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Making a Simple Cutting Board

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image Fun and functional design is easy to cut

Fun and functional design is easy to cut

Cutting boards are fun and easy to produce, make practical gifts, and sell well at craft shows. This classic pig design requires only one inside cut, making it ideal for beginners.

There are many advantages to a wooden cutting board. Ceramic and glass cutting boards dull your knives. Plastic cutting boards develop grooves from use and become hard to clean. It is a common myth that wooden cutting boards harbor bacteria. In fact, researchers discovered after normal use and manual cleaning, more bacteria is found on a plastic surface than a wood surface.

I use Eastern hard (rock) maple because it is a beautiful light wood that finishes well. Fruitwoods, such as cherry, beech, or walnut, will also work. I do not recommend oak since it contains tannin and can add a bitter taste to food. Avoid softwoods, such as fir, hemlock, spruce, or pine. Softwoods will not hold up to prolonged use as well as harder woods. Choose a piece of hardwood that is free of knots or splits.

Food Safe Finishes

According to many experts, every finish is food-safe after it fully cures. If you have concerns about the safety of a finish, you have several options:

  • No Finish: Clean the board as needed and sand off any resistant stains.
  • Natural drying oils: Apply a natural oil, such as pure tung oil or walnut oil.
  • Beeswax: sold in several consistencies, heat the beeswax lightly in a microwave to make it easier to apply.
  • Mineral oil or paraffin oil: Available in most drug stores, reapply the oil as the finish wears off.

Materials & Tools


  • 1" x 10" x 14" hard maple or hardwood of choice
  • Mineral oil, paraffin oil, or wax-based salad bowl finish (available in wood-working and kitchen supply stores)
  • 120-grit sandpaper


  • Olson #9 PGT blades or blades of choice
  • Drill with 1/8"-diameter drill bit
  • Sanding block
  • Brushes and rags (to apply finish)

Click on the attachment to download the pattern for this project (PDF required)

Click on the images in the image gallery for step-by-step insturctions for completing this project.

Image gallery
Step 1: Prepare the blank Step 2: Cut the pig Step 3: Sand the cutting board Step 4: Apply the finish
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Comments (12 posted):

wood-n-things on 06/29/2009 17:27:15
Nice article....can't wait for my issue to arrive...here mail man....Here mailman...
marshall on 06/29/2009 22:05:19
Bob this cute , it'll be niece to receive the issue and have my own copy....also niece idea for a present.........Marshall :D
fpaulus on 06/30/2009 04:07:56
Im cutting boards like this, and kids love it with here name. I make the hole round, so you can use it as a eggcup holder. Greetings from Germany Franz
DaveVanEss on 06/30/2009 14:12:25
When I submitted this article I had included several diffent designs. The editor decide to go with the pig only. Here are plans for a cow, a slice of bread, a coffee mug, and a flying pig. Some people say the mug looks like a beer stein. (beauty is in the eye of the beer holder) I call the flying pig, pigasus. It represents the human spirit. My biggest limitation is me. A flying pig doesn't fly far or long. However it flys with spirit, hoping to fly a bit further each day. Small wing span but a big heart.
wood-n-things on 06/30/2009 16:34:17
Thanks so much for sharing the others...That is very nice of you. I like the pigasus idea...rather a fun idea.
nzmerlin on 07/01/2009 06:10:50
Ta very much for the xtra patterns Dave. Merlin ----------------------- "Try not! Do, or do not! There is no try!"
Shannon on 07/01/2009 15:16:04
But the pigasus wasn't one of the alternate designs you submitted... stamping foot... :) Just kidding. Very cute!
Fran1942 on 07/08/2009 19:04:52
I have already bought some hard maple for the cutting board. It will be a gift to the lady I made the "Pig in a Blanket" intarsia for. Thanks for the pattern. Fran
jim_mex on 07/08/2009 19:33:51
Hi Dave - thanks also for your article and the patterns. And i love your flying pig analogy - 100% with you!
marshall on 07/08/2009 21:41:14
I think that the big Pig is a great pattern , I'll bet that there will be a lot of these made........Marshall
wombat 2509 on 09/25/2011 07:19:39
hi Old post I know I work with a disabled high school boy,we made the cow for his mother (old cow? : ) official joke) she loved it to bits now I have had to make the wife the flying pig BIG THANKS for the plans
wood-n-things on 09/25/2011 11:45:46
Wombat, Share some pics please. Welcome to the board. Head on over to the "welcome members" forum and introduce yourself and share tons of information. Where you are from, job, likes, dislikes, scrolling experience..etc.
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Author info
Dave Van Ess
Dave Van Ess of Arlington, Wash., is an engineer and has been woodworking for more than 30 years. He has introduced more than 200 Cub Scout leaders to the joys of scroll sawing.