Basketball Cutting Board

A precision template set makes this project a slam dunk

A cherry blank, commercially available wood balls, and dyed epoxy are the sum ingredients for a cutting board that sports lovers will crave during the NCAA March Madness and NBA playoffs. This iconic design, complete with grooved “seams,” offers fans a fitting place to slice and serve cheese and meats when knocking down game-time hungries. It’s made with a $35 laser-cut plywood template set (see the Buyer’s Guide, p. 70) that ensures accuracy and makes for efficient work when creating boards for family members, sports fan pals, or even an entire high-school team.

Order of Work

  • Prep blank and apply template
  • Rout grooves
  • Cut out circle
  • Fill grooves
  • Attach feet
  • Apply a food-safe finish

Apply the template and rout the grooves

Use a stable wood like cherry to minimize seasonal wood movement and warping. Properly air-dried riftsawn stock (where the annular rings run diagonally) is best. Edge-glue pieces to make up the necessary width. Thickness the blank to 1-1/16" and trim it to 11-1/2" square.

Tape the edges of the segment template to the blank, trace the ball’s perimeter on the wood, then affix the segments as shown. Remove the template surround, and ensure that the bushing runs smoothly through the groove channels between the segments. Rout the grooves as shown, then use denatured alcohol to ease the tape’s grip and pry up the segments.

Bushing & bit. Install a 5⁄16" O. D. router bushing in a plunge router with a 1⁄4" round-nose bit, and adjust for a 1⁄8"-deep cut.
Rout the grooves. Secure the blank on your workbench. Insert the bushing in a channel, plunge the bit, and rout the grooves, cutting just beyond the outside edges of the segments. Increase the depth of cut to 1⁄4" and make a final pass.

Care & Feeding

After use, wipe the cutting board clean with a moist soapy cloth, rinse it, and immediately dry it with a towel. Do not wash the cutting board in a dishwasher. Refinish and wax the board occasionally to protect it.

Shape the ball and fill the grooves

Bandsaw the circle to rough shape, guided by your perimeter layout lines. Or, see onlineEXTRAS for a circle-cutting jig that will do the job quickly and neatly. Then sand to the perimeter line using a circle-sanding jig.

Mask along the grooves to minimize clean-up, and then mix and apply dyed epoxy as shown.

Mix the epoxy. Combine 15-minute epoxy and black dye in a squeeze bottle. I stirred one teaspoon of dye into 11⁄2 ounces of resin, and then mixed in 11⁄2 ounces of hardener.

Protect the ball. Use painter’s tape to dam the ends of the grooves. Also, tape along their edges to prevent the dyed epoxy from staining the wood. Fill the grooves with the epoxy mixture until it’s slightly proud of the board’s surface. After the epoxy cures, remove the tape and sand the surface with 120-grit paper to flatten the “seams” and remove excess epoxy. Then sand the board through 220-grit.

Attach the feet and apply the finish

Round over the board’s edges, and mark and drill the holes for the feet as shown.

Finally, sand the board through 320 grit, wipe it clean, and apply finish. I wiped on three coats of General Finish’s Salad Bowl Finish, rubbing out with #0000 steel wool between coats. Then I buffed on a coat of clear Briwax. 

Round the ball. Using a handheld router, rout 1⁄4" roundovers on the top and bottom edges, moving counterclockwise.
Find your footing. Position the circle template on the board’s bottom face, and mark the locations of the four feet.

Drill down. Bore 3⁄16"-diameter holes 1⁄4" deep where marked to accept the feet.

Plant your feet. Stain commercially available 3⁄4" birch ball knobs with cherry stain. Cut four 3⁄16"-diameter dowels to 3⁄4" long, glue them in the predrilled balls, and glue the balls to the board.

Online Extras
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