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A wooden chopping board with knife and parsley

Overview

Making your own butcher block cutting board is an easy D.I.Y. project. They look great in any kitchen and can protect your benchtop from knife cuts and scratches. 

Steps

1Have the timber pre-cut to size

You can make your butcher block chopping board any size you like. We had our 2.4m hardwood timber pre-cut at Bunnings into 4 x 600mm lengths. Pick the best two pieces of timber for both ends of the cutting board. 

Four cut lengths of timber on a bench

2Measure and mark for the dowel

Starting with an end piece, measure and mark for the three pieces of dowel on the 90mm side of your hardwood. Measure in 60mm from each end, mark the centre holes for two pieces of dowel and mark one point in the centre. 

A person measuring and marking length on a piece of timber

3Drill the holes for the dowel

Use the 10mm drill bit to drill holes for the dowel. A handy tip to make sure you don't drill too deep is to measure half way down the dowel to get the depth. Wrap tape around the drill bit at the required depth. This way you'll know when to stop drilling. Drill three holes for the dowel in the timber.

A person drilling a hole in a piece of timber

4Mark for the other dowel holes

An easy way to line up the dowel holes on each piece of timber is to use a dowel marker. These are the same size as the dowel and fit in the holes you have already drilled. Then line up your two pieces of timber, making sure they're square, and tap them together with a hammer. This marks the timber at the point you need to drill.  Repeat this on all the pieces of timber and you're ready to drill the rest of the dowel holes. 
Two lengths of timber, one with holes and dowel markers

5Join two pieces of timber together

Put some PVA glue into the dowel holes and insert the dowels. Use the hammer to gently tap the dowel in place. Apply glue to the side of your second piece of timber with dowel holes. Place it onto the dowelled piece of timber and tap the pieces together with the hammer making sure it's snug and the dowels are all the way in. Repeat the process for all the pieces of timber.

A person inserting dowels into timber

6Clamp the timber

Now clamp the butcher block together with two clamps. This will keep the timber in position while the glue dries. Make sure you wipe off any extra glue and leave it to dry.

Four lengths of timber held together with clamps

7Sand the cutting board

Remove the clamps and sand back all of the surfaces. Use the 40 grit sandpaper first, then switch to a finer grade sandpaper, e.g. 240 grit, to round off the corners to create a nice, smooth finish. Wipe away any dust when you're done.

A person sanding a cutting board with an orbital sander

8Oil the butcher block

Use a rag or paint brush to apply food grade stain or oil to all surfaces of the butcher block. Wait for it to dry and lightly sand it. Apply as many coats of stain or oil as is necessary.

A person applying oil to a wooden cutting board

9Looking after your block

The cutting board is finished and it looks great. To make it look brand new again after you've being using it for a while, all you need to do is sand it back and apply more oil or stain.
A wooden chopping board with knife and parsley

Suggested products

More D.I.Y. Advice

Health & Safety

Asbestos, lead-based paints and copper chromium arsenic (CCA) treated timber are health hazards you need to look out for when renovating older homes. These substances can easily be disturbed when renovating and exposure to them can cause a range of life-threatening diseases and conditions including cancer. For information on the dangers of asbestos, lead-based paint and CCA treated timber and tips for dealing with these materials contact your local council's Environmental Health Officer or visit our Health & Safety page.

When following our advice in our D.I.Y. videos, make sure you use all equipment, including PPE, safely by following the manufacturer’s instructions. Check that the equipment is suitable for the task and that PPE fits properly. If you are unsure, hire an expert to do the job or talk to a Bunnings Team Member.