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Walnut Crotch Cutting Board

author-gravatar Sean Apr 22, 2018

For a few years now I've had a beautiful piece of walnut crotch in my shop that was to small to use in a piece of furniture, so I decided to make myself a nice cutting board out of it. Check out the build video below or the step by step pictures below the video.


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This cutting board is made out of a beautiful piece of walnut crotch that I've had in the shop for a few years. 

Like most of my projects, I begin by making a template from a sketchup model. I like to take the time to create templates just in case I want to make another cutting board from the same design later on. I'm making this template out of 1/4" MDF. I used super 77 spray adhesive to adhere the template to the MDF.

Since this template has both curves and angles, I begin by cutting the angles at the miter saw. I adjust the angle until the laser lines up and make the cut.

I'm using a wider blade in my band saw which means I need to first make a few relief cuts to make the tight curve. Now I can start the cut and not have to worry about the blade binding.

I repeat the process for the other side of the handle.

To clean up the curves I use the largest sleeve in my spindle sander. I remove waste until i'm right on my line.

The spindle sander handles the curves but the neck of the handle was still rough from the band saw. I used a flat board with sandpaper glued to it to remove the saw marks.

To blend the neck and the curve I switch to using the sanding contours and 100 grit sandpaper.

You can feel with your fingers once it's blended good enough to pass the eye test.

And finally, using a 3/4" forstner bit, I drill a hole on the end of the template for a leather handle. The template is done and now we can move on to making the cutting board.

I've had this piece of walnut crotch for about 3 years now. It was too small of a board to use for a big project so I thought I would make a nice cutting board for myself so I can look at it every time I use it. 

This board was highly figured on both sides.

To prep the board I first flatten one face and take it down to 1 1/4" thick at the planer. Since the board had a lot of figure, I had to take shallow passes to prevent tear out while planing.

With the board milled to 1 1/4" thick, I cut the board to its final width at the table saw.

And this is what's nice about having a template. I can place it on the board, trace it and know what needs to be removed.

Like making the template, I start by cutting the angles on the end of the board and the top of the handle.

Next it's over to the band saw to make the relief cuts and then to remove the waste.

Since we took the time to make the curves perfect on our template, we can use a flush trim bit to transfer the curves from the template to the cutting board. 

With the template taped down to the board, I slowly remove the waste at the router table.

Right now the cutting board is nice, but I like to add a nice edge profile to not only make it look better, but feel better when holding it. So to do this, i'm using a round over bit in the router table.

To clean up the edge of the cutting board I begin by using the spokeshave. If properly tuned, the spokeshave is the perfect tool to use in situations like this. It removes any mill marks and allows me to make the round over just perfect.

Since this board is highly figured, I had to constantly change directions while using the spokeshave to prevent tear out.

And finally, I drilled the 3/4" hole at the drill press with the forstner bit.

Since this is a cutting board, I sanded up to 150 grit first with the orbital sander.

For the edges, I found that using a soft pad made for the oribtal sander perfect for sanding as it would form to the shape of the edges.

I also broke the edges of the hole using the 150 grit sandpaper.

For the finish i'm using butcher block conditioner. It's super simple to apply. All you have to do is wipe it on the surface, wait 20 minutes and then wipe up the excess. It says for brand new boards to apply a total of 3 to 4 coats, so I did just that. After each coat, I let the board sit for about an hour and after the second coat, I waited 24 hours before apply the 3rd and 4th coats.

Well, here it is, the completed cutting board. It's a simple design that allows the figure of the wood to do the talking. With the nice round overs, its comfortable to hold and use.

Thanks for checking out my cutting board build!

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