Making cutting boards continues to be a very popular project. The nice thing with making cutting boards is you can can use almost any hardwood available and even if you only have cutting left they can often still be re-fabricated into a usable cutting board. Cutting boards are a popular items at swap meets, country markets and garden markets. They are available in many different kinds of woods, shapes, sizes and grain patterns. In some parts of the country they can command a fair dollar, which make they popular among hobbyist woodworkers who can use up their cutting to help support their hobby. A great way to make a few dollars to help offset the cost of wood. 

Woods to Use for Cutting Boards
I am often asked what woods can be used for cutting boards? My answer is that from what I know almost any hardwood can be use. Most woods are considered toxic as far as inhaling sawdust but in terms of being used for cutting boards I am not aware or any wood that could not be used. Some people do have some allergies to some of the oils found in some woods. These are very rare and random, and the most common one I have heard of is Cedar, which should not be used for cutting boards mainly because it is such a soft wood and doesn't hold up well at all. The only other other woods that should not be used are spalted wood, these woods are colored the way they are because they have begun to rot, which is not an ideal for cutting boards. Boards with "live" or natural edges should also not be used. With edges like this they are hard to clean and could harbor food particles and bacteria. Cutting boards need to be flat and smooth on all sides.
Some people suggest that Oak and similar open pore woods should not be used for cutting boards. The choice is up to you, but personally I like oaks because the the tannin contained in oak wood helps to kill off bacteria. Some argue that the porous wood harbors food and bacteria but even a nice smooth wood like maple, after a few weeks of cutting will have slice marks in it equal or bigger that what would be seen in oak. I leave the decision on what to use for woods up to you now that you have the information to make your own choices.

 

In terms of size and shape, that is totally up to the maker. I have seen cutting boards as thinner that half an inch and as thick as 2 inches. I have seen the outside dimensions as small as 6 inches by 9 inches and as large as 20 inches by 30 inches. Cutting boards can be constructed in many different ways ....

They can be laminated (glued) together by using all the same wood, or they can be laminated using different species and colors of woods. They can be make from one single board and some are even made with edge grain as the cutting surface. There is a wide variety of choices with cutting boards.

Laminated Cutting Boards
These may be the most popular cutting boards as it is possible to use smaller pieces in order to make bigger cutting boards. The wood for laminated cutting boards needs to be reasonably dry, especially for your area. This means a moisture contend of around 9 or 10%, less if you live in an arid region, slightly more might be ok of more humid areas. The reason for this is that you want the wood to be as stable as possible for your region. As we all know wood is constantly absorbing and expelling moisture and as it does this it expands and contracts slightly so keep the moisture content as stable as possible means your cutting boards will have less tendency to warp.

In terms of the glue used for laminating, some people prefer outdoor or waterproof glues, but there is not evidence that these work any better than ordinary yellow carpenter's glue. Cutting boards should never be place in a dishwasher and should never be soaked in sink or tub or water. They should be regularly washed with soap and water, rinsed, dried and allowed to finish air drying. If this is done your cutting boards should give you years of of use.

Finishes for Cutting Boards
This topic will be discussed after the release of the next video ...

 

Copyright Colin Knecht
Woodworkweb.com

 

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