Make Your Own Cheese Serving Board
I started this project with the intention of making wall shelves (similar to this one from West Elm) with brackets and planks of wood, but uncooperative cinder block walls thwarted my plans and I was left with a bunch of holes in the wall and a pile of somewhat expensive lumber. Instead of settling on DIY fail, I decided to repurpose the wood for another project, a cheese serving and cutting board.
For my original shelving project, I had purchased two 32-inch pieces of 10-inch wide red oak. I cut one of the pieces in half with my jigsaw, figuring a 16×10-inch board was a good size for this project. I also needed to buy sandpaper and a food grade mineral oil, which I picked up at the local hardware store.
For reference, I found this blog post with detailed instructions on making cutting boards (the site has other interesting DIY projects I may have to try next!). First I sanded down the wood with a coarse 60-grit sandpaper, rounding out all the edges.
With the edges round, I continued with a 100-grit sandpaper for an even smoother finish and ended with a 220-grit paper for a buttery texture.
After I was satisfied with the texture, I wet the board with water and let it dry. This raised parts of the wood that weren’t completely smooth, so I did another pass with the 220-grit paper.
Now, I was ready for the food grade mineral oil. After one coat, the red hue of the oak started to come out.
Here’s a side-by-side of the wood with mineral oil and the other untouched half of the board.
You can also see how much I rounded the edges compared to the original piece.
The instructions on the mineral oil bottle say you should leave the oil on the board for about 20 minutes, wipe off the excess, then repeat 3-4 times. This will ensure the wood is seasoned and ready for food use.
But I wasn’t finished yet. Since I was going to use this as a cheese serving board, I wanted to dress it up a little. I drew a design on the board with pencil and used Leslie’s wood-burning tool to make it permanent.
If you haven’t used a wood-burning tool before, it takes some getting used to and, as you can imagine, it’s completely unforgiving. One false move and there’s no going back.
Slow, simple lines work best for an even burn.
Later that night, we tested it out.
The board is safe for using as a serving or cutting board (though not with meat) and can be surface cleaned with soap and warm water. It should never be submerged under water or put in the dishwasher. I’ve also read that you should reapply mineral oil every once in a while to prevent cracking.
Pretty good result for a DIY fail, if I may say so! I can’t wait to make more with the rest of the wood scraps — different designs, various sizes and maybe some with handles.