One of my favorite woodworking projects is a butcher block end-grain cutting board. Im not sure if its the “back to basics” simplicity or just the fact that it is one of the most useful projects a woodworker can make, but something keeps bringing me back for more. A custom cutting board makes a great gift and many woodworkers make them in batches every Holiday Season. And if you are relatively new to woodworking, this is a great project to hone your milling, glue-up and tablesaw skills. I’ll cover the preparation and construction of the board itself, as well as the various finishing options available. I’ll also discuss how to maintain the board and keep it looking fresh for years to come!
I never thought when I made this video that so many folks would find the plan useful and make their own. I think its safe to say this is the video that launched a thousand cutting boards! So you may already be very familiar with this design. But what you may not know is the fact that this design came about almost by accident. Once of my first cutting boards was a very large board made of purpleheart and birch (left). It turned out to be far too large for our kitchen. Nicole asked that I cut it down. So instead of just cutting trimming the length and width and calling it a day, I decided to have some fun with it. I sliced it into pieces, flipped the pieces 90 degrees, alternated their direction and glued them back together. The end result is the cutting board you see in this video. Quite a transformation! And I am so glad that so many of you were inspired to make your own, and even make some amazing variations on the concept.
EDIT – Since the writing of this article, my preferences have changed. I still believe the above information and arguments are valid but for those looking for a finish that’s a little healthier and more natural, check out this video: The Best Food Safe Finish