Various methods may be used in cutting a blood groove or juice channel in a cutting board. Here is one way it can be done. This cutting board was created with some exotic woods about 6 years ago and found in an attic. At the time there were no handles or blood grooves cut into the board. It found it’s way to my desk after handles were added with a request to add a juice channel for meat cutting. It was decided to add the channel on one side only, leaving the opposite side for vegetable cutting use.
Another way to clearly designate the meat (red pads)/veggie (green pads) sides is to use CHOBS Cutting Board Feet, available at your local Woodcraft store or online. CHOBS (Chop On Both Sides) feet expand to fit onto almost any thickness of cutting board.
Our exotic cutting board measures 17-1/2″ x 13-1/4″ x 1-1/2″ thick, and the handles were cut about 5/8″ in from the outer edge. So as not to leave a thin wall between the inside edge of the handle and the blood groove runner, yet leave a pleasing even aesthetic look to the surface while maximizing the cutting area, I decided to measure in 1-3/8″ for the runner wall edge, leaving about the same 5/8″ wall between the handle and runner. I used a Whiteside 1406B B4 Bearing Round Nose Router Bit with Bearing Guide 3/8″ R x 3/4″ D x 7/16″ CL x 1/4, Woodcraft Item #24D86 with a DeWalt Variable Speed Compact Router with LEDs and Plunge Base, 1.25HP, Model DWP611PK, Woodcraft Item #848065.
The question was, what was the easiest way to jig the pattern cut? The options considered were, create a jig to attach to the router, create a single board pattern and rout around it, or create a board with the center cut out. I chose the latter, but with more of a frame thought process. After cutting my 4-piece frame 1-3/8″ wide from a 2 x 4 on the tablesaw, I then cut the lengths to an appropriate size to allow the router to seamlessly flow around the cutting board.
I cut strips of double-stick tape and applied it to each of the four pieces until I completed the frame. Sitting the cutting board on each of it’s sides while placing one single-pieced frame jig to the board at a time, made sure that the single sticks ran parallel to the outside of the cutting board.
Not knowing if the cutting board had been previously oiled, due to it’s dry condition from the attic, I made sure to firmly press all 4 sides of the framework using the bench vise for solid tape adherence. I then added and taped 3 additional boards to the center, cut from the same 2 x 4 for router leverage while cutting around the interior of the frame pattern. Placing the entire assembly onto a rubber bench top mat made sure the board would not slide or slip around during the routing procedure. Woodcraft carries a silicone mat for such purposes.
Now the fun begins, let’s rout…
To recap, set your router bit depth of cut. In this case it was 1/8″ depth cut, followed by a secondary 1/16″ cleanup cut using the Whiteside 1406B B4 Bearing Round Nose Router Bit with Bearing Guide 3/8″ R x 3/4″ D x 7/16″ CL x 1/4, Woodcraft Item #24D86.
Rout away with a moderate paced speed. Not too slow or you may burn the wood, not to fast or you might cause splintering. It’s got to be just right! You’ll get the feel, it’s almost like using the force!
Easy peasy, and done in about an hour and a half, well that’s with donuts and coffee included!
Thanks to Bill Sands for the 2×4, use of his tools, camera assistance, and as always, his expert guidance & camaraderie is very much appreciated!