With an end-grain butcher block, the blade of your knife slips between the fibres instead of cutting across them. Your knife stays sharper longer, and it’s harder to scar the cutting board. Also: they’re pretty.
By DAVE BALL from Jacob May Design – woodworking company, Oakland, California
- One 50 mm-thick kiln-dried board from a nut- or fruit-producing tree, such as oak or walnut
- Titebond III wood glue
- Mineral oil
- Butcher block conditioner made with beeswax
- 100- and 150-grit sandpaper
- Table saw
How to make a butcher block
Plane the boards, trying to keep them as thick as possible.
Use a table saw to rip 42-mm strips of board.
Rotate each strip 90 degrees so the cut edges are on the top and bottom. The width of your cutting board is determined by the number of strips you line up. You can combine strips from different boards if they are the same dryness.
Make sure the strips are as even as possible, then glue them together with waterproof Titebond III. Clamp the wood for two hours, then unclamp it and let it sit for another 24.
Plane the board.
Crosscut glued board every 50 mm. (The distance between each crosscut determines the thickness of your cutting board.) Make sure to keep the pieces in order.
Rotate each crosscut section 90 degrees, alternating between turning them to the left and the right to create a mirrored pattern in the grain.
Glue the crosscut pieces together. Clamp for two hours, then unclamp and let sit for another 24.
If your jointer is wide enough, jointing then planing the cutting board will create the best cutting surface. Otherwise, plane both sides, ensuring that the board won’t rock.
Sand the board with 100-grit paper, followed by 150-grit.
Use a round-over router bit and router to soften the edges on the top of the board. If you don’t have a router, sand vigorously to remove sharp corners.
Soak the finished product in mineral oil for half an hour. Wipe off the excess and apply conditioner.