Personally, I think it’s always a challenge to make something with materials someone else would throw away.
This is no different with this cutting board and matching knife block.
For a long time, I had scrap wood in my workshop from an earlier project.
The scrap wood were all small pieces of oak with a maximum length of half a meter long, ideal for making this cutting board and knife block.
In the video and blog below, I will show you the exact steps I took to make this cutting board with a matching knife block so that you too can make a cutting board from the scrap wood in your workshop.
Let’s make that cutting board!
Before we start building
To prepare you for building this project, I have made a few handy lists.
In addition to a few personal protective equipment that I use*, I also list the materials as well as the (power) tools you will need to build this jig.
* Safety is always your own responsibility!
Safety first! protect yourself!
Materials I used for this cutting board and matching knife block
(power)Tools I used for this Cutting board and matching knife block
Building this cutting board with matching knife block
Step 1 | Preparation
With my fence set at 45 mm from the blade on my table saw, I cut the scrap wood into strips.
That 45 mm is just a bit wider than the thickness I wanted when the cutting board is ready.
As a result, after laminating these strips, I have enough wood to plan to the desired thickness.
Step 2 | Glue up
Before I started gluing I had already sorted the strips and made a pattern of what my future cutting board would look like.
That way I was sure that there would be no two joints next to each other, but also that the laminated block was big enough for the parts for the cutting board and the knife block.
My cutting board measures 24 cm by 40 cm and the part I needed for the knife block is 12 cm wide.
So this laminated block had to be at least 24 cm by 54 cm (enough space was provided here for the saw cuts)
Once I was convinced of the correct pattern and the correct dimensions, all strips were laid flat.
Then I poured the glue over it and spread it.
Don’t just use any wood glue for your projects!
To find out which different types exist and for which applications they serve, check out my blog Understanding Wood Glue + 8 awesome tricks you should know. Here you will discover everything you need to know about wood glue.
After gluing and placing the strips in the correct position again, I pressed all strips firmly together with clamps.
Note that the two outer pieces are pieces that are the full width of the laminated block. That makes clamping much easier, but also gives the finished piece a much better look.
For easy clamping, I always use two types of clamps.
First, I use my wolfcraft one hand clamps to quickly and easily fix all parts temporarily. The benefit of these clamps is that I can operate them with one hand, and I have my other hand free to make any minor corrections.
Once the parts are properly in place, I use my Bessey clutch style bar clamps to secure all parts even more firmly.
When you are going to clamp the strips for this cutting board, tighten the clamps firmly so that there are no more gaps in the joints. Use as many clamps as possible and tighten them evenly.
Step 3 | Planing
After 24 hours of drying, the glue was hard, so the clamps could be removed.
Then it was time to flatten the surface with the thicknesser.
First, I flattened the bottom of the cutting board. After that, I was able to flatten the top.
After each pass through the thicknesser, the opening of the thicknesser was made slightly smaller.
I did this in very small steps so as not to overload the thicknesser and not to make burn marks on the wood.
I repeated these steps until I was satisfied with the end result.
Not everyone has a thicknesser, but if you want to flatten surfaces there are plenty of alternatives such as a hand planer or a router flattening jig.
However, if you are thinking of buying a thicknesser, I absolutely recommend the Belmash SDR2200 as I have myself.
A fantastic light and compact planer/thicknesser that is ideal for the small workshop.
You can find more information about this power tool in the review blog I wrote about this Belmash.
Step 4 | First time sanding + trimming the edges
When the surface was flat enough, I removed the last imperfections by sanding it with 80 grit sandpaper.
Then I trimmed the edges so that this laminated block of wood started to look more like a cutting board.
If you want to know more about how to determine the right sandpaper for your project, be sure to check out my blog: The perfect sandpaper grit guide for woodworking.
Everything you need to know about sandpaper can be found in this article. It will no doubt give you a better understanding of the proper use of sandpaper.
There is also a FREE downloadable guide available to help you determine the right sandpaper grit.
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Step 5 | Making the knife block
To make the knife block, I had those perfect pieces of scrap wood that I could use as legs. They were 12 cm wide and 22 cm long.
For the base of the knife block, I needed to have a piece of this laminated block with the exact width of the legs I wanted to use for this.
In order to be able to cut off a matching piece of laminated wood, I used one of the legs to install a stop block on my crosscut sled.
All I had to do now was trim it to the right length, which was in my case, 14 cm.
Where the knives will be in the knife block, I made an incision in which the knives fit perfectly.
After making the incisions for the knives, the edges were trimmed with the router and a 45-degree chamfer bit.
Then the legs were attached to the base of the knife block with wood glue and clamped.
Step 6 | Finishing the cutting board and knife block
Now it was time to make the cutting board as smooth as possible.
To do that, the surface of the cutting board was sanded in several steps.
For this, I used my random orbital sander and sandpaper with grit P150, P220, P320, and P500 successively.
Note: The finer you will sand, the finer the sanding dust will become.
So, always use good dust extraction. I used my Festool dust extractor for this, a powerful and compact vacuum cleaner that fits perfectly in my small workshop
After the last step, the cutting board (and knife block) was wetted with water.
This will cause small hairs to raise that you can then sand away. This makes the surface even smoother.
The last step in making this cutting board and matching knife block was oiling the surface.
For this, I used a mineral oil that is made to treat and protect cutting boards.
This oil was applied until the wood was saturated, each time with the necessary drying times in between.
For my oak chopping board, I applied 3 coats of mineral oil, but I suspect that each wood species will be different and you will either need to apply fewer or more coats.
How to maintain a wooden cutting board?
Maintaining a wooden cutting board is much easier than you may think.
It’s very simple: wash it off with soapy water after each use.
Dry off the water as much as possible and let the cutting board air-dry overnight.
Pay attention! Do not submerge the cutting board in water as this will cause the wood to absorb the water and warp, eventually leading to cracks.
To extend the life of the cutting board, it is best to apply a new layer of oil now and then.
This depends on how much you will be using the cutting board and the type of wood, but a good rule of thumb is to do this once a month.
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Woodworking | DIY | Home decoration