A good-quality cutting board can be expensive nowadays. Making your own is often a much better---and cheaper---option. By doing it yourself, you can customize your board by choosing your own wood, deciding on your perfect thickness, and figuring out exactly how it should look. With the right tools and planning, your handmade cutting board is just a few hours away.
Designing Your Board
Decide the dimensions of your board. You may decide to make a long-lasting, 3-inch-thick butcher block board, or you may like the idea of a lightweight, 1-inch-thick cutting board that is easily portable. A standard 9-by-12-inch board may be big enough for you, or perhaps you want one that is bigger, providing more room for such tasks as carving turkeys. Think about the type of wood you would like to use as well. According to Ron Hazelton's House Calls website, maple is always an excellent choice. Never use pine, as this could affect your food's taste.
Cutting the Wood
Using a circular saw, cut sections of wood for the board. Be sure that each section is the correct length and width; when put together, they should match the dimensions of your original design. You can also cut one full section from a large piece of wood, but you are more likely to find separate pieces than one large block. Remember to wear protective goggles and gloves while using the saw, and follow the directions for its use.
Joining the Wood and Finishing the Board
Once the sections have been cut, join them together with waterproof wood glue and clamps and let it dry. At this point, the board is basically complete, but you could add a few other features, such as a channel to catch juices, a ramp to allow waste to be scraped into a trash can or an opening to fit a small bowl. After the glue has dried, sand the wood down until the entire board is perfectly smooth. You can use regular sandpaper, but your best bet is to use a belt sander. It will be faster and more efficient. Never varnish your board; according to the Woodworker's Bench Notes website, to keep it in good condition, treat it with a food-grade mineral oil, which you can find at many drugstores. The rule of thumb is, "Oil it once a day for a week, once a week for a month and once a month for life."