Rack O’ Ribs Cutting Board General Woodworking
Whimsical, perhaps, but practical all the same, this cutting board is perfect for carving up a full rack of ribs hot off the barbecue. The idea came to me while cutting roast beef – how it would be convenient to have a cutting board specifically for that. It wasn’t a leap to consider one for ribs, as well.
This project needs two types of wood: one that is light in colour to look like bone, and one that represents the “meat” – a darker colour, brown or reddish is best. Looking around my shop, I found lots of short pieces of maple to use for the bones, but not much that I could use as the meat.
As I am doing my house renovations at this time, I had a piece of floor joist that was cut out and removed. This is Douglas fir, and has darkened over time:
I was surprised by the hardness and density of this wood, and thought it is certainly hard enough for a cutting board. As shown above, the growth rings are very tight. It was just a matter of removing the rusty nails and cutting the plank into usable pieces.
To be on the safe side, I changed the blade in my table saw, putting in an older (but freshly sharpened) blade to cut up the plank. Better to ruin a used blade than a new one, but luckily I was able to find all of the nails and didn’t hit any. The plank was just over 8″ wide, so I split it into four pieces, about 2″ wide:
I then carefully selected the best parts of each, enough to get the eight pieces I needed. The parts were cut down to a final width of 1-3/4″ and a thickness of 1-1/2″.
There wasn’t much planning involved with this project. The idea to get started on it popped into my head while I was doing something else, and I took a break from that to do some figuring and wrote the measurements for the parts on a piece of wood:
The cutting board tapers from one side to the other, to make it look more like a real rack of ribs. To do this, the parts get gradually shorter from one side to the other. There was a limit on the taper and width, since it had to have enough usable space for cutting.
With the fir parts cut, I arranged them with their best side up, for the top of the cutting board:
The maple “bones” were cut next. I made these 1″ wide and 1-1/2″ thick.
This is where it may seem strange, but I had to glue the parts together as shown, with the maple parts overlapping the fir parts by about 1/4″. The purpose for this was to cut through both layers, so the parts will be an exact fit to each other:
My homemade band saw with a 2 tpi blade makes quick work of the cutting.
After all of the parts were cut, I trimmed off the excess on the table saw:
Just the ends of each piece were sanded to shape. The fir was sanded concave, on the spindle sander, while the maple bones were rounded on the disk sander:
The parts were then glued together. I used a waterproof wood glue and left the board to dry overnight.
The next day the board was sanded, using various tools:
Finished, the board was given a coat of mineral oil to soak into the wood and protect it.
I made a video:
A fun little project, it cost next to nothing and didn’t take long to build. It was made to be interesting to look at, but still be a very usable cutting board with a good sized work area.
Just in time to get some ribs on the grill!