Cutting Board Primer #1: I was asked for this primer - hope it helps

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Blog entry by Betsy posted 11-02-2015 03:30 AM 2613 reads 14 times favorited 11 comments Add to Favorites Watch
no previous part Part 1 of Cutting Board Primer series Part 2: Face Grain »

I was asked by several newbies if I would take some time to do a blog on building cutting boards that will cover the basics that may not get covered in the blogs/forums that detail how to do the real fancy boards that we all aspire to. So I’m going to try my best to hit the simple things that a novice trying to learn on their own may not think about or not realize until after they’ve made the mistake. It’s been a very long time since I’ve taken on a task like this – so please feel free to help me along.

First I’d like to point out that my way is not the only way. My way works for me and can probably work for others – I don’t do anything that unusual – but since I pretty much taught myself – I may not be using the most conventional methods. I welcome all replies, suggestions or another explanation of what I’ve done.

I know that the holidays are coming up and some are going to be making their first cutting boards so I’m going to try to get some of the blog moving along soon. However, as I said the holidays are coming and I have two large holiday shows that I’m doing this year so I’m in full building mode. I’ll do the best I can and I will, at the very least, get the simpler face grain and edge grain boards covered before Thanksgiving.

My intent is to show all the warts, pimples and opps that I’ve made over the years and try to help those new to this wonderful hobby/sport/pastime to avoid the same. I’ll try to be picture heavy to help make up for any lack of literary clarity.

Finally – just a bit of my philosophy – a very little bit. There is not one single cutting board made that I think has a mistake, or error, that cannot be “fixed” in some way. There are multiple ways to do so and I’ve used many of them and will show them as well. I detest throwing a board out – I fix it or repurpose the lumber if I absolutely don’t think I would like my fix.

As examples – here are a few “mistakes” – fixed and sold within the last 2 or 3 years or so.

The first one was supposed to be a regular chevron board – I messed up the angle and could not get the corners lined up – so I punted to this. It sold for more than the typical board – at a friend’s suggestion I put a bigger price on it because it looked more “artsy farts.”

The second one was supposed to be a “full sized” board – about 15×11 – but I had a crack in the middle of one slice. I cut the board in half at the offending slice and sold both halves as individual boards.

Not sure I should do this next thing – don’t want to be a thought of as a braggart – but I wanted to give you an idea of how many boards I’ve made within the last 3 months or so – this load is 284 of all sizes and types. A great many of these sold at my last two shows and from calls from former customers. (It’s hard to see but there are actually 2 rows deep of boards on top of the piano.) All but one or two of these boards are your standard flat, edge grain and end grain boards that are simple and fast. There are a few that are not as easy – but are doable. I have a pretty good system down that works well for me. I’ll try to share some of that as we go along.

I hope you will come along for the ride. If anyone has questions or suggestions as I go along, as I’ve said, I welcome them.

-- "Our past judges our present." JFK - 1962; American Heritage Magazine

11 comments so far

View degoose's profile


7279 posts in 4325 days

#1 posted 11-02-2015 03:39 AM

I would like to follow this blog and see how YOU make cutting boards…I am sure to learn something new… thanks for doing this blog…all the best from the land down under..

-- Don't drink and use power tools @

View DIYaholic's profile


19921 posts in 3645 days

#2 posted 11-02-2015 03:49 AM

First off, thanks for doing this blog.

I’ve only made one cutting board (so far)....
an end grain board, but need to crank out a few edge grain boards, for Christmas.
I’ll be following along….

-- Randy-- I may not be good...but I am slow! If good things come to those who wait.... Why is procrastination a bad thing?

View Betsy's profile


3394 posts in 4866 days

#3 posted 11-02-2015 03:55 AM

Degoose – I bow down before your skill! I’d be honored to have your input/critique as I move along.

DIY – you’re welcome.

-- "Our past judges our present." JFK - 1962; American Heritage Magazine

View ellen35's profile


2749 posts in 4402 days

#4 posted 11-02-2015 11:31 AM

I’m on the train too… I’ll be watching with great interest!
I’ve gotten out of practice with edge and end grain and I know you’ll do a bang up job!

-- "Don't let the perfect be the enemy of the good." Voltaire

View lew's profile


13272 posts in 4725 days

#5 posted 11-02-2015 12:01 PM

I’m here!!

-- Lew- Time traveler. Purveyor of the Universe's finest custom rolling pins.

View SpartyOn's profile


68 posts in 3117 days

#6 posted 11-02-2015 02:00 PM

I have had this on my to do list to learn. Thank you for taking time out of your busy schedule to help the newbies!

View JoeinGa's profile


7741 posts in 2977 days

#7 posted 11-02-2015 02:10 PM

Am I late for the ride?
I hope not. Even though I’ve made quite a few boards, there’s ALWAYS ideas shared that I can stea … I mean LEARN from !

-- Perform A Random Act Of Kindness Today ... Pay It Forward

View WoodNSawdust's profile


1417 posts in 2146 days

#8 posted 11-02-2015 02:14 PM

Thanks for the blog. I will be following it as I would like to add cutting boards to what I make.

-- "I love it when a plan comes together" John "Hannibal" Smith

View jaykaypur's profile


4017 posts in 3378 days

#9 posted 11-02-2015 11:22 PM

Count me in. I knew you were very good at making CB’s but I had NO idea you were as fast as you are too. I am very impressed. There is a lot of work in that many boards and you have done them well.

-- Use it up, Wear it out --------------- Make it do, Or do without!

View scrollingmom's profile


1208 posts in 3434 days

#10 posted 11-05-2015 09:35 PM

I too would love to learn from you.

-- Kelly, Allen,KS

View Betsy's profile


3394 posts in 4866 days

#11 posted 11-06-2015 01:54 PM

Thanks guys – appreciate the compliments.

My intention is to get the face grain board portion on the site this weekend. I have several to build so I’ll be taking tons, maybe pounds, of pictures.

Stay tuned!


-- "Our past judges our present." JFK - 1962; American Heritage Magazine

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