Make an expandable cutting board
A simple cutting board is one of the most useful kitchen helpers there is. The expandable cutting board described here is unique. It consists of two smaller boards, which can be quickly fastened together with wing nuts, to make a larger board for larger kitchen projects.
Wood cutting boards are often preferred by many chefs. At one time, wood was frowned upon by hygienists because they felt it couldn’t be cleaned properly. Then research showed wood had a natural substance in it that discouraged bacterial growth. However, there is still some dispute about this. My personal preference is to use wood directly for cutting vegetables and fruit, but disposable cutting sheets on the cutting board for raw meats and fish.
Hard maple (Maple syrup comes from hard maple trees.) is probably the best wood for a cutting board. However, finding a large enough piece for a full-sized board is tough. Often boards are made from pieces glued together. However, glued boards aren’t dishwasher safe. This expandable cutting board gets around this problem by making it easy to pull apart, so you have two solid cutting boards.
What You Need:
* 1 – length of a 3/4″ x 5-1/2″ x 24″ piece of hard maple
* 4 – 12″ lengths of a 2×2 (legs)
* 12 – 2″ long #8 flat head wood screws
* 2 – 3-1/2″ long 1/4″ carriage bolts
* 2 – 1/4″ wing nuts
Preparing the Parts
Cut the piece of 3/4″ x 5-1/2″ x 24″ hard maple exactly in two, so you have two 12″ long pieces. Because it is hard, it may be wise to use a hacksaw. Sand the edges of the wood so that they are rounded a bit.
The short elongated “legs” are made from 2×2’s attached lengthwise to the maple top. Two of these legs are used for each board. Each leg is attached to the maple top with three 2″ long #8 flat head wood screws.
You will first be drilling 5/32″ holes in the four legs. See Drawing 1B. After the holes are drilled, use a 1/4″ drill bit, and drill about 1/4″ deep in all the holes. This is called “recessing” because the screws’ heads will be “recessed.”
Two legs will also need holes so the two cutting boards can be fastened together with the help of wing nuts and carriage bolts. To do this, follow Drawing 2, and drill 9/32″ holes where indicated. Because the carriage bolts must go through the holes in both legs, make sure they are lined up before you drill holes in the second leg.
Putting the Parts Together
This project consists of making two identical boards. The boards can be used alone or fastened together with wing nuts for larger cutting jobs.
In the following step, you will be making marks in the underside of the maple boards. Use these marks as a guide for pilot holes in the maple boards. Set the leg against the bottom of the board where you want it mounted. To make marks in the maple board, put a small nail through each hole in the leg and tap it. Now, using a 1/8″ drill bit, drill about 3/8″ in the maple.
DON’T GO ALL THE WAY THROUGH THE MAPLE BOARD, OR YOU’LL HAVE A HOLE IN YOUR CUTTING BOARD! Do the same for all legs. (Notice the legs with the two 9/32″ holes should be placed so they “go together.”)
Before attaching legs to board with wood screws, carriage bolts must be inserted in holes. See Drawings 2, 3, 4 and photos. Use a hammer to tap them in all the way.
Following Drawing 3, attach the four legs to the underside of the maple boards with the 12, 2″ #8 wood screws. The individual cutting boards are now useable. To put them together, see Drawings 3 and 4 along with photos.
As mentioned, you can use each board separately for small cutting jobs or attach them together for a larger board for bigger jobs. Make sure to take the boards apart before cleaning. Once apart, the cutting boards are dishwasher safe. It isn’t recommended to cut raw meat directly on the wood. Rather, first place a disposable cutting sheet on it. Also, it is wise to wipe the surface with Lysol kitchen cleaner and then wash in a good anti-bacterial dishwashing liquid. Source for the Maple Boards