The holidays will be here before you know it and I've got a simple gift idea to share today. Actually, these bread boards, cutting or serving boards are so easy you'll probably want to make several and check a few names off your gift giving list. Luckily, I created an assortment of plans/cutting guides to share with you. Have fun with all the variations, I know I did.
<a href="http://eff5c75290b0e498bfcc-cdb2fd2cc8e016557784fa363a2704b5.r93.cf1.rackcdn.com/pdf/roundedhandle.pdf" target="_blank">Rounded Handle Cutting Guide</a>
<a href="http://eff5c75290b0e498bfcc-cdb2fd2cc8e016557784fa363a2704b5.r93.cf1.rackcdn.com/pdf/hexagonboard.pdf" target="_blank">Hexagon Board Cutting Guide</a>
<a href="http://eff5c75290b0e498bfcc-cdb2fd2cc8e016557784fa363a2704b5.r93.cf1.rackcdn.com/pdf/antiquehandle.pdf" target="_blank">Antique Handle Cutting Guide</a>
To create cutting boards all you need is quality lumber. Untreated hard woods with a tight grain are best, like cherry, walnut or maple. Softer woods like pine or woods with a very open grain like oak, are not ideal candidates for cutting boards. You can find quality lumber from a local hardware dealer or specialty wood shop.
Other than wood, simple tools are all that you need. All of the handle templates include a centering guide to make it easy to accurately center them on the boards.
The detailed instructions below are for cutting the hexagon with a miter saw for perfectly straight cuts, but this or any of the boards can be created with a jig saw. Finishing instructions are also included.
Select your template for a shaped board or handle. Cut out template and trace the shape onto the board. For this tutorial most of the instructions will apply to creating the hexagon board. Overall, these instructions apply for the other shapes as well. You will note that the board is much longer than the hexagon. This is a safety measure to provide extra board to clamp while cutting. For cutting with a jig saw, be sure to clamp the board to a work surface for safety and stability. If you are not cutting a hexagon with a miter saw proceed to step 6.
Once your shape is traced you can begin to cut. Set your miter saw to 31.6 and make the first cut - the upper right hand side of the hexagon. Push the blade along the line, be sure to stop cutting about an inch or so before you reach the handle. See photo in next step as well.
Next, turn your miter saw to the opposite 31.6 angle. Push the blade along your line and off the board.
Turn your miter saw again to the opposite 31.6 angle. Slide your board over and cut the bottom left side. At this time do not cut the hexagon away from the board. This will give you the board you need to clamp for the last cut.
For the last cut, repeat moving the miter saw to 31.6 on the opposite side. Slide the saw blade up the board, but remember to stop short of the handle. Now that the sides are cut you are finished with the miter saw.
Using a jig saw, cut the handle and the top sides of the board. Having extra board to clamp to is handy here as well.
Using an orbital sander, starting at about 80-grit sandpaper, sand the wood smooth. Progressively increase the grit as you go up, to120-220 grit with the sander.
Once the front and back of the boards are smooth, add a hole if desired. Start by drilling a very small pilot hole. You will use this as a starting point with a wood drilling bit. A wood drilling bit has a fine tip at the end to ensure a clean start to any hole.
A helpful tip: Drill the desired hole only half way through one side and then flip the board over, using the small pilot hole as a guide, finish drilling all the way through. This avoids a rough exit out of the back of the board.
With the Corner Cat Finish Sander, use the tip to soften the edges of the hole. Continue with the Cat sander to smooth out all the sides and to soften the edges all around the board. Again, increase the grit incrementally all the way up to 120-220.
To ensure a super smooth finish, here's a great tip. After the board is perfectly smooth with the sanders, sand with 220 grit, if you were using it already and and finish with 400 grit. Then, wet the board. Depending on the type of wood this may bring up a bit of grain once it is dry.
Allow the board to air dry, or for best results, dry the board with a heat gun.
Then sand down the board again, by hand with 400 grit sandpaper.
Lastly, clean the board well and apply a food safe finish. Mineral oil or salad bowl finish are both great options.If you are giving the boards away, it might be nice to include a small bottle of oil for the recipient to refresh their board as needed.