I decided to make some handmade gifts for Christmas with the extra wood from my Charcuterie project. There were a few weeks left before Christmas, so I went into the “Bonus Round” to make a few 3D cutting boards. They look great but are by no means a weekend project!

Cutting boards (as opposed to charcuterie boards) use end grain as the face. This means that you need to have extremely wide boards OR you have to do a lot of glue up. To get the design I wanted I did a LOT of gluing. There’s probably 150-200 individual pieces in each 12″ x 12″ board.

Ripped and glued “cookie dough roll” blanks, with alternating color strips placed between

Here’s the basic idea: Rip (cut lengthwise) two pieces of the desired woods to about 2″ wide with a 45 degree angle to narrow one edge down to 1″. Then cut a 1″ square for the center piece of wood. These pieces can be as long as you want. I would have made them longer than what’s pictured but I was using leftover stock. Glue up this assembly. It’s tricky to glue because the pieces on the 45 degree bevel tend to slide over each other.

Think of what you just assembled as a roll of cookie dough that will be sliced to the thickness of the cutting board. Before you slice though you can glue up enough of the cookie dough rolls to get to the width of the board you want to make. Once they are dry, sand them flat so the glue lines are nice and tight for subsequent glue steps.

Rolls cut to cutting board thickness, waiting for next glue step

As you can tell from the picture there is an artistic element to cutting the wood blanks in order to emphasize the 3D effect. The blocks on the left hand board use maple and oak for the bevel wood, with wenge in the middle. Wenge is the darker wood on the right hand blank, and I cut it in a way to draw your eye into the little block (which is maple) and create an architectural window effect. I was trying to make it look like 225 Franklin Street in Boston, a building where I worked for several years:

225 Franklin Street recessed window design

Once the board was glued up I used my CNC to level it perfectly flat (another great capability of the CNC!) Then it was off to finishing with multiple coats of cutting board oil.

Finishing- a messy job best contained

Another well-received set of Christmas gifts!