Materials: 1 $1.99 Ikea wood cutting board, 8 galvanized 1 1/2″ Grabber screws, table saw, drill and countersink, drill/driver, wood putty, Workmate 400 workbench, carpenter’s wood glue
Description: I’ve been using our bread machine a lot recently, and wanted a miter box to help me cut thinner, more consistent slices. The $1.99 Ikea cutting board I’d been using for a couple of years was warping, so was fair game for cutting up to make such a device.
Using the remnant of the last loaf I had baked as a template, I took measurements and laid out cut lines on the soon-to-be-ex-cutting board. I designed it so the front panel extends down a half inch below the front lip of the countertop – the so-called bench hook effect, so the whole contraption doesn’t slip around while you are sawing your rustic loaf.
A miter box could hardly be simpler, consisting as it does of only three pieces – front, back, and bottom. This box, designed around the loaf that comes out of a Breadman bread machine, wastes only a 3/4 -inch crosswise strip from the Ikea cutting board.
I held the bottom panel vertically in the Workmate vise, and aligned the front panel horizontally on top of it, countersinking one hole at a time, then fastening them temporarily with a screw.
The reason to drill and fasten one screw at a time is because the bottom panel had a curve in it, due to the previous warping of the cutting board, and I was able to straighten it out by bending it straight with my hands until the screws could take the tension. When all the screws were fitted, I disassembled it, applied glue to the two joints, and reassembled it.
I marked vertical cut lines on the front and back panels and cut the slots with a large hand saw. In retrospect, this is not really accurate enough, and next time I’ll do this job on the table saw while the parts are disassembled. Since I’m right-handed, the cut slot is near the right side of the box.
I filled the screw holes with wood putty, waited for it to dry, and sanded the plugs flush. Then I sanded off all the various pencil marks and knocked down the fresh cut edges a little to avoid sliver hazards. Finally, I applied Ikea Skydd, food-grade mineral oil for conditioning cutting boards.
~ Mark Ungar, Richmond, CA