Cutting Board // Project

We are CONSTANTLY doing projects and creating things for our home so I thought it was time to share one of those projects!  It's taken me this long because I wanted any home tutorial I shared here not only to be tried, tested, and true but also beautiful, functional, really well thought out and quality made.  I've had this project in mind for quite sometime.  It's pretty simple, and checks all the required boxes.  We ended up with a cutting/serving/charcuterie board that I will proudly use and display in our kitchen.  This would also make for a really beautiful gift if you don't have a need for another cutting board (although I'm honestly not sure who doesn't need another serving board).  

Here's what you'll need:

  • 1 Slab of Hardwood.  The size we used was 12"x27.5"x 1".  You can honestly use whatever size you want you'll just have to make adjustments to the width of leather strips as well.  (No two pieces of wood are identical which is kind of the beauty of it!) There are a few really great resources for finding the perfect piece of wood in Calgary.  If you aren't in Calgary I recommend searching "hardwood/exotic wood stores" in your area.  If you are in Calgary you're in luck. We shop at Black Forest or Windsor Plywood.  There are often remnant sized pieces of wood to choose from so you don't have to purchase a huge piece. The piece we purchased is Olive Wood. 
  • 1 Scrap of Sturdy (not flimsy) Leather - enough for 2  1"x8" strips (adjust according to the width of your wood) Again if you're in Calgary area we shop at Tandy Leather
  • Smooth Brass Furniture Nails.  You can purchase these at literally any hardware store.
  • Cutting Board Wax.  We used Claphams Beeswax.  It's all natural, food safe, and even though you'll have lots of left over you can always touch up your board whenever you feel it needs it. 
  • Sander/Sand Paper.  We started with a 36 grit and finished with a 220 grit.  
  • Measuring Tape + Ruler
  • Utility Knife With a New/Sharp Blade

Step one is to cut your board to desired size. If you do not have the proper electrical tools/saw to do this you can usually have the wood shop do it for you.  The wood we found was pretty much good to go, James simply had to trim one of the edges to make sure it was square.  

Next, you'll want to sand the board.  This is a super important step.  You want to make it as smooth as possible.  You can see in this photo that this piece of wood had quite a rough cut when we bought it so we needed a tougher sand paper to start with to get those striations out of  there.  James only sanded the top and bottom of the board, and either end, not the edges because this wood had a live edge on it which we wanted to leave as is.  

After you've sanded your piece of wood and the surfaces are as smooth as silk, or butter (or whatever it is you equate to being smooth) give the wood a good dusting off/clean with a soft dry rag.  You don't want any dust left on the board before applying the wax.  We even made sure to continue on to the next step in a different area because we didn't want any dust settling on the waxy board.

Now you're ready to apply the wax.  You won't need a huge amount and it's super easy to tell where you've applied it.  No special tools required.  The beeswax is nice for your skin anyways so just use your fingers.  Once you covered both sides, the ends, and either edge, go ahead and lean the board somewhere dry and clean so it has a chance to dry.  We let it dry for around 24 hours before buffing any excess wax off with a clean, dry rag.

Now for the leather! The proper cutting tools are key here. The leather I chose was fairly thick so a sharp utility knife worked perfectly.  The thickness of your board matters here.  I say 1" strips of leather because that was the same thickness of our board.  Obviously measure the thickness and cut your leather around the same.  8" seemed to be the perfect length to make handles.  

Final step!  Take your brass furniture nails along with your leather strips and pre-make holes where you will attach the handles to the board.  We measured in 3/4" for the first hole and 1 1/2" for the second on either end of each strip.  Fastening the handles to either end is going to require a little figuring out on your part based on the exact size of your wood.  From the centre we started the handle 3 1/2" from either side of centre.  This seemed to allow enough slack for the size of our handle once finished.  Once measured go ahead and attached handles based on measurements and pre-made holes. 

Voila!  You have a beautiful cutting/serving/charcuterie board! This one is going to permanently reside on our kitchen counter as our every day cutting board.  I love creating things for our home.  I have this romantic idea that there's even more love and good energy radiating off each hand made piece.  Another reason that this would make an amazing gift (if you're feeling generous).