How to Make Epoxy Cutting Boards

How to Make Epoxy Cutting Boards


– Hey I’m Caleb from YouCanMakeThisToo. This video I’m gonna be making
some epoxy cutting boards and with Christmas coming up I actually have these and
some other cutting boards available for sale on my website. And this month’s Patreon contest prize is the Rigid OCTANE Jig Saw. If you’re interested in those things, information’s in the description. Otherwise stick with me and I’ll show you how you can make this too. My joiner was out of commission when I started working on these. And the wood I’m using has some twists. So I improvised a planer
sled to get them flat. I just used a large, flat board that I had laying around
and some craft sticks with hot glue to balance the twist and secure the board before
running it through the planer. Once the top came out of the planer flat, I could take everything off the sled and then run the other
face through the planer. Then I cut off the ends
that have some checking. I left it long in case I
had any snipe at the planer. Next up is removing the bark. Leaving it on would be cool but I’m afraid the bark might
not be attached strong enough and I don’t want this breaking in half, so I’m gonna take it off. A draw knife makes
pretty quick work of it, but it’s not the only tool you can use. A chisel works pretty well too. Really just use whatever you’ve got. You do you, I’m gonna sick
with the draw knife though. Now that I’ve got these milled, I can start breaking them down into the sections that’ll
become the boards. Probably get three outta this one, maybe four out of this one. I measure and mark out the boards to about equal length. Everything at this point is
still rough measurements. I use a square just to be able to strike straight lines to follow but there’s really nothing to
be squared to at this point. I use the jig saw to
break down the boards. There’s likely going to
be some tension in these and the jig saw is the least likely saw to bind or kick back so it’s the safest. To mark the middle of these boards I like to stand up my
straight edge on edge to find the middle, then
lay it down and mark it. Because my straight edge is so wide, if I just lay it down it
kinda plays tricks on my eyes and makes it really hard to fairly accurately find the middle. A track saw or cable saw jig are two ways to get a really clean
split on these boards. I don’t have those though so I’m going to do another
rough split and clean it up. There’s lots of tool options for that, just do what works for you. After I cut the first one I realize I probably
should mark the boards so I don’t get them all mixed up. So I do that and then
cut the rest in half. And whichever method you use, it’s unlikely to come out flat, as you can see mine aren’t perfectly flat. So that’s next, is getting
a flat surface there, just like milling anything. Now that one slide’s
flat it’s a lot easier to see how unflat the other side is. And I know not everyone has hand planes. So if you don’t just come over to your 1890’s really rare jointer with absurdly expensive
Shelix cutter head. Spray down some glue. Lay out your sandpaper. ‘Cause this is a nice, flat surface. PPE. And get it flat that way. Now that I have a
straight edge to reference I’ll cut the ends of the boards
square to the straight line down the middle in two lengths. So off-camera I set this up. It looks like a lot but
it’s really pretty simple and if you’ve seen epoxy
pours this is nothing new. I’ve just got some plywood that I used a bunch of Tuck Tape. Any really good tape is gonna work fine because the epoxy doesn’t stick to it and the idea is just a non-stick surface so you can actually get your pieces out. I made a compartment for each board and I didn’t do a good job measuring so I’ve kinda go this extra area here. To make sure everything
is holding down okay I had one of these, I think it’s actually
soap making silicone molds that I pour excess epoxy into. And as you can see I cut that up, and that just gives me
something to push my clamp to. But this is covered in silicone which the epoxy isn’t gonna stick to. So something to help give
some downward pressure to make sure my stock doesn’t float up but also isn’t gonna stick to the epoxy. So now it’s just time
to mix it up and pour. One note on the construction of this. You can see that I obviously
taped all the surfaces. For these kinda pieces
I would tape the bottom and then run a piece on the top. But after I assembled it all I made sure to tape all the joints as well to just make this as tight as possible. The last thing I want is
half a gallon of epoxy leaking everywhere. And for this I’m using
Totalboat Thick Set, of course they’re the
sponsor for the video. I’ve got a discount
code in the description if you wanna check that out. And this is three to one. So that’s how we’re gonna mix it. Three parts of this to
one part of hardener. Now we just stir forever and I should be wearing a respirator. You should wear a respirator
if you do this too. The nice thing about working
with these thick set, deep pour epoxies is it’s
not a race against the clock like normal two to one. Even in these larger batches if I was doing some regular two to one I’d be really worried about
this kicking off on me. And you can see I
already kinda have staged what I’m gonna do so I mix this up. Not really sure how much I’m gonna need so I’m just gonna play it by ear. I could’ve done all the
math but that would be math. So instead of that I just
have a bunch mixed up here and I’ll pour it off,
mix up my colors as I go. And if I run out I’ll
just mix up some more. And I’m not gonna go crazy with my pigment because I want this to
be kinda translucent. Not a solid opaque. There we go, I like that. Could’ve gotten away with
a little less pigment but it’s pretty deep in
here, once I pour it out it should be a little
bit more translucent. All right so I’m just gonna start. In the first one, I’ve got
about 10 ounces in here. That’s just a reference
for when I do the others how much to separate, I’ll
see how far this goes. And these cups are really handy ’cause they give you all the
different ratio measurements. Anyway, let’s see how this goes and hopefully nothing leaks. Okay yeah, that got me about
halfway to where I need. So I’m gonna mix up another
10 and see how that goes. Okay I’ve poured another 10
ounces out, added pigment. And I went a little heavier
on the pigment this time ’cause that’s a little more
translucent that I want so we’ll see how this goes. Okay getting close to the top. So I might need just a little bit more. Yeah I think I need a little bit more. I’ll just go ahead and finish this off. But Memphis, I’m in Memphis and Memphis colors are blue and white. So I’m gonna add a little
