From Kindling to Cutting Board


My first ever cutting board was a success, and my mom loved it. I made it for my brother, so I decided to make her one for Mother’s Day. I went to the wood store with the intent of getting a few maple and black walnut boards, and going through the typical process of ripping them down into stripes, gluing, crosscutting, and then regluing.

However, when I got there, there was a big stack of wood marked “Kindling – $4”. Inside those bundles was mostly poplar (not super exciting), but 2 of the bundles had lots of black walnut and maple mixed in. Although I had never done it before, the sticks looked big enough to rip into square strips and use that to build the full board. Although I was only about 50% sure it would work … for $8, why not give it a shot!

It worked great! The sticks were mostly square, and generally only required a cut on one side. Planing the glued up boards flat was a bit of a challenge since I only own a small hand electric planer, but we got through it. I’m really happy with the results!

A pile of sticks…with some good stuff buried inside
Sorting out the black walnut and maple
Sorting the pieces by size — they can be different widths, but the heights all need to be roughly the same
The first glueup after ripping the sticks to uniform heights
Glue squeezeout means you have good coverage
Clamp try #1 — ended up creating a bow so needed to add a caul to keep surface flat
After many passes with the electric hand planer
Starting to look like a cutting board!
Managed to get it pretty flat
Ripped crosswise into more strips and then rotated the strips 90 degrees to expose the end grain
Another glueup. This time I bought some angle iron from Home Depot to use as cauls. Much flatter!
Another clamping angle
I glued on some pieces of scrap pine to the ends to prevent snipe from the hand planer
Squared all the edges and cut off the pine
Applying lots of mineral oil — went through half of a bottle overall
Rounded over the edges with a router and lots of sanding
Finished product! Went for a semi-random looking pattern. I like how it turned out!


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