First, let me start things off by congratulating you on getting into the wonderful world of woodworking. It’s a world where, by the time you figure out a way to sell your items at a price that you will actually begin to see profits from, Lowe’s will go and drop their line of DIY live edge coffee table sets for $99.99 and leave you looking to sell your sanders and head back to the cubicle.
So, before you quit your job to start selling craft show items, let’s start small…
A cutting board.
Sounds easy enough, right? Here’s what you’ll need:
- Clamps, at least 5 of 24″ lengths.
- Lumber (duh).
- Water proof glue, look for type 3.
- An electric sander.
- A planer.
- Sand paper. A lot of sandpaper; you’ll want 100, 120, 220 and then, if you want to get real crazy, a 320 grit… Told ya. It’s a lot.
- Then, you will need some food safe oil. I know, it sounds fancy. For now, you can just hit up your local drug store and get some mineral oil to get you started. Ps. You can find it where they keep their laxatives… fun, right? Better hope the cashier ain’t cute.
Don’t have access to the tools? Rent them. Yes, you can do that.
Now, if you plan on selling these, try to keep track of how long all of this is going to take. Then, you have to factor in that you’re going to spend a few hours putting these master pieces together. IF you can handle all of that, and some how mange to not punch the family member that says they can “just buy one at Walmart” after you tell them your price. Well, then woodworking just may be for you — Maybe.
“So, Mr. Sarcasm, where should I get my wood from?”
Well, you’ve heard of Home Depot, right? Good. Don’t go there. Nothing against them. I shop at my local Home Depot (almost) daily. But, this is a post about cutting boards. And, for cutting boards, you want specific lumber. You also want straight boards, which Home Depot, sadly, offers neither.
The biggest piece of advice that I can offer to someone that is starting out, is to do your research on lumberyards (or, “lumber mills”, if you’re an asshole) near you. Your lumber can be very expensive and a lot of the big box stores do not sell the type of hardwoods that you see in most cutting boards. Softwoods are a big no-no in the best cutting board designs game. If you want to get your board a thousand double taps (aka likes), then woods like pine or spruce are out. You’ll need the density of a maple, cherry or walnut wood(s). Those are the most popular woods used to make cutting boards and your local lumber (mill) should carry them.
Now, before you go and do all of that, I would watch a bunch of YouTube videos in order to give yourself a proper visual of everything that goes into making a quality board. I’ll save you the trouble, though. These two videos are, in my opinion, the best that I have come across so far:
The first is by “DIY Pete” and you can find it here.
The second, is by Brad from “FIX THIS BUILD THAT”. And, you can find his video right here:
Now, for the fun part; Sanding.
I, personally, like to start with a 100 grit sand paper. Then, I use a 120 grit. After that, I wipe the board down with a damp cloth. This will raise the wood fibres and will help the board to stay smooth after gets washed for the first time.
After that, I use another 220 grit and wipe it again with another damp cloth. My last pass is with a 320 grit before I apply any oil. Some people like to use a 400 grit at this stage, but, I don’t like going over 320 grit. I find stopping at the 320 mark to be important because anything over 320 is considered “water proof”. Which may sound good at first, but the way I look at it; if you seal up most of the wood fibres so it becomes water proof, how will the oil or finish(es) that you put onto your board be able to seep into the wood? It won’t. To be honest, even a 320 grit may be a bit too much. But, again, this is just my personal opinion so feel free to let me know what your thoughts are.
Now, everyone and their brother will have a different way to finish a cutting board but the most inexpensive and easiest way, that I have found l, is to use mineral oil (again, you can find at any drugstore). Your board will need to be soaked and will take about 12–24 hours to cure properly. After that, I like to do two coats of beeswax on top of the board and just buff that in. This step isn’t really necessary, I just happen to live close to a farmer that sells it for cheap, so I apply it for more durability.
As always, they are a million ways to cook a steak, and I am no where near an expert but I have had the pleasure of learning all of these lessons the hard way. By sharing them with you, I’m just hoping to make the journey a little easier for you and/or someone that you care about. So, If you liked this post, or know of someone that could benefit from it, please feel free to share it.
If you have any questions or concerns, I am always willing to talk shop and offer some suggestions, where I can. So, feel free to leave a comment, or connect with me on Instagram and Facebook @remarkableworks.
Remember; if you’re going to bring your vision to life, craft it with care.