These plans were created in order to make a bunch of simple wooden cutting boards to give as Christmas gifts. We've had a large wood cutting board kicking around our kitchen for years that had been made by some unknown family member. Since I've always liked the shape and proportions of it, I looked to it for inspiration when creating the ones you see here. After all the gifts were cut and delivered, I also came up with a new twist - the baguette board - which you'll see below.
This design is based on a wood cutting board that we use in our kitchen on a daily basis. It was given to me by my mom and was apparently made by someone in the family. It was clearly handmade and has developed a beautiful aged patina over the years.
I love the overall shape, but the cutting board is a single piece of maple almost 9 inches wide, over 16 inches long, and a full inch thick. It's an impressive piece of wood, but a bit too big for simple Christmas gifts. Besides, a piece of maple that size would be extremely costly.
For the gifts, I was aiming for something more manageable. My wife had a great suggestion that we bake little demi-loaves to give with the gifts. A small wooden cutting boards that would fit within a 12" length of maple 1x6 would be perfect.
The finished board is the same shape as the large original, but is overall 5" wide, 11-1/4" long and 3/4" thick. I designed it slightly smaller than a 12" length of 1x6 so that I could completely cut the full profile and not have any waste from an 8 foot long board.
After having made a bunch of these small wooden cutting boards, I began pondering the size of them. As a small bread or cheese board they work great. In fact, my brother uses his almost every day for cutting cheese and vegetables.
After considering making a larger board using 1x8 maple, I noticed one day the difficulty my daughter was having trying keep a baguette under control while slicing it. The narrow width of my little maple cutting boards is perfect for a baguette - just not long enough. Bingo! I stretched the length out several inches and behold, the baguette cutting board was born.
Of course there's nothing magical about making a longer cutting board to fit a baguette. I just happen to really like the presentation of a baguette on a nice long board. Also, I've included the longer board in the cutting board plans to illustrate that the size can easily be adjusted to anything you like.
Material selection is pretty straightforward. Using maple for cutting boards is pretty hard to argue with. It looks good, holds up well, and is easy to get. As I mentioned before, one of the main reasons I used 1x6 maple was because it's so easy to find and reasonably priced.
But don't let the easy availability of maple limit you. Several other readily available species of hardwood make great wooden cutting boards, including beech, walnut, and cherry. One of my favorites, though a little harder to find, is purple heart. It has a very unique color and makes beautiful wooden kitchen utensils (for an example, check out my Ravioli Presses).
Once you get the material figured out, you have several options for cutting them out. You can print out the plans and simply trace them onto your lumber. Then cut to the line with a coping saw, saber saw (jig saw), or band saw. A little bit of sanding and you're done.
If you're cutting out the boards by hand, you can enlarge the drawing just a bit and use the full width of your lumber. You'll get a slightly larger cutting board with less cutting and less waste than is spelled out in the drawings.
However, you could also create a pattern out of 1/4" MDF or hardboard and make multiple copies pretty efficiently with a router. I won't get into the details here, but check out the series of Router Videos I've compiled for some great instruction on using routers for template work.
The final step to completing your cutting board is to condition it with food grade mineral oil or cutting board oil. This step is optional - some people prefer to leave the wood raw. Regularly oiling your kitchen cutting boards will help preserve the wood and make it easier to clean and sanitize.
Regardless of the size and material you choose, I hope you will enjoy using a cutting board in your own kitchen that you made yourself. They're quite simple to build and also make great gifts. Whenever you're ready, check out the plans by clicking here. If you would rather download a copy to your computer, right click then "save-as". Either way, you'll need the Adobe reader to view the file.