Mario Cutting Board

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Project by eisbar posted 05-20-2010 10:11 PM 4946 views 3 times favorited 9 comments Add to Favorites Watch

From what I’ve read, I’m now officially a woodworker, since I’ve produced my first (technically second) cutting board. I was inspired by someone who’d made a Space Invader cutting board out of maple and walnut.

My sister-in-law had a birthday coming up, and she’s generally a fan of anything geeky. She likes video games, and was a kid back when the first Super Mario came out for the Nintendo. Mario seemed like a good character to do, because he was fairly “low res” (i.e. large-ish blocks) and only four colors.

The board is done in walnut, maple, cherry and birch. The maple and birch don’t contrast quite as much as I’d hoped, but maybe they’ll age differently and look more distinct in the future. It’s finished with mineral oil and beeswax, so should be food safe. I’d originally planned to screw rubber feet to the bottom, because I like the idea of end grain boards never sitting in a puddle of water on a countertop. I figured I’d get clever and insert some cross dowels to hold screws better, so that’s what you see in the 3rd picture. The recipient prefers to be able to use both sides of the cutting board, and has promised to care for it well, so the feet won’t get attached in the end – all that cleverness for nothing ;)

It was glued up one row of wooden “pixels” at a time, with some cauls to keep things straight. A little sanding of the glue squeeze-out, and the rows were glued and clamped up into the full grid. If I make another one like this, I’ll probably either glue up several rows at once with a larger clamping station, or maybe glue up a “taller” cutting board that I could resaw into several at the end, because the block-at-a-time method was very time consuming to produce a single board.

On this project, I learned that a router on rails is a much better tool for flattening end grain than a thickness planer. Despite trying to only take off a 1/32” at a time, I managed to gouge the board and warp a blade retaining plate on my planer (hopefully a replaceable part). After damaging the planer, Google found me many articles where people had done the same, and were strongly recommending against trying to plane end grain. Of course, Google didn’t find those articles the first time I searched (because I hadn’t added the keywords “damaged planer” I guess). Although damaging a tool makes me mad, I’m glad that I didn’t injure myself like some of the posters whose comments I read (sprained or broken thumbs from kickback).

The pictures were taken with my phone, so they’re pretty poor quality. I’ll take a better photo this weekend of the cutting board in its final home at my sister-in-law’s house.

Hope you enjoyed looking at it.

  • UPDATE ** New photo attached, taken with a much better camera. Thanks to my brother for snapping it for me.

9 comments so far

View SPalm's profile


5333 posts in 4247 days

#1 posted 05-20-2010 10:47 PM

Your board got a chuckle out of me. But your planer incident did not. I hope it will be an easy fix. Yikes.

Glad you stayed safe,

-- -- I'm no rocket surgeon

View Kindlingmaker's profile


2658 posts in 3891 days

#2 posted 05-20-2010 11:20 PM

Major cute!

-- Never board, always knotty, lots of growth rings

View Bearpie's profile


2601 posts in 3383 days

#3 posted 05-21-2010 01:04 AM

My wife loves the Mario Bros. game and when i showed her the picture she immediately said “Mario”, so I have to say you did a cool looking job. Sorry about your planer. It also happened to me except my planer hit a knot and chattered the wood which vibrated against the granite plate on the bottom and caused it to crack in several places. Good thing it was still under warranty and I was able to exchange it for a new one. WHEW!

Erwin Jacksonville, FL

-- Erwin, Jacksonville, FL

View Maveric777's profile


2694 posts in 3441 days

#4 posted 05-21-2010 03:02 AM

Thanks! Now I have that Super Mario Brothers tune in my head…lol

Nice work. I am sure your sister-in-law will love this… To cool!

-- Dan ~ Texarkana, Tx.

View Brandon's profile


4152 posts in 3316 days

#5 posted 05-21-2010 05:40 AM

Excellent cutting board. I thought about doing the same design at one point, but decided it was too many pixels! Well done.

On the topic of Nintendo cutting boards, Gary Fixler has a nice Zelda “heart” cutting board (at least I think it’s suppose to be from the Legend of Zelda).

-- "hold fast to that which is good"

View jaedwards575's profile


90 posts in 3422 days

#6 posted 05-21-2010 06:09 AM

Mario. Now that takes me back. Nice board

-- Aaron Possom Town, TN

View a1Jim's profile


117618 posts in 3942 days

#7 posted 05-21-2010 06:14 AM

Cool board at first I thought it was part of the chair.

View clieb91's profile


3611 posts in 4300 days

#8 posted 05-21-2010 08:17 PM

I remember the Space Invaders one very well. Great twist on the average cutting board. Well done.


-- Chris L. "Don't Dream it, Be it."- (Purveyors of Portable Fun and Fidgets)

View Triumph1's profile


930 posts in 3444 days

#9 posted 05-23-2010 12:53 PM

Sweet! Is there a matching “Princess” board?

-- Jeff , Wisconsin Please...can I stay in the basement a little longer, please!

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