Simple Cutting Board

Fun and functional design is easy to cut

Fun and functional design is easy to cut

By Dave Van Ess

Cutting boards are fun and easy to produce, make practical gifts, and sell well at craft shows. This classic pig design requires only one inside cut, making it ideal for beginners.

There are many advantages to a wooden cutting board. Ceramic and glass cutting boards dull your knives. Plastic cutting boards develop grooves from use and become hard to clean. It is a common myth that wooden cutting boards harbor bacteria. In fact, researchers discovered after normal use and manual cleaning, more bacteria is found on a plastic surface than a wood surface.

I use Eastern hard (rock) maple because it is a beautiful light wood that finishes well. Fruitwoods, such as cherry, beech, or walnut, will also work. I do not recommend oak since it contains tannin and can add a bitter taste to food. Avoid softwoods, such as fir, hemlock, spruce, or pine. Softwoods will not hold up to prolonged use as well as harder woods. Choose a piece of hardwood that is free of knots or splits.

Food Safe Finishes

According to many experts, every finish is food-safe after it fully cures. If you have concerns about the safety of a finish, you have several options:

  • No Finish: Clean the board as needed and sand off any resistant stains.
  • Natural drying oils: Apply a natural oil, such as pure tung oil or walnut oil.
  • Beeswax: sold in several consistencies, heat the beeswax lightly in a microwave to make it easier to apply.
  • Mineral oil or paraffin oil: Available in most drug stores, reapply the oil as the finish wears off.


  • 1″ x 10″ x 14″ hard maple or hardwood of choice
  • Mineral oil, paraffin oil, or wax-based salad bowl finish (available in wood-working and kitchen supply stores)
  • 120-grit sandpaper


  • Olson #9 PGT blades or blades of choice
  • Drill with 1/8″-diameter drill bit
  • Sanding block
  • Brushes and rags (to apply finish)


CLICK HERE to download the Pig Cutting Board Pattern.


Click here to read more great articles from Scroll Saw Woodworking & Crafts Fall 2009 (Issue 36).