Twas the night before Christmas and all through the house, not a creature was stirring except for my saw in the garage workshop. Okay, it wasn’t the night before Christmas, but it was the day before we were leaving for Christmas vacation. And I was frantically trying to complete my mothers’ gift. She requested a cutting board but had no idea I was making one. I had already glued and clamped the maple, cherry, and purple heart wood together and wanted to round the sharp edges, I hurriedly set up my router table and scoured the web for the manual to familiarize myself, since I hadn’t used the tool in several years. Yes, I am ready to plug and play. Oh. No. It wouldn’t power on.  I searched my brain for a plan b, hmmm maybe Walmart is open and I could purchase a new router, nah it’s midnight. Tonight’s Plan B is my Uncle G, the master carpenter. He bails me out all the time. His advice was hit the corners with 220-grit sandpaper on a power sander for five minutes or so. You can also achieve rounded corners with a piece of sandpaper wrapped around a small 2″x4″ piece of wood or a sanding block.

Sand Sponge
My plan B: use a sanding sponge to soften the edges of the cutting board

And whattaya know, it worked like a charm. Next, it was time burn my mothers’ initials. I used this pen.  It was simple to use after a few practice runs on scrap wood. I was a bit heavy handed and charred the wood. If you’re going for the softer brown burn, then ease up on the pressure applied and shorten the time it’s burning.

I used poplar, purpleheart, and maple. I decided the dimensions were going to be 12″ x 16″. The only problem was my miter saw cuts at a maximum of 12 1/4 inches. Enter hack-a-lopulus 2015. I lowered my blade and cut my board 12 inches and flipped it over, placed the blade in the kerf (the space where the original cut was made) and cut the remaining 4 inches. Now, I will say that this technique is not for fine woodworking, but in a pinch, it works! You can check out how I do this miter saw hack here.

I really don’t like planning, simply because my life usually goes its own course. However, as responsible folks, we plan anyway and expect revisions along the way. My advice is to always have a Plan B. It will save you frustration and disappointment when your original plan falls through the cracks.

And of course! my mother totally loves her cutting board.

*UPDATE* May 12, 2017

It has been over a year since I gave my mom her cutting board and like any true maven, I’ve acquired a host of new skills and tools during that time. This is a perfect reason to improve on my old projects. I decided to give this DIY cutting board a makeover.

DIY Cutting Board
Cutting Board Before
DIY Cutting Board
Cutting Board After Makeover







With only a few quick fixes, this cutting board looks store – bought!

  1. I used my block plane to level out the board.
    Block Plane
    Block Plane evens things out

    block plane on cutting board

  2. With an orbital sander, I used 150-grit sandpaper then 220-grit sandpaper, removing the sawdust in between grits with a tack cloth.
  3. Recently, I discovered something called a cornering tool. It does the same job as a router would to round the sharp edges and corners of a project. The final outcome is not a pronounced as a corner finished with a roundover bit on a router. However, it gets the job done and is a great alternative to a router.
    Cornering tool
    Cornering tool

    cornering tool
    Cornering tool

  4. Then I applied two coats of salad bowl finish, like this one. Salad Bowl Finish
  5. With a countersink bit, I drilled two holes on each side and glued some basic drawer pulls in with Guerilla Glue (it turned white while drying-I would not recommend it again for this type of project). I finally used liquid nails. Then clamped it together overnight.
  6. Volia. Cutting board complete!

DIY cutting board

Many woodworking stores sell cutting board kits, with pre-cut wood. The only thing required is wood glue and maybe a few clamps. If you’re looking to get your feet wet with an easy weekend project, try this cutting board. I know you can do it! Leave me a comment and let me know if you plan to impress someone and make them a cutting board.

Be Great. Live Passionately.


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