How To Make a Butcher Block Cutting Board

For Valentines Day this year, my husband made me the best gift: a cutting board. At first I know that sounds a little random but hear me out.

Cutting boards are actually relatively easy to make (so I found out during this process and you can see in the “How To” at the end of this post). But this cutting board is actually super special to me. It is no ordinary cutting board. Let me explain.

A year ago when we were planning our wedding, I expressed my interest in old reclaimed wood to Goodman’s family. I knew that they were good at finding things like that and may have some spare wood that I could use to make wedding signage.

They did, and it wasn’t any ordinary reclaimed wood either. It was heart pine. (Don’t worry I didn’t know what heart pine was either, they explained it to me.)

Essentially Heart Pine is a type of wood that no longer exists/is endangered. The trees that it comes from – Long Leaf Pine –  pretty much covered the coastal planes of the united states after before the revolutionary war. Then, people built and built and built with the wood that they got from those trees and in no time there were only about 10,000 acres of them still standing. They didn’t realize that the trees wouldn’t grow back any time soon. It takes a Long Leaf Pine around 500 years to mature. So, long-story-short, this type of wood is highly coveted as it is no longer available anywhere and can really only be found in super old houses.

Lucky for me, Goodman’s Dad had renovated a house with this beautiful stuff and gifted a few planks of it to me to use as wedding signage.

Not only did I love that it had a back story (and was called heart pine) but I really couldn’t get over how beautiful the wood was. Because it takes so long to mature it has all of these really close together fine lines in it and looks gorgeous. You can see some of my DIY signs below!

heart-pine

Anyway back to the cutting board. The thing that makes the cutting board so special is that Goodman repurposed the signage with the repurposed Heart Pine to use as pieces for the cutting board! Now I can forever use these signs and have them on the kitchen counter every day as opposed to having them sit in the storage closet.

I thought it was the best gift ever. Good luck topping it next year, G 🙂

You can see the how to below!


 

Step One: Gather the Wood

To make sure that the cutting board will be able to sustain a knife actually cutting things on it, you need to make sure that you choose hard woods. Some hard woods are: Cherry, Walnut, and Oak.

You can find wood by searching for reclaimed wood warehouses, specialty woodworking stores and lumberyards that carry fine woods, just call around until you find something!

 

Step Two: Get the Materials

  • Sand Paper (120 grit and 220 grit)
  • Wood Glue
  • Hard Bristle Brush – Small
  • Large Piece of Cardboard (or other disposable material like our Trader Joe’s Bag)
  • 2 Rags
  • 2 Clamps (those big metal things)
  • Planer on hand
  • Rubber stoppers (optional)
  • Table Saw (optional – for the pretty beveled edges)
  • Butcher Block Conditioner (or you can just use mineral oil)

board-materials

 

Step Three: Cut and Plane the Wood

Cut the wood on a table saw to similar depths so that the cutting board will not have large variations in height that you’ll have to work hard to correct later. Do the same with the length.

Choose the pattern (if you are going to create a pattern with the different colors of wood) that you want and lay them out in the order that you want them to be put together.

Then plane the wood on two sides (the ones that  will be touching each other) so that the wood can join nice and tight with no irregular gaps in between.

 

Step Four: Glue and Clamp Together

Apply the glue on to the right side of the first piece of wood. Make sure to spread the glue evenly with a hard bristle brush. Sit that piece down onto the clamps then push the next piece of wood onto the glued side.

Then take the next piece of wood and apply the glue to the left side and stick it onto the other two that are already glued together. Continue this process until you have glued all of the pieces together.

Then tightly clamp all of them together. Be sure to align them if they start to slide up or down (Goodman calls this “walking”). You really have to use a lot of force to keep them all lined up like you see in the picture below. You can use something like a hammer or just put all of your body weight on them until you get them all lined up correctly.

Then wait until the next day before removing the clamps. It should then look like the picture below.

glue-board

 

Step Five: Sand and Finish

Sand sand sand. Start with a 120 grit sandpaper until it feels smooth to the touch. Then use 220 grit sandpaper (or higher) to make extra smooth.

Then use a wet rag to wipe the wood down. This brings the grain out of the wood so that you can more finely sand the board.  After it’s dry (or while its just a little bit damp) sand again with the 120 and then the 220 grit sandpaper again.

Use Butcher Block Conditioner (or mineral oil) and completely cover the board in the stuff with a rag. Wait at least an hour and apply another coat. You can do as many coats as you want but we liked the way it looked after four coats.

Last thing to do is to attach the little rubber feet to the bottom. The ones Goodman got from Lowes had little adhesive sticky’s on them so it was super easy.

And voila! You’ve got a very pretty cutting board and you made it yourself! You can see ours below!

cutting board

Total Cost: $59.50 plus tools and wood

Wood: free (We got all of the wood free from extra that Goodman’s Dad had), Wood glue: $5, Sand paper: $12, Hard Bristle Brush: $1, Clamps: $30, Butcher Block Conditioner: $9, Rubber Stoppers: $2.50, All other tools and materials we had on hand.

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