now it’s worth noting that if I bought some
thicker stock I wouldn’t have to do this step so if you want to move through this
project a little bit quicker you can actually buy wood it that is at least as
thick as the widest strip you want in your cutting board so for example my
whitest strip is one and a quarter inches wide so if I would about wood
that was that one and a quarter inches thick then I
would have been able to completely skip this glue up but no big deal instead I’m
doing this glue up so that I have a massive block of edge green walnut and
maple to then cut into whatever with the strips that I want the next morning I
took the edge grain blocks and ran them through my thickness planer to get both
sides completely flat next I use my jobsite solid to start cutting up the
blocks into strips the trick with these strips is you start off with a set
dimension in my case I started with one and a quarter inches then run the walnut
through and then the maple through to get a strip of that size now move the
fence over to reduce the cut by 1/8 of an inch or whatever increment you
personally prefer so I drop mine to one in 8 then ran through the walnut and the
maple blocks once again every time I move the fence over the same amount 1/8
of an inch until I got down to 1/8 inch strips but then I was able to rearrange them so
that the two outside strips are the one and a quarter inch strips
next to those are the eighth inch strips then it’s the one in 1/8 inch and then a
quarter inch and so on and you can see the effect that it makes as the walnut
shrinks in size going from left to right the maple grows the same amount once I
double-check that none of the strips got out of order I got my Rockler bar clamps
ready and did the final glue up this glue up was a little bit more
time-consuming as each strip was a different height so the glue had to be
placed and smeared individually again I’m using type on three for this after
letting that set up overnight I grabbed my crosscut sled and cut the
board down to its final size I want to get knocked on my neighbours
shop to use his larger thickness planer as the cutting board was now too large
to run through my 12-inch bench top planer now you could call the board done
at this point it is very pretty but I did think it was just a tad bit plain so
I started playing around with adding a few curves to the body I first drove
some screws my workbench then used a flexible ruler just trace out a nice
subtle curve I repeated the shape on the other side then take it over to the
bandsaw to cut and this came out alright but it wasn’t perfect I was the cut was
made freehand so I did what I could to clean it up
over at the spindle sander I also wanted some curves on the top and bottom of the
cutting board but I first wanted to cut in the handles on the side while the
sides were still square to do this I used a straight bit of my router and
made three passes to get the depth that I wanted again I did this cut freehand
and while they did come out okay I learned my lesson and would definitely
recommend using a template to make it not only cleaner looking but also
quicker to cut after getting the cutting done with a router I came back with a
chisel and mallet to square up the corners when moving to cut in the curves
for the top and bottom I actually took the time to make a template and I will
tell you that using a template makes a huge difference in speed and final look
I made my templates from scruff laying around the shop I used double-sided tape
to attach the curve to my cutting board then I flipped it upside down and used a
flush trim bit to make the cut the bearing of the bit rides along the
template making the edge of the board match the curve I wanted perfectly and
if you’re interested I do have these templates available over on my website
the template package includes CNC cut templates for all of the body curves the
handles as well as making the juice groove which we’ll see in the next step
before moving on I used my palm aras to round over these sharp corners just by
moving it back and forth a few times on the point ok next was a little bit of a
tricky part I really wanted a juice groove and my board there are plenty of
tutorials on making this cut when your board is a rectangle but not any
making one with an irregular shape so I improvised I cut off some cardboard
bigger than my cutting board then trace the shape onto it
next I came in a little bit on all four sides and used my cutting board to trace
in these lines I’m essentially making the same shape as the board but just a
little bit smaller then I’ll use the template or guide for my router to cut
in the juice groove once I was happy with the shape and size and cardboard I
transferred the template and made it from some scrap wood I had once again
using some double-sided tapes you stick it to my cutting board making sure that
it was nice and centered before I made the cut I’m using a 3/4 inch round nose
bit and a guide bushing to make this so you just got to make sure to take your
time and keep that guide bushing pressed up against the template and I will say
that I was beyond happy with the way that it came out it’s a small thing and
I know that it serves a function but even if it didn’t
dang does it look nice DeSantis grooved nice and smooth I grabbed a Rockler
contour sanding grip that was roughly the same size and made a few passes and
now it was my absolute favorite part not sanding so I started off with 120 grit
sandpaper then worked down to 220 the final touch before throwing on a finish
was to round over the edges over at the router table I set the height of the bit
then started running all of the edges through completely forgetting about the
handles on the sides which meant whenever I got over to the handle the
bearing fell into the void of it and ate into the body of the cutting board and I’ll be honest and say I was pretty
disappointed in my mistake but I did decide to finish it and keep the board
anyways gives the board a story right so moving
on to finishing I first wiped the board down with water to get the grain of the
wood to raise up once I was drying I lightly sanded the board using 400 grit
sandpaper until everything was baby smooth again you can’t skip this step
but the first time you get your board wet the grain will raise up and it’ll no
longer feel smooth I’m not even joking this time this really is my favorite
part adding on a finish for a finish I’m using the standard cutting board finish
since it’s food safe and won’t go rancid I applied three coats right off the bat
using a paper towel to spread it around the entire board its edges and even the
juice Grove now after I clean and wipe down the cutting board I can every once
in a while apply a new coat of finish just to maintain it even with my little
hiccup I am completely in love with how this board came out now if you’re
interested I do have templates available for sale on both of the curves making
the juice groove as well as the handles available for purchase on my website so
if you want to make a large batch of cutting boards whether it be to make and
sell or to simply pass out as presents around the holidays then the templates
will certainly make it go a little bit quicker for you other than that I would
love to hear your thoughts what you think about my incra style cutting board
and I’ll see you next time

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