Cutting board clamp jig

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Project by The Box Whisperer posted 04-09-2013 11:00 PM 12289 views 90 times favorited 25 comments Add to Favorites Watch

I decided to try my hand at cutting boards. Im always hunting (IE dumpster diving) for scrap wood for boxes. I take whatever I find, thinking, Ill use it for something someday. Any piece that was too small for box use, got put in a pile. This past Christmas, my father was kind enough to give me a gorgeous cutting board, with all kinds of exotic woods. As im sitting there staring at it, taking in the beauty, I start naming off the woods. Maple, walnut, lacewood, purple heart…then it occurs to me….how do I knwo these woods? Because I have piecs of them in my shop…...light bulb goes off in my head and I decide its time to make cutting boards. As with many things, to me half the fun is making the jig. I dont have a ton of clamps, so I thought a jig might save a few.

The idea behind this is the fences are 90 degrees square, so right off the bat lining up your pieces, there going to line up square. The clamping area is 12”x16”. I knew I wanted some type of caul, and hoped this would save me a few clamps. I ended up milling maple strips as cauls, 3/4”x1 1/4” and I dont know the correct term for this, but I lined up the grain while milling so that if the natural way the wood would want to flex would be sideways, not up and down. They came from a large thick piece of wood, not 3/4 stock from HD. If anyone smarter then I am knows what thats called, help a brother out! I left spaces in the fence so that the cauls could be used in either direction, so that if I need to clamp the 16” end for end grain butcher blocks I will have that option. The cauls are clamped down using t-bolts and knobs. I can put a decent amount of pressure on them, and it keep the board flat while the bar clamps put the real work in. The whole thing has a few coats of danish oil to resist glue, and the underside of the cauls have a layer of tuck tape for the same purpose. I line the bottom with a sheet of wax paper. All in all this makes it faster, easier and I save 6 precious clamps. I could also make a few of these and stack them.

The boards are my first attempt, made from jatoba and birch glued up with tightbond III and finished with 6 coats of walnut oil.

Thanks for viewing, any and all feedback is welcome!

-- "despite you best efforts and your confidence that your smarter and faster than a saw blade at 10k rpm…. your not …." - Charles Neil

25 comments so far

View BobWemm's profile


2951 posts in 2931 days

#1 posted 04-09-2013 11:14 PM

Great idea.
Thanks for sharing.

-- Bob, Western Australia, The Sun came up this morning, what a great start to the day. Now it's up to me to make it even better. I've cut this piece of wood 4 times and it's still too damn short.

View nakedjoinery's profile


117 posts in 2963 days

#2 posted 04-09-2013 11:59 PM

Hey now thats a great jig . I wanted to make a few boards before next christmas, and now I’ll have a jig. Awesone. Thanks

-- mike c

View The Box Whisperer's profile

The Box Whisperer

678 posts in 3076 days

#3 posted 04-10-2013 12:06 AM

Thank you naked! Please post yours when you do, and if you come up with any improvements please let me know!

-- "despite you best efforts and your confidence that your smarter and faster than a saw blade at 10k rpm…. your not …." - Charles Neil

View gsimon's profile


1325 posts in 3119 days

#4 posted 04-10-2013 12:22 AM

genius! I love this jig
gonna have to make it a favorite
nice boards too

-- Greg Simon

View Randy_ATX's profile


881 posts in 3447 days

#5 posted 04-10-2013 02:10 AM

I made something very similar last year, but without the cauls. I am going to use your idea before I make my next cutting board. Thanks for sharing! I think the term you were looking for was edge of board vs face of board. You used the edge for less flexing.

-- Randy -- Austin, TX by way of Northwest (Woodville), OH

View TheWoodenOyster's profile


1335 posts in 2940 days

#6 posted 04-10-2013 03:21 AM

Nothing like a good jig. Please let me know where you dumpster dive for walnut and purpleheart. I’d do a double twist backflip if it meant I could dive in that dumpster.

-- The Wood Is Your Oyster

View a1Jim's profile


118161 posts in 4582 days

#7 posted 04-10-2013 04:27 AM

View quicksilver's profile


195 posts in 3593 days

#8 posted 04-10-2013 05:44 AM

I like this idea..will have to buy clamps.
I agree, half the fun is making the jig.
Great job.

-- Quicksilver

View stefang's profile


17040 posts in 4339 days

#9 posted 04-10-2013 07:51 AM

Great jig!

-- Mike, an American living in Norway.

View Ken90712's profile


17972 posts in 4194 days

#10 posted 04-10-2013 08:49 AM

Great job, these help with glue up and save so much time trying to flaten a board out. Enjoy!

-- Ken, "Everyday above ground is a good day!"

View ellen35's profile


2749 posts in 4438 days

#11 posted 04-10-2013 10:24 AM

Great idea!

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

View Bevy's profile


90 posts in 4403 days

#12 posted 04-10-2013 10:26 AM

Going in my favorites for my next jig….I love it

-- Bevy - NH

View Blackie_'s profile


4883 posts in 3518 days

#13 posted 04-10-2013 11:57 AM

Nice jig and boards, Thanks for sharing

-- Randy - If I'm not on LJ's then I'm making Saw Dust. Please feel free to visit my store location at

View drbyte's profile


847 posts in 5068 days

#14 posted 04-10-2013 01:33 PM

Nice jig! Are your cauls tapered out at the ends? Thicker in the middle to counteract the natural tendency to bow when tightened down at the ends?

-- Dennis, WV

View RussellAP's profile


3105 posts in 3292 days

#15 posted 04-10-2013 01:43 PM

That’s the way to do it. I’ve been using a rig similar to yours, but I use clamps instead of those neat hold downs. I’d like to get some steel bar in place of the wood, something that wont flex.

-- A positive attitude will take you much further than positive thinking ever will.

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