Cutting Board from “Slöjd in Wood”


This is an excerpt from “Slöjd in Wood” by Jögge Sundqvist.

This cutting board is based on ones I saw in Norway. One side had a decoration painted on it and faced outward when it hung on the wall. The other side was the real cutting board and unpainted. A cutting board gets tough treatment. In frequent contact with water, it swells and shrinks again and again, so the wood changes in volume.

A cutting board with a glue joint cracks sooner or later. If you use a single board from the outer part of a straight-grown trunk, where the annual rings are of more or less of equal length, it warps to be slightly convex on the cutting side and is stable.


Cutting board with heart side down. You cut food on the heart side. This side is convex when it has dried, so the water drains off. It also sits steadier on the table than the bark side. The bark side of the board becomes the decorated side.

Saw, axe, wedges, brace, auger bit, spirit level, scrub plane, smoothing plane, knife, fret saw, drawknife, chip carving knife.


Rough shaping with a carving axe.

A blank from straight-grained birch or common alder. Ash, maple or beech are also good. Make sure that the blank isn’t twisted.

Cutting boards are good to make from leftovers from other projects. For example, when splitting out stool seats from a half log, you can use the remaining outer parts for cutting boards.

Hew away thick parts with an axe. Smooth both sides with a drawknife in the shaving horse, or with a scrub plane at the workbench. Make sure the blank isn’t twisted, and is evenly thick. It can be slightly cupped. Seal the end grain with glue and dry the board for a couple of weeks.

Drill holes for hanging or for a handle. Use a brace and auger bits. When the tip of the bit has come through on the backside, stop, turn the blank over and drill from the other side. This avoids tearout and splinters at the edges. If you want to make a handle with a larger hole, use a fret saw to saw out the shape. Clean inside the hole using a knife with a narrow blade.


Use your legs and body to give power to your planing. Good ergonomics make the result even better. Cross-grain wood can splinter. You must either clean-cut with a flat gouge or lift the plane to stop the cut and work from the other direction.

Plane the surface with a smoothing plane or use a sharp drawknife. It is when you flatten the surface that you realize the importance of a quality, straight-grained and knot-free blank. Even so, planing a wide board can be a difficult task. Think of all the slöjd makers throughout history. Rise to the challenge!

Saw and carve the overall shape. Clean-carve all end-grain wood using the can opener grip. Chamfer the edges carefully. On the bark side, chip carve a cool pattern and paint with a thin coat of oil paint. Now you suddenly have something spectacular to cut your vegetables on.

Meghan Bates




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3 Responses to Cutting Board from “Slöjd in Wood”

  1. nrhiller says:

    This is just charming.


  2. ikustwood says:

    Truly love this article. It’s a pure marvel of rough esthetique and it feels “warm” in our future world of plastic 3D pollution we are re-creating. Thank you for sharing.


  3. ccmanny says:

    Reblogged this on ccmanny and commented:
    Cutting boards colorful color with artistic design on one side and actual cutting surface on the flip side.


Comments are closed.