How to Make a Wood Cutting Board

Woodworking projects can be intimidating, but this project is actually easier than you may think, requiring basic shop materials and dense, hardwood boards to create a chef-worthy cutting board any foodie will love.
DIY Wooden Cutting Board

DIY Wooden Cutting Board

Woodworking projects can be intimidating, but this project is actually easier than you may think, requiring basic shop materials and dense, hardwood boards to create a chef-worthy cutting board any foodie will love.

Materials Needed:

  • precisely cut 3/4" dense hardwood with a closed grain (for ends: 2 pieces 16-1/8" x 3" and for center: 2 pieces 16" x 4-3/4", 1 piece 16" x 6-3/4")
  • parchment paper
  • scrap wood
  • wood glue (waterproof and mildew-, solvent- and heat-resistant)
  • rag
  • 2 3-foot pipe clamps
  • 4 12-inch bar clamps
  • 1" chisel
  • orbital sander
  • 80-, 120- and 220-grit sanding pads
  • food-safe finish like mineral oil, walnut oil or beeswax

Assemble Wood

First, make sure wood isn't warped, is cut precisely and is smooth and square on all sides. Set two pieces of scrap wood (both the same size) on work surface. Place pieces of parchment paper over scrap wood to prevent cutting board pieces from sticking to scraps when glued. Place 16" x 6-3/4" piece in center with two 16" x 4-3/4" pieces on either side. Make sure to alternate the end grain to minimize warping; for example, the arc of the grain on the center piece should face up and the grain on the two end pieces should point down. Tip: Purchase wood boards from a mill or cabinet shop (rather than a hardware store) to ensure wood has been cut precisely.

Glue Board Center Together

Apply a bead of glue along one side of center piece of wood (Image 1). Quickly spread glue with a fingertip then lay it flat and butt against right-side piece (Image 2). Apply glue to right side of left piece, spread with fingertip and butt against left side of center piece (Image 3). Make sure edges are lined up.

Clamp Boards

Clamp boards in place using two pipe clamps to press them together and four bar clamps to make sure joints are straight (Image 1). Use small pieces of parchment paper when using clamps on a seam to prevent clamps from sticking to glue (Image 2). Using a damp rag, wipe away any glue that squeezes out. Allow the board to remain clamped for several hours or overnight.

Scrape Off Excess Glue

Once glue has dried, remove the cutting board from clamps. Scrape off excess dried glue with a chisel, working gently to avoid marring the wood. Repeat this on all seams. Tip: It is important to remove all traces of excess glue from wood before the food-safe finish is applied in the final step.

Scrape Off Excess Glue

Scrape Off Excess Glue

Once glue has dried, remove the cutting board from clamps. Scrape off excess dried glue with a chisel, working gently to avoid marring the wood. Repeat this on all seams. Tip: It is important to remove all traces of excess glue from wood before the food-safe finish is applied in the final step.

Glue End Pieces

Line up end pieces along end grain of center pieces. Repeat steps 2 and 3.

Glue End Pieces

Glue End Pieces

Line up end pieces along end grain of center pieces. Repeat steps 2 and 3.

Finish Board

Once glue has dried, remove the cutting board from clamps. Scrape off any excess dried glue gently with a chisel. Using an orbital sander fitted with an 80-grit sanding pad, sand both sides of the board and edges to soften corners. Repeat sanding process with 120-grit, then 220-grit sandpaper. Make sure all dried glue is sanded off surface prior to finishing. Rub entire cutting board with several coats of a food-safe finish like mineral oil, walnut oil or beeswax, allowing oil to fully absorb into the wood. Allow cutting board to dry overnight before use. Tip: Most food-safe finishes need to be reapplied regularly. If giving this board as a gift, also present the recipient with a bottle of oil as a companion gift along with care instructions.

How to Season Your New Cutting Board 03:12

Once you've created your cutting board, season it for long-term use.

Next Up

How to Make a Rustic Bread Board

Antique bread boards are a popular collectible but they're often expensive. With basic woodworking skills, you can turn a piece of old or reclaimed wood into a great handmade gift for your favorite foodie or hostess.

How to Make a Modern Tablet or Cookbook Stand

This handy wooden stand is a great beginner woodworking project for anyone wanting to surprise their favorite chef, baker, techie or hostess with a beautiful and functional custom handmade gift.

How to Make a Reindeer Pillow for the Holidays

Give a plain pillow a playful, holiday update using our free printable reindeer template.

How to Make Distressed Leather-Wrapped Books

Make brand new books look like old leather-bound tomes by covering them in a removable leather jacket that you've distressed and antiqued. They'll add a timeworn touch to your bookcase and make great handmade gifts for literary friends.

How to Make a Fabric and Evergreen Holiday Swag

Instead of a traditional evergreen Christmas wreath, dress up your front door with a holiday swag made from fresh greenery, fabric branches and glittering pinecones.

How to Make a Monogrammed Tray

Instead of the customary bottle of wine, give your favorite party host or hostess a monogrammed serving tray that can be used throughout the year.

How to Make a Pet Feeding Station

Create a custom feeding station that will make eating and drinking easier on your pet. Old wooden crates, boxes or stools can all be converted into a piece that's functional for your best friend and will look great in your home. Note: Some veterinarians warn that raised feeders may cause bloat in large- and giant-breed dogs by allowing them to eat and drink too quickly causing their stomach to fill with air. So this project is not advised for dogs who are at risk for bloat. If in doubt, first check with your vet.

How to Make a Hand-Painted Burlap Table Runner

Rustic burlap is given new life as a sophisticated holiday table runner with the addition of pleated trim and hand-painted details.

How to Make Painted Pail Stockings

Give your holiday decorations a playful twist by swapping out traditional fabric Christmas stockings for metal pails painted with fun, bright colors.

How to Make a Vintage Garland Advent Calendar

Linen, ribbon and vintage printables come together in this advent calendar, which is sure to become a family tradition.
More from:

Handmade Holidays

On TV

Shop This Look

Found a living space you love in HGTV's Photo Library? Get the look in your own home with products from Wayfair.

Follow Us Everywhere

Join the party! Don't miss HGTV in your favorite social media feeds.