View Full Version : Newbie wants to build a cutting board

05-06-2011, 08:16 PM
I know this is the knifemaking forum, but it seemed like the best fit. If it needs to be moved please feel free to do so.

I'd really like to try my hand at building a couple cutting boards. These are for practice as my ultimate goal is to build a butcher's block/table for my dad. My dad likes to make a LOT of sausage and right now he just has a table and some big poly boards, I think it'd be cool if I could get build one large table for him that he can use as one big cutting board/block for breaking down cuts of meat for sausage. I don’t know, maybe it’s too lofty a goal considering my lack of experience, but I suppose it helps to have some direction.

I have nearly zero experience with woodworking. I built some basic speaker cabinets for myself last year and that is about it. My equipment is basic: I have a cheap Ryobi tablesaw that I bought like new at a yard sale for $20 so that I could throw my speakers together, some clamps, a couple basic sanders and that’s about it. I can get access to a router and planer and some other equipment as well.

So what equipment do I actually need to make a board that just functions? Is my cheap-o tablesaw gonna cut it? I'm not looking for an excuse to buy new equipment, but if there's something I really can't live without I can scour Craigslist for a good deal. I want to focus on getting the basics of this down before I work on trying to make it pretty. What is a good type of wood to learn on? Should I request wood to come a certain way or should I just buy whatever boards are on hand to cut down? I figure that I will probably need a certain type of wood glue, probably something food safe, what should I be looking for?

Any other tips for me?

Obviously I’m a newbie and I have a lot of learning to do, but up until a few months ago I had very little experience with a welder and I’ve already built myself a 50 gallon offset smoker and now I’m working on a 250 gallon offset smoker/grill BBQ catering rig. I really love working one projects and this seems like a fun thing to do.

Thanks in advance for any help!

05-06-2011, 08:31 PM
I have not made any cutting boards myself, but have looked into it. Maple would probably be the most economical choice. I would think your tablesaw would be fine. Tite-Bond III is a good food safe glue. You will need clamps. The more the better. Then just call around to some cabinet or wood worker shops and see if someone can run it through their drum sander to level it off for ya. There are some more experienced people here that will chime in with better advice I am sure.

Marko Tsourkan
05-07-2011, 12:42 AM
Here is a fairly good reference on how to make a cutting board. This video should give you an idea what equipment you will need and the process.

Couple of things to take note of:
-Use domestic woods like maple, walnut, cherry
-Make the board at least 1.75" thick
-Make it one-sided and put silicone feet on the bottom side of the board for airing and drying your board


Eamon Burke
05-08-2011, 12:58 AM
All good advice. We are super picky about cutting boards around here, as Morimoto said, "knives and cutting boards are sacred to us!"

But cutting boards are considered entry level 'weekend projects' for most woodworkers. People like Dave Smith take it to a whole new level, but you can certainly bang out a workable end-grain board pretty easily, if you are willing to spend a lot of time on it. The biggest investment is buying good wood--usually you have to buy at least 8 board feet of it, and decent hardwoods run $7-$12 a board foot.

05-08-2011, 03:55 AM
Make sure you've got the clamps!


05-08-2011, 04:24 AM
Thank you so much for everyone's input. I can't wait to get started!

05-08-2011, 01:16 PM
Make sure you've got the clamps!

Da Clamps!!!!


05-08-2011, 04:02 PM
Da Clamps!!!!


HAHA! That's exactly what I was thinking of when I was posting!

05-18-2011, 09:10 AM
give em the clamps, Clamps!
Do me a favor and post pics as you go :)