Add warmth to the kitchen with a handmade cutting board.
Stylist and H&H contributor Sasha Seymour (she helps to create many of our beautiful food stories) gave me a gorgeous cutting board that her partner, Yotam Tintpulver, made as a hostess gift. I loved the board’s large scale and organic vibe so much that I asked him to teach me how to make more! To my surprise, with a few rental tools and a lot of sanding, making a cutting board is easy for even the most novice woodworker. Here’s how:
Materials and Tools
- 80- and 120-grit sandpaper
- Belt sander
- Vibrating sander
- Food-grade mineral oil
- Table saw and electric hand planer (optional)
Step 1: Choose and cut wood
Browse the local lumberyard for a nice piece of wood. Consider the grain, colour and density: a soft wood like cedar is easy to cut and sand, while hardwoods like poplar or maple won’t show knife serrations from chopping veggies or slicing bread. Leftover end cuts from your own projects will also work. If you have a table saw, cut the board to size (mine is roughly 2' long and 10" wide) and plane it on all four sides (don’t worry if there are tears in the wood; you’ll sand those out later). Alternatively, ask to have the wood cut in store.
Step 2: Sand, sand and sand some more!
It can be arduous, but a thorough sanding is what transforms a basic piece of wood into a beautiful cutting board. Fit a handheld belt sander with 80-grit paper and roll the sander around the edges of the board until the sides and corners are rounded. Repeat using a vibrating sander with 120-grit paper for a smooth sliver-free finish. If you don’t own a belt sander, use the vibrating sander for both steps.
Step 3: Seal the wood
Prep the cutting board by rubbing it with food-safe mineral oil, found at most grocery and hardware stores. Reoil it once a month, or as needed. Always dry the cutting board immediately after washing, as water and humidity will quickly warp the wood. In addition to being a great chopping block, the board makes a unique serving tray for charcuterie or cheese, and a perfect one-of-a-kind gift for a foodie friend.