Step 7 – Final Fit
Before you glue-up the cutting board it’s really important to do a full dry fit and clamp it. This is the best way to check to be sure all the joints fit well. If you need to make a minor adjustment I recommend using a benchtop disc sander. If a particular row is messed up you can always use that “spare” piece I mentioned.
Gluing Up Basket Weave Cutting Board
The next step is gluing up the cutting board. Because of the pattern involved with this cutting board you really need to glue up the entire board at once. This isn’t easy and you really need to be prepared before you begin. I highly recommend that all the pieces have a visible number on them that matches your sketch.
I found the easiest way to clamp this type of cutting board is by starting with two “backstops” or straight pieces of wood clamped to a bench at 90 degrees to each other. This will ensure that the cutting board is square (you can’t trim this type of design after to get it square!).
Working quickly apply generous amounts of wood glue (I use Titebond III) to the edges of the pieces as you assemble the pattern. Work from the corner of the backstops and quickly move so the glue doesn’t set up on the first pieces before you get them all done. I use scrap pieces of wood with painters tape on them as culls to keep everything tight and also to keep the board flat. I do my clamping on my outfeed table that has built-in T-Track so I can clamp the culls down to keep the board flat.
TIP: Parchment paper works very well for keeping glue from sticking to your bench. I find it works even better than tape, wax paper or plastic wrap.
Sanding and Finishing Basket Weave Cutting Board
Finishing the basket weave cutting board is pretty straight forward. First I used a card scrapper to remove all the dried glue squeeze out. Then I used a random orbit sander with 80 grit paper to smooth things out. Next I used a 1/4″ round-over bit in the router to put a nice simple edge on the all sides of the cutting board. Finally I finished sanding the board with 120 and 200 grit sand paper.
Finally after all the hard work I applied a finish to the cutting board. Let me preface this section by saying there are dozens of ways to finish a cutting board. This particular cutting board will see very light duty and probably be more of a show piece in the kitchen than a work horse which certainly played a part in the finish I chose.
For this cutting board I used a Salad Bowl Finish from General Finishes. If you’re going to use the board a lot you might want to use an oil finish. However, I’ve used this finish on other cutting boards with great success. As you can see the finish really helps bring out the natural beauty of the wood that I selected and made the cutting board look more like a piece of art than something as utilitarian as a cutting board.
This type of finish can be re-applied later to revive the appearance. Best of all it’s food safe and it will keep your board safe from water damage when you wash the board. I hope you enjoyed this article and find it useful. Making cutting boards is a fun woodworking project!