Kitchen Projects Videos

Cutting Board Finishes

There are as many different opinions of what kind of coating should go on a cutting board as there are different kinds of cutting boards. The purpose of this article is not to suggest what can be used but to provide information on a wide number of products that could be used.
It is up to the woodworker to make the final decision based on where the the cutting board will be used.
In the end, the best coating for a cutting board is no coating or finish at all.

If we look at the life of most wooden cutting boards, they begin as new wood with some sort of a coating on them, usually some sort of oil-type coating. During their use they are either used to cut meat, or they are designated to cut other things like fruits, vegetables, breads and other common cutting items. In either case the cutting boards are cleaned regularly with warm soapy water, dried off then left to air dry. This process of constantly washing a drying, in a short period of time will wash off any coating that was originally put on the cutting board.

Since most cutting boards are seldom, or never re-coated after they begin use, what happens is the cutting board develops it's own patina or look that in some cases is similar to what the board was originally coated with. This is now most cutting boards live their life, which can go on for years and years. Cutting boards should be disposed of if they develop any kind of a crack in the wood, or if during their use they subjected to some very deep cuts. These kinds of cuts and cracks can harbor bacteria and pathogens that could cause illness so it is best to eliminate these threats.

Before we get into what are some of the finishes you can use on cutting boards, lets look at the short list of what you should not use, or at least be very cautious in using ....

Read more: Cutting Board Finishes

Making 3 Simple Cutting Boards

Making cutting boards continues to be a very popular project. The nice thing with making cutting boards is you can can use almost any hardwood available and even if you only have cutting left they can often still be re-fabricated into a usable cutting board. Cutting boards are a popular items at swap meets, country markets and garden markets. They are available in many different kinds of woods, shapes, sizes and grain patterns. In some parts of the country they can command a fair dollar, which make they popular among hobbyist woodworkers who can use up their cutting to help support their hobby. A great way to make a few dollars to help offset the cost of wood. 

Woods to Use for Cutting Boards
I am often asked what woods can be used for cutting boards? My answer is that from what I know almost any hardwood can be use. Most woods are considered toxic as far as inhaling sawdust but in terms of being used for cutting boards I am not aware or any wood that could not be used. Some people do have some allergies to some of the oils found in some woods. These are very rare and random, and the most common one I have heard of is Cedar, which should not be used for cutting boards mainly because it is such a soft wood and doesn't hold up well at all. The only other other woods that should not be used are spalted wood, these woods are colored the way they are because they have begun to rot, which is not an ideal for cutting boards. Boards with "live" or natural edges should also not be used. With edges like this they are hard to clean and could harbor food particles and bacteria. Cutting boards need to be flat and smooth on all sides.
Some people suggest that Oak and similar open pore woods should not be used for cutting boards. The choice is up to you, but personally I like oaks because the the tannin contained in oak wood helps to kill off bacteria. Some argue that the porous wood harbors food and bacteria but even a nice smooth wood like maple, after a few weeks of cutting will have slice marks in it equal or bigger that what would be seen in oak. I leave the decision on what to use for woods up to you now that you have the information to make your own choices.


In terms of size and shape, that is totally up to the maker. I have seen cutting boards as thinner that half an inch and as thick as 2 inches. I have seen the outside dimensions as small as 6 inches by 9 inches and as large as 20 inches by 30 inches. Cutting boards can be constructed in many different ways ....

Read more: Making 3 Simple Cutting Boards

Make a Keurig Coffee Pod Holder

keurig coffee pod holderCoffee, Coffee, Coffee ... I don't drink a lot of it, but I love to have a couple of cups every day that I can really savor. In recent years specialized coffee machines have brought the convenience of coffee varieties and single cup servings to home market, and I must admit, I was one of the first buyers of them.
One of the problems with coffee pods, especially if you like to have a few different varieties around, or if you purchase them in bulk ... they can take up a lot of space on the counter, especially if you store them in the little boxes they come in.

I have tried many different ways of storing these coffee pods, I have used the little boxes they come in and tried to stack them, but they always fall down when you try to use them ... I tried making little wooden boxes, and they looked great, but they still didn't stack well. Then there are a variety of self feeding holders where you pull a pod out of the bottom the the others stacked on top cascade downward. These work fine but if you want a particular flavor you still have to go digging for it.


Then one day I spotted a little rack that stands vertically, held around 35 - 40 coffee pods and displayed each one so you could choose a flavor. I could make one of those !!!  and so I did.

I must admit that I worked on a few different designs and even tried making the holes at an angle so the pods would sit in them and not fall out ... but in the end I discovered that the simplest design was the most effective ... so here's how I made it ...

Read more: Make a Keurig Coffee Pod Holder

Wine Carrier / Wine Rack

wine carrier wine rackGetting free lumber isn't always as free as we might think, especially pallet wood. Wood from pallets is often pretty nasty stuff. It's often been kicked, dragged, smashed and driven over before we get it. It's almost always embedded with tiny rocks and gravel, hardened nails or screws and who knows what else. All of these unwanted elements go a long way to dulling, damaging or even ruining jointer and planer knives and even saw blades. Still, it's fun to get, but even more rewarding is getting lumber that already has some character to it. All this means is that you need to treat pallet wood differently than you do virgin wood from the lumber store. The fact that it does have all these embedded nasty elements is the reason we use it.

 I have found the best tool to use for pallet wood is either a circular saw, or a table saw with a circular saw blade installed. Circular saw blades are much less expensive than 10” table saw blades. If you are going to use a jointer or planer, sanding the wood first, or brushing it off with a wire brush, then using one of the hand metal detectors to check for metal is a must. Of course the problem with doing this is that you are often destroying the patina of the wood, but ... we do what we need to.

The purpose of this project is to make a decorative wine carrier, that can also double as a wine rack. We decided to use some “character” pallet wood. There is no reason that wood from the lumber store or other sources cannot be used, the only real requirement for the sizes we made is that it be 3/4 inch stock material. Before we give out some dimensions, it's important to note that there is no standard in wine bottle sizes of shapes. The bottles we selected were of similar size and shape so that they would interchange with one another.

Read more: Wine Carrier / Wine Rack