Cutting Boards: The Beginning

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Project by Mr M's Woodshop posted 05-23-2014 04:18 AM 2148 views 2 times favorited 3 comments Add to Favorites Watch

Here’s a sampling of my first cutting boards. I did the Wood Whisperer’s classic design for my first end grain, and then played with some long grain for family presents.

Wide variety of woods used: Tigerwood, Jatoba, Honey Locust, Cherry, Padauk, Canarywood, Purpleheart, Yellowheart, Walnut, and, of course, Hard Maple.

A few observations:

1. Love my 13” planer. Just wish it was 20”.

2. Don’t skimp on glue. Dry joints can’t be undone. Well, not easily, anyway.

3. 90 degrees is not 89 degrees or 91 degrees. Be careful.

4. Selecting wood grain for beautiful presentation is not done quickly, and cannot be done without surprises. Take your time.

5. Label EVERYTHING. Check EVERYTHING. You will mess up if you don’t check everything, every time.

6. About that don’t skimp on glue thing … I am probably over-gluing at this point. I’m doing the wipe off method, and I still have glue everywhere.

7. I’m putting tape over the clamps’ metal bars to protect them from the glue … that helps. And it’s still a mess.

8.After glue-ups, I use my planer to flatten both faces. It’s true that a planer only flattens one face parallel to the table … but if you are careful, the planer will work fine to make a KITCHEN TOOL that’s going to have knife cuts and hatchet damage after a good meal.

9. I use my belt sander to round corners. I use my 5” ROS to smooth the faces. Works fine … and I have no idea how people can spend hours and hours sanding cutting boards. After planing, I sand each one MUCH less than an hour.

10. I’m doing mineral oil as a finish, with a homemade mineral oil/beeswax topcoat, as the Wood Whisperer recommends. Works great … just don’t buy mineral oil anywhere but at your local drugstore. Buy it as cheaply as possible; don’t pay DIY store – or woodworking specialty store – prices.

11. What do people do when they see the finished boards? They touch them, feel the beeswax topcoat, and say, “Oh, how smooth!”

My blog,, has a couple of posts dedicated to photos of my entire process, see them here and here.

All comments and observations welcome!

-- Henry Mowry, Santa Clarita, CA,

3 comments so far

View R_Stad's profile


428 posts in 2695 days

#1 posted 05-23-2014 12:13 PM

Beautiful boards and excellent write up Henry. Well done.

-- Rod - Oregon

View JesseTutt's profile


854 posts in 2962 days

#2 posted 05-23-2014 12:33 PM

Thanks for the information.

Normally I will lightly wipe solvent on a piece of wood to see what the final finish will look like.

-- Jesse, Saint Louis, Missouri

View Mr M's Woodshop's profile

Mr M's Woodshop

426 posts in 3919 days

#3 posted 05-23-2014 02:18 PM

Yes, wiping solvent on boards will reveal their finished look, and I do that. My wife in particular likes to see the colors and grain patterns that way. It’s become an entertainment event in the shop!

-- Henry Mowry, Santa Clarita, CA,

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