Behind the Grain: The Making of a Cutting Board.

Unveiling the craft: The making of a cutting board - A quick glance

Welcome to Ottawa Lumber Bin's first blog post!

In this blog post, we'll broadly explore the process of making a cutting board from start to finish. From lumber selection to the finishing touches and why we make the choices we do (or don't). I will also share my personal thoughts on something towards the end, so read thru!

Wood selection: Finding the right piece/s of lumber fit for the job is sometimes easier said than done. It has to be the right price. It can't be all twisted and warped. It has to be relatively blemish free. They have to be straight enough to glue together and have good adhesion. Being mindful of the type of board (face grain, edge grain or end grain) you're making at the time of purchase makes a world of difference.

Math a little: Nothing too crazy but figuring out how to waste as little material as possible is obviously in your best interest. Which will come with a little trial and error. For example, if a client has ordered an edge grain board with a desired final thickness of 1 1/2in, I know that I can start the process with a thickness of 1 5/8in.

End Grain vs. Edge Grain: For simplicity's sake, I will only focus on these two. I've got lots of love for both. While edge grain boards are incredibly durable, and perfect for everyday tasks, they lack a little resilience to knife marks. End grain boards are much more resilient to the latter, and great for heavy chopping, but may require a little more TLC. It really depends on your needs.

Construction: Know what you're going to do before you do it. Organization is crucial. Wear a mask.

1.) Cut all your pieces at once for uniformity and to save time on setting up your saw/s.

2.) The "glue-up" is the real deal. Tite Bond III is our go-to for its longer open time. Keep all your clamps close by, you're on a deadline!   

3.) Planer time! Level your new block of wood into a work of art. Ear protection is your friend.

4.) Getting that first straight surface is key. Check out "straight edge jig" on YouTube. Square it up and rip the second side. Use a square or crosscut sled for those ends.

5.) From here, edge grain boards are smooth sailing. End grain, however, means a second glue-up. Cut into strips, turn 45 degrees and re-glue. PRO TIP: Keep those strips square to ensure your pattern lines up with the board.

6.) Finishing touches! Router jigs make it a breeze for juice grooves, handles, and rounded edges. Sanding is crucial, 60 grit to 320 grit. Step by step, no skipping. Don't forget to mist with water to raise the grain! Finally, mineral oil + beeswax combo for a lasting, sweet-smelling finish. Your cutting board already loves you!


Feet n' Heat: Our goal is longevity. Adding feet means poking holes, a breeding ground for bacteria and rot. Our aim? Keep the water out. We do have an "add feet" option on our products, we get it, you may want them, and that's ok. We just want you to be aware. Now, onto the heat.

Cutting boards aren't fans of being soaked. There's a difference between a quick, soapy scrub and a 10-minute hot water soak. Show your board some TLC, and you'll have it forever.


Final thought: The making of a cutting board is a mix of simplicity and intricacy. Every step plays a role in shaping a kitchen essential that's both practical and visually pleasing. Whether you opt for the classic charm of cherry, or the vibrant hues of purpleheart, cutting boards embody the beauty found in keeping things simple yet elegant.


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