If you enjoy woodworking and have the necessary equipment, such as a belt sander and table saw, making a wood cutting board, which is generally used in the kitchen for all your culinary slicing and dicing, is a fun and satisfying project.
Every Kitchen Needs a Cutting Board
Select the type of hardwood you wish to use for the cutting board. The most popular wood is maple because of its tight grain and hardness. Other suitable woods are cherry, walnut, birch and white oak. For a different look to the cutting board, select two or more woods of varying colors. As long as it is a hardwood and mill dried, combining wood types will not be a problem. Choose boards that are the same thickness or use the table saw to rip (a term meaning to cut in the same direction and parallel to the grain) the boards to a uniform thickness, usually 1 inch.
Decide on the pattern for the cutting board, particularly if using contrasting wood colors, by trying different layouts and placement of the board pieces until you find one you like. At this point, it doesn't matter if the boards are various lengths as they can be trimmed later. When you have decided on the pattern, place the pieces in consecutive order and glue them together. Run a bead, or line, of glue along one side of one piece of wood and evenly spread the glue using a foam brush. Repeat this with the second wood piece, then the next piece, until all but the last piece have evenly spread glue on one edge.
Lay the boards out flat and carefully place glued edge to non-glued edge. Gently press the edges together. Use the bar clamps to firmly clamp both ends---it may be necessary to also clamp the middle, depending on the size of the cutting board you are making. It's a good indication enough glue was used when glue is squeezing out of the seams. Leave the squeezed out beads of glue as is; do not attempt to wipe them off, which may drive the glue into the surface grain of the cutting board and make more work for you later. Allow the cutting board to dry overnight, longer if it is humid or atmospheric conditions would cause a slower drying time. Remove the bar clamps from the cutting board when the glue has dried completely.
Smooth the top and bottom surfaces of the cutting board, using a belt sander with medium-grade sandpaper. This not only smooths the surface but will eliminate the dried glue beads squeezed out of the seams by the bar clamps. Using either the table saw, a radial-arm saw or a handsaw, even and square up the ends, if the glued boards were different lengths.
Sand the top and bottom surfaces of the cutting board to give it a smoother finish, using fine grade sandpaper. You may also wish to lightly sand all four edges. Clean off any sawdust from the surfaces that remain after the sanding is completed. To protect the wood from moisture damage and superficial cuts, apply a finish to protect the wood. Mineral oil is the recommended finish for cutting boards because it is nontoxic and creates a nice satin finish. Pour the mineral oil on the board surface and use a clean, soft cloth to work the oil into the wood surface and on all the sides and ends. The open pores of the wood on the ends and sides will absorb the oil quickly; additional applications of the mineral oil may be needed to these areas. When the oil has dried on the cutting board surfaces, gently buff the the surface with a clean, soft cloth to bring out a nice stain finish.