bit of white to this and try to mix that in, see how that goes. There we go, and this
just started cresting so that’s perfect. Get some shape to it. I kinda like, I like this. I dip and pull. Cool. All right, that one’s done. Okay see this, this
isn’t cool, I’m worried. I’ve got some drips so time
to add more tape quickly. So while thick set
epoxies have their merits, like not, like release the air bubbles, let off gas and being able to pour thick and not having to do
a bunch of thin pours. The other downside is if you
have anywhere it can leak out it will because it’s
not gonna set up quick. So it’ll just find all those little places and just seep out. All right, crisis averted. I think I’ve got the dripping stopped. Bad news is I used all this up. Which when I realized that
first one took 22-ish ounces it wasn’t gonna be enough. All I had left in here was 11. I’ve got two more to go that
are a little bit bigger. So I’m gonna go ahead
and mix up another batch. Let’s start with 20. This one I’m gonna do green. It says “emerald green”. Yeah this is a nice rich color that I think will go with the
air dried walnut very nicely. This one will be a little bit easier, I’m not gonna do any color mixing. You know I think I want that
deeper, add some more pigment. Yeah it’s hard to know
how much pigment to add ’cause it looks a lot
darker in my container ’cause it’s deeper. And when it goes in here
and it’s not quite as thin. You know, then it’s not as vibrant. Oh shoot, looks like
we’re just a touch low. Add just a little bit more. And I think that’s good. And for my last one, gonna experiment. Do a mix, I’ve got this
Diamond Deep Sea Blue, which is a really nice, deep blue. Use a lot of it, kinda got a little bit better idea how much pigment to use. Then I’m gonna add a little bit of this Diamond Battleship Gray. And I’m not gonna entirely mix this so it goes through, wanna
keep it kinda streaky, so. And now the last pour. Yeah and I can just kinda detect the gray sparkle in there, it’s subtle. Very nice, I like it. Now I guess we just
come back in three days and hopefully it’s not all over my floor. And if you’re wondering about this, this is a coffee table top for a coffee table I’m
making that’s a collaboration with Richard from 42Fab who is
an awesome metal fabricator. We’re gonna be getting
together soon on this. So if you wanna catch that video and see what this looks
like, make sure you subscribe and hit that notification bell. And this is part of my
new living room suite, which is also gonna include a cool couch and console table, let me give
you a teaser on that couch. This is where I am on that couch. These are the side pieces, we’ve got this really orange
heart pinstriping going on. If you wanna see how this comes together, you know what to do. The boards I have had a few days to cure so it’s time to take them out of the mold. Using the epoxy pieces and
the silicone worked great to hold down the boards. You can see how they didn’t stick at all. So now through lots of unscrewing and pounding this apart, hopefully without running the boards. The Tuck Tape worked amazingly well and none of the epoxy stuck to it at all. Getting the boards loose from the bottom was a little tricky, they’d formed a vacuum lock or something and were really stuck on there good. I didn’t wanna pound
directly on the boards so I tried hanging the
plywood off the edge of the bench. And then hitting the
plywood to make it bend and break the seal and that
worked really effectively. I slightly overfilled the epoxy. So to flatten the boards back down I send them through my drum sander. It’s important to go slow
with really light passes because sanding builds up a lot of heat. And when the epoxy gets hot it
just turns into a gummy mess and it clogs and ruins the paper. And changing this paper is a pain. In hindsight, it would’ve been better to slightly under fill the void, and then sand the wood down
to level with the epoxy instead of overfilling
and sanding the epoxy because the wood sands faster and easier. But, lessons learned. Sanding was so monotonous I forgot to bring you
guys along for the ride. So with the sanding I was able to get all the extra epoxy
out of the top and bottom and get them nice and flat. But from the molds there was epoxy all the way around the sides. So I used the table saw to
get everything off the sides, but they’re still on the ends so I’m gonna go to the. For an edge treatment on these I used a 45 degree Chamfer
bit and my router table. This could also be done
freehand or with a hand plane. The epoxy actually routed really nice. I’ve had good luck avoiding
blowout on the corners but routing the long grain first and then doing end grain. But always be very
careful routing end grain. Off-camera I wet the
boards to pop the grain. And once they dried I sanded them with 220 on the random orbit sander. Then I switched to micro mesh pad kit and I went through all
of the grits of that on the epoxy to polish it up. And as I go you can see
how the epoxy gets clearer. The last step before
oiling is branding them with my commission brand which is The Custom Furniture Guy. Because YouCanMakeThisToo
doesn’t really sell, pay me to do it for you. And now the most satisfying
part, the mineral oil bath. I’ll shut up and let you enjoy it. And as a bonus for sticking around, here’s some oiling shots of
other cutting boards I made. Don’t forget that I have
these available for sale on my website and the
holidays are coming up. Anyway I hope you enjoyed
this, learned something or were at least entertained. Until next time, make
time to make something.

9 thoughts on “How to Make Epoxy Cutting Boards

  1. You're using your jointer all wrong. Gah. Content creators.
    Obviously, you need to put the sand paper next to the fence so you can reference the perpendicular face.

  2. Awesome video Caleb! Just curious on your thoughts of using plywood and tuck tape as opposed to melamine boards and paste wax to make the forms?

  3. They looked really great! (Thought I'd be first to query the use of epoxy on a cutting board – any concerns? – I've stayed away from that because I wasn't sure if slivers of epoxy would end up in the food)

  4. So great!! Also, I’m really glad you didn’t use your teeth to remove the bark…the necessary implant surgery to follow is not worth it.

  5. Outstanding video and build!  Really appreciate the narrative as you go about the build process.  Very helpful and something I think I might attempt.  Great looking boards!

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