The quick and dirty instructions on how to make a zig-zag pattern cutting board.

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Blog entry by ganders posted 08-06-2008 12:26 PM 80362 reads 130 times favorited 26 comments Add to Favorites Watch

The quick and dirty instructions on how to make a zig-zag pattern cutting board.

Click on the pictures to see a full size image.

Choose a couple different types of hardwood. The more colors the better. Below is cherry, maple and walnut.
Rip strips of wood any width so the total with is about 12”. This is the width that will fit through my planer. The beauty of this is that none of the widths have to be the same. The board shown below is made of scrape wood. If you only have short pieces of wood you can make trivets, or lids for boxes.
Remove saw marks by sending the strips through the planer. This will allow the strips to fit tightly together.
Glue the strips with FDA approved glue. I use Titebond II or III. Offset the strips at a 45 degree angle and clamp tightly. Figure #1. This is done to minimize waste.
After 24 hours remove clamps and plane both sides. Figure #1.

Figure#1: Strips after they have been glued, clamped and planed.

Cut strips (any width) at a 45 degree angle. Figure #2 At the end of the board you may be able to cut a few thinner strips to use for additional accents or for smaller projects such as trivets or pens.

Figure #2: Strips cut at a 45 degree angle.

Now for the magic. Flip every other strip to it’s opposite side. Figure #3.

Figure #3: Flip the strips. You now have your first zig.

Continue the pattern by flipping the strips
You now have a zig and a zag.

Figure #4

Make sure the joints fit tight. And start the second glue-up. (Use FDA approved glue.)
Clamp for 24 hours. Since my original strips were short I used walnut as a boarder to make the board a little longer. Figure #5

Cut off the “points” as shown in Figure #5.

Figure #5

After trimming off the points gently kiss the board on both side with the planer. This should make for a very smooth board.
Easy the edges with a round over bit and a router.
Coat with USP grade mineral oil. Allow to soak in for about 20 minutes. Recoat. Wait 20,minutes and wipe off excess.
I apply rubber feet to the bottom of my boards.
Let me know if you have any questions.


-- A famous poet once said: “There is a name hidden in the shadow of my soul, the name is wood. Sweet, ever beautiful, earth grown wood. It warms my heart and brings a tear to my eye.”

26 comments so far

View davidtheboxmaker's profile


373 posts in 5092 days

#1 posted 08-06-2008 01:03 PM

Nice set of instructions – thanks for the post.

View rikkor's profile


11295 posts in 5161 days

#2 posted 08-06-2008 01:52 PM

Thanks, I am going to have to try this.

View Grant Davis's profile

Grant Davis

845 posts in 5195 days

#3 posted 08-06-2008 02:03 PM

Nice tutorial, thanks for posting

-- Grant...."GO BUCKEYES"

View brunob's profile


2277 posts in 5456 days

#4 posted 08-06-2008 02:35 PM

Thanks for the instructions. I think I’ll try it.

-- Bruce from Central New, if you'll pardon me, I have some sawdust to make.

View Eric's profile


875 posts in 5071 days

#5 posted 08-06-2008 02:39 PM

Wow that is a great-looking cutting board. Thanks!

-- Eric at

View TedM's profile


2002 posts in 5020 days

#6 posted 08-06-2008 03:29 PM

Great instructions! Thanks!

-- I'm a wood magician... I can turn fine lumber into firewood before your very eyes! - Please visit and sign up for my project updates!

View Colin's profile


246 posts in 5208 days

#7 posted 08-06-2008 06:47 PM

Thanks for the instructions, I will have a go at this for Xmas gifts!

-- Colin, Aberdeenshire, Scotland. "Every craftsman was once an amateur"

View Ron Smith's profile

Ron Smith

196 posts in 5000 days

#8 posted 08-06-2008 07:54 PM

I was just thinking about this, thanks!

-- Thank God for sawdust... Ron. TX resident...

View Scott Bryan's profile

Scott Bryan

27249 posts in 5109 days

#9 posted 08-07-2008 12:10 PM

Thanks for the post. I have been meaning to do one of these. Seems like a way to use some of the off-cuts that (that my wife refers to as clutter) that I have been unable to part with.

-- Challenges are what make life interesting; overcoming them is what makes life meaningful- Joshua Marine

View SawDustnSplinters's profile


321 posts in 5068 days

#10 posted 08-08-2008 12:45 AM

Thanx alot for sharing this, I really like this and will also give it a shot for Xmas…

-- Frank, Dallas,TX , , “I have a REALLY BIG chainsaw”

View mart's profile


192 posts in 4911 days

#11 posted 08-09-2008 04:20 AM

Thanks. I knew it had to be simple. I guess that doesn’t say much for me cause I couldn’t figure it out.


View ganders's profile


40 posts in 4869 days

#12 posted 08-10-2008 01:46 AM

I looked at the pattern for a week. Someone had to show me too.

-- A famous poet once said: “There is a name hidden in the shadow of my soul, the name is wood. Sweet, ever beautiful, earth grown wood. It warms my heart and brings a tear to my eye.”

View jerryw's profile


158 posts in 5203 days

#13 posted 09-03-2008 11:21 PM

thanks for the instructions. great looking board. where do you get your rubber feet? i also make cutting boards and use rubber feet, but i have been having trouble finding them in quantity at a good price.

-- jerryw-wva.

View fred4999's profile


107 posts in 4771 days

#14 posted 11-13-2008 06:39 PM

Thanks for the clear instructions. I saw these type boards being sold at a boatshow in Madisonville LA a couple of weeks ago. But I believe I like yours better. Thanks for sharing!

-- Fred, Georgia

View fred4999's profile


107 posts in 4771 days

#15 posted 12-07-2008 03:26 PM

Greg and everyone else, how did you make the 45 degree cut. I attached a straight edge at a 45 degree angle to the glued up board, and ran it through the tables saw. I was going to try and use my arm saw but the saw’s cutting length was not long enough. Is there better way? Thanks

-- Fred, Georgia

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