By now you know my love of charcuterie. Today I’m going to show you how to make your own charcuterie board in any size and any shape.
*This post contains affiliate links to items I used to make my charcuterie boards. For full Amazon Affiliate disclosure, please see sidebar or bottom of the page.
I have wanted to make a charcuterie board for SO LONG!
Seriously… like years!
I’ve made shaped cutting boards , raised serving boards, and butcher block tops, but never a “real” charcuterie board. What’s even more embarrassing is that I’ve actually bought one from some other maker instead of tackling it myself.
It wasn’t the difficulty of the project that had me stumped, it was sourcing the wood.
You don’t want to pay a fortune if you’re going to make your own charcuterie board, so finding bits of hardwood that won’t break the budget requires a bit more legwork than just going to your local home improvement store.
Fortunately, there are Mennonite mills in my neck of the woods, and they are usually more than happy to get rid of their cut-offs for next to nothing. We’re talking roughly $1-$2 per board foot. Since charcuterie boards aren’t usually much longer than 24″ or wider than 18″, this means you can pick some up for around $6. (CDN)
Most pieces will be milled on both sides (meaning flat), but I did pick up one rounded piece to try an experiment (I’ll show you that in another post – IF it turns out 😂)
The upside of getting these wood cut-offs is the amazing price AND the fact that the wood has already been thoroughly dried – likely for years. You don’t want to make a charcuterie board from a tree you just cut down from your backyard – the wood needs to be thoroughly dried, either over a long period of time, or in a kiln.
The downside of making your own charcuterie boards is that in most cases you will need to either love sanding, or have a planer to smooth and level the wood out.
I have a planer.
First up for me was to run the boards through the planer a few (dozen) times to get both sides perfectly smooth and level.
*I need to warn you that sawdust, planer shavings, and sanding dust can all do damage to your eyes, skin and lungs. Anything with fine particles that can get into your eyes or lungs is potentially toxic and can build over time, but with some woods – in this case maple and walnut – the toxicity levels are a bit higher than in other woods. Please refer to this chart for wood toxicity and wear a mask! Once a food grade sealer has been put on the wood, it is quite safe.
Once my boards were smooth, I cut three sides on my mitre saw to get straight edges. The 4th side was where I drew out a handle shape. Walnut (below), oak and maple are all hardwoods – and the wood typically used for charcuterie boards – but they do give your saw a workout to cut. I used my WORX BladeRunner and an extra-course saw blade to power the curves out, but a jigsaw would likely have worked better.
You don’t have to use a router to round-over your edges, but I think it looks more professional and ‘finished’ with this extra step. I hate my router – it scares me to death – but it was good practice and I got a bit more confident with each charcuterie board.
Now for sanding – mask is still on right? – I started with a 120 grit sandpaper then worked my way to 150 grit and finally 220 grit. I rolled my random orbit sander over the edges touching the face of the board then smoothing over to touch the side of the board – this will make your round-overs look perfect and remove any little router nicks or burns.
You’ve done it! All the hard work is behind you and now comes the most gratifying part of all…
the food-safe oil!
I used Watco Butcher Block Oil & Finish, Clear because that’s what my local home improvement store had in-stock, but I do see a lot of wood workers using Walrus Oil as well.
The key is that the oil is food safe.
The charcuterie boards soaked it in like suntan oil!
I’m crazy for the grain on this board – I have no idea what caused the variations, but it’s so interesting. Not sure I’ll be able to get rid of this one.
No two boards are the same and the richness of the wood make them gorgeous to look at. Mine will most likely be placed on display on the counter to add some warmth and interest to the kitchen.
Don’t get me wrong – these are completely safe to eat off of once the oil has set – but when not in use they also make gorgeous decor pieces.
The fun part about making your own charcuterie boards is that you can play and experiment with sizes and shapes.
For instance; I wanted to see if I could make a single-serving-size with a live edge.
Tree bark will slough off over time, so I had to come up with a way to keep it attached to the board. I decide to paint a coat of epoxy over the bark (only the bark) to hold it in place.
Imagine this with a few slices of meat, cheese, crackers and fruit – the live edge will make it just that much prettier. It could also be a centrepiece in a larger charcuterie selection but just raising it up a bit on a cup and putting “special” treats on top.
Yes, I’m keeping this one too. 😂
Below is where I tried to create an oak version. I drilled a large hole in the handle, then ran my router around the hole to keep the round-over look. Now I can string a piece of leather through the hole and hang it in the kitchen.
On the side of the handle you’ll see a couple of burn marks. My Bladerunner was working hard, but turning from cutting with the grain to against it was tough. I sanded out a fair amount of the burn marks, but a couple were really in there.
You don’t learn if you don’t try right?
I have a few more boards in my shop that had cracks in them, so I’m playing with epoxy again to see if I can fill them. I’ll show you those later – if they turn out. 😂
All in all I’m so pleased I tried and SO happy that I have a few for display (and a few for sale) that don’t ring it at the typical $60-$120 price tag.
Now to invite friends over to put these cuties to work!
Have a great one!
Items I used: