Making the cut

Check your calendars. We are now halfway through November. With the holiday season quickly gaining on us, now is a pretty good time to start thinking about what you are going to build for those special folks on your gift list.

What are you considering? Sure, big impressive projects make a splash when they are opened, but they take a lot of time and planning to pull off. What you need is an easy to build piece that only looks like you spent a long time on it.

“Everyone loves to spend time in the kitchen. It’s a room that gets used just about every day. Something for there could be a big winner,” said Eric Poirier of Bell Forest Products. “What family chef wouldn’t love a hand crafted cutting board?”

I’m gonna come right out and say that I have built end grain cutting boards before. While they are very pretty, they do take some time to build and can present problems when working the end grain. Not insurmountable, but not something you want to try to figure out with shipping deadlines looming.

There is another option… Bell Forest Products also offers an easier to build face grain model. And, with a kit like this and a few nights in the shop, you will be the holiday hero.

The kit includes two pieces of maple and a contrasting strip of either walnut our purpleheart. “We chose some very hard species which can stand up to years of slicing and chopping.”  The pieces I got were milled to the same thickness. The center strip of walnut in the kit had very smooth, straight edges on both sides, and the two birdseye maple pieces had one jointed edge.  Some glue on the edges, a night in the clamps and bingo…the blank was ready to roll.

After gluing these pieces up with a waterproof glue, it’s a simple matter of cutting the board to shape with a jigsaw, band saw or scroll saw, sanding and finishing. The kit includes a template for a classic design, “or, you can go free form and make a one of a kind piece. Heck, we even include a blank rectangle of MDF for you to free form your own template.”

While mineral oil is the tried and true finish for such a piece, finishes such as salad bowl finish or walnut oil can do a good job as well. Just be sure to allow plenty of time for the finish to cure before someone starts cutting on it.   And, when it gets knife scarred after years of use, a quick sanding and refinish is all it takes to restore the piece back to its original luster.

With the clock ticking toward the holiday season, one of these cutting board kits can give you the gift of more relaxed, enjoyable shop time.


3 thoughts on “Making the cut”

  1. Great idea Tom, most of us tend to think of building an end grain cutting board which can take some time. This is a great option that several could be produced very quickly.

  2. For anyone thinking about creating an end-grain cutting board, head over to and search for ‘cutting board. Wealth of info. I have made many and they can’t be beat for durability.

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