Drunken Cutting Boards

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Project by Scott R. Turner posted 11-29-2010 01:09 AM 5728 views 9 times favorited 13 comments Add to Favorites Watch

My version of the drunken cutting board project. I made four in this pass. (Madame President is lobbying hard for more.) The squares are maple and walnut and the banding is cherry. The two finished ones got several coats of mineral oil and then shellac (which is also food safe). My tip for anyone else doing the same project is to consider gluing up two or three strips at a time as shown in the second photo; this seemed much easier than trying to do all five at once. If I do another set I’ll probably build a glue-up jig to keep the board flat and even on one end during the glue-up. At least one of the boards I did had one strip offset enough to require a lot of planing, which I did by hand after the second glue-up because I was afraid of tear out.

13 comments so far

View rlwilson's profile


46 posts in 3967 days

#1 posted 11-29-2010 01:24 AM

Looks great how did you do glue up? I tried some (much bigger) with 6 strips and could not get them clamped….

View woodman71's profile


187 posts in 4243 days

#2 posted 11-29-2010 01:24 AM

Very nice I like the different wood you used

View Scott R. Turner's profile

Scott R. Turner

273 posts in 4108 days

#3 posted 11-29-2010 01:42 AM

@rwilson: Well, as noted I only glued up 2 or 3 strips at a time. I used a foam brush to put glue on both sides of both the banding and the board segments, and then assembled it very loosely right on top of the bottom two pipe clamps (with wax paper protecting the clamps). Then I cranked the two bottom pipe clamps evenly, using a rubber mallet to knock the segments back and forth as necessary to keep the edges (roughly) aligned.

A couple of the banding strips cracked on the more radical curves, but the cracks were all limited to the part of the banding above the cutting board. In between the segments the banding was too restricted to crack. (Or maybe it cracked and just doesn’t show.)

I actually tried steaming the banding strips and pre-bending them, but it turned out not to make much of a difference.

View kevinw's profile


199 posts in 4659 days

#4 posted 11-29-2010 02:59 AM

Do the glue joints with the end gluing tend to hold up pretty well?

-- Kevin, Blue Springs, MO

View docholladay's profile


1287 posts in 3978 days

#5 posted 11-29-2010 03:36 AM

Finally, a cutting board design that I like. This is pretty cool. I am curious to know your process for the cutting of the curved strips so that everything fits together correctly. Are you roughing it on the band saw and then routing it with a template?


-- Hey, woodworking ain't brain surgery. Just do something and keep trying till you get it. Doc

View Scott R. Turner's profile

Scott R. Turner

273 posts in 4108 days

#6 posted 11-29-2010 04:58 AM

View lanwater's profile


3113 posts in 3854 days

#7 posted 11-29-2010 07:21 AM

They came out really good! I need to makefew more before christmas.

-- Abbas, Castro Valley, CA

View SPalm's profile


5336 posts in 4801 days

#8 posted 11-29-2010 03:11 PM

Those look great. Nice job.

It seems to me that mathematically the banding should be the same width as your saw curf. That would mean a bit thinner, and would also be easier to bend.

Good choice of woods, enjoy.

-- -- I'm no rocket surgeon

View Scott R. Turner's profile

Scott R. Turner

273 posts in 4108 days

#9 posted 11-29-2010 04:40 PM

@SPalm: I actually had the same thought about the width of the banding. I was wondering whether the additional thickness would cause problems over the width of the board. But it turned out not to be a worry, at least for this number of bands.

I think a thicker banding works better visually as well. These were about 1/8” and I wouldn’t try to go any thicker than this unless you purposely kept the curves fairly mild. I actually like the light banding that Porosky used in his boards a little better, but cherry was what I had to hand for these boards, and I’m hoping that it will look a little more distinct as it ages.

If I do another set and have the time, I might try to ebonize the banding, because I think that might look very distinctive.

View helluvawreck's profile


32122 posts in 3786 days

#10 posted 11-29-2010 05:46 PM

Those are some wild cutting boards but you did a great job on them.

-- helluvawreck aka Charles,

View Don's profile


557 posts in 4162 days

#11 posted 11-29-2010 07:05 PM

Those are awesome looking boards Scott. Well done.

I had some real issues with my first set of Drunken Boards and they ended up in the trash. Partly due to glue-up and partly due to too sharp of a curse in the second cut. Wasn’t a pretty sight….

-- -- Don in Ottawa,

View degoose's profile


7279 posts in 4274 days

#12 posted 11-29-2010 10:18 PM

Nicely done… welcome to the club..

-- Don't drink and use power tools @

View stefang's profile


17040 posts in 4254 days

#13 posted 12-28-2010 05:57 PM

Very nice boards Scott. You make it look easy enough for me to try one of this type some day. If you are having clamping problems you might try to use wedges instead of pipe clamps or alternatively use round dowels the height of the workpiece edge between your clamp jaws and the workpieces. This should help to prevent bowing by centering the clamping pressure. Also you might try just using a little less clamping pressure.

-- Mike, an American living in Norway.

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