Bugs, Grease, and an Antique Cutting Board

antique cutting board

Old barns have the best stuff  in them, and there was a fair amount of stuff  in our barn when we bought our house.

At first glance,  you wouldn’t have thought there was anything really worth keeping, but that’s what makes a barn a good mine – you have to dig for the good stuff, and you have to be willing to look beyond layers of dirt and, creepy crawlies, and spider webs.

One of the things we uncovered was an old wooden crate.  One section from the crate was detached.  It was large, but in pretty bad shape.   The bugs had feasted on one side of it, but I thought I might eventually think of something to do with  it.

KoT cutting board 3

Then I spotted a French antique cutting board at Vibeke Design, and I knew I’d found the destiny of that crate wood!


Now, I knew I couldn’t use the super bug-eaten side of the wood, but the other side wasn’t that bad.  The only problem with it was it was covered in grease.

KoT cutting board wood

Being optimistic, I wasn’t too worried about it, so I asked my husband to cut it into the shape of a large antique cutting board for me.  He drew out the pattern on my roll of craft paper.

cutting board pattern

When he was done, I thought I could just use my palm sander, and sand away the grease.


After sanding for all of 10 seconds, the sandpaper was totally gunked up with grease.

I put a new piece of sandpaper on my sander and started again.

10 seconds later and it was gunked up with grease too.

After using up 4 pieces of sandpaper, and not even making a dent in the grease, I knew more drastic measures would need to be taken, and I started chiseling away at the grease.

KoT cutting board 2

I chiseled, and I chiseled, and I chiseled some more,

Then I scrubbed it with degreaser,

then I chiseled some more.

Then I used an entire package of sandpaper, sanding over it all again.

By that time, my fingernails were black, but I’d removed as much of that grease as was humanly possible, short of chiseling away the entire top surface.

And I was pretty pleased with my efforts! 🙂

old cutting board There were lots of tiny buggy holes in this side of the wood – just enough to look awesome, and all the chiseling I’d done added more marks that made it look like an authentic antique cutting board.

antique cutting board

antique cutting board

antique bread board

I need to go root around in the barn some more, and hopefully uncover more gold.

Hopefully a little less covered-in-grease gold though.

signature 2

See more Repurposed Vintage Projects HERE.

Repurposed Vintage

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  1. It was worth all of your hard work…it turned out SO great!

  2. It’s perfect and looks authentic! I’m noticing old cutting boards everywhere online…I’m going to have to start looking for some. They’re such a pretty backdrop for other pretty things, like your pitchers and flowers. Very nice.
    Judy @ judypimperl.blogspot.com

  3. Impressive! I don’t think my barn has anything that neat hiding in it. 🙂

  4. Great repurposing, Angie! Most people would have taken the crate to the garbage bin. Your cutting board looks wonderful!

  5. Patty Soriano says

    Amazing! So glad you didn’t throw it away.

  6. Love this !! Wish I had an old barn to search through. 🙂

    • I wish I had 100 old barns to search through, Sandi! Ours is actually just a machine shed, and there wasn’t a ton in it, but there was enough to find a few treasures!

  7. I’m so impressed with your vision and tenacity, as well as your husband’s tools and skills. What a team. Any chance we’ll be seeing some cutting boards find their way onto your shop?

    • Ardith, I’m listing this one in my shop! I’m not sure if I’ll list any more of them though, as I don’t have any more “buggy” wood (that I’m aware of anyway. Watch my shop listings on my sidebar to see when I get it listed! 🙂

  8. Meghan Rozmus says

    WOW! This is amazing! Your extreme efforts truly paid off!

  9. That is really neat. I think you should make more, if you have more wood, and sell them in your Etsy store. I always love when your blog pops up in my emails cause I know you will have the most interesting ideas and really cool stuff to share. I love that you share your idea with everyone. Thank you.

  10. How hard-won! What work you had to do to achieve your goal….now that’s determination!! I love it, and you are lucky to have a husband who supports you in all(?) your endeavors! And, I’m surprised that the barn still holds some treasures you haven’t uncovered yet…I figured you had been all through it by now in the years you have lived on your farm!

    I have a treasure trove waiting for me in my aunt’s attic. Unfortunately, for at least the last “20 years,” I’ve asked and pleaded with her to go “with me” up there to just see what it holds…she flatly has refused numerous times, and can’t give me a reason, which makes me all the more upset! We’re very close, so it shocked me that has refused. Anyway, she’s 91 yo, and now lives with us, and imagine, I can’t even discuss it or she gets VERY upset. And to think I have to wait until she passes to see what’s in store for me…isn’t that a pity? I told her I wanted HER to be with me to tell me what belonged to whom, when, and so on…I also told her I wasn’t going to ASK for anything, if that’s what she was afraid of…still no go. In the meantime, I have to be happy repurposing things, which I have always loved but didn’t know had a name! (lol) SO, until the proper time, I must be patient and forget about it or it will drive me crazy…right? Thanks for your ideas and funny anecdotes!!!!

  11. The hard work was worth the effort. It looks amazing! I love the look of old bread boards especially when they are paired with ironstone! Great job.

  12. Hello! I must remember this when I come across an old piece of wood that is no good for anything but a cut out breadboard! I usually use the ones found at the thrift store for signs and sayings but to make my own is a great idea. Thanks.

  13. I am absolutely head-over-heels in lurve with this!!! You put an awful lot of elbow grease into this one, but I have to say, all of those efforts were well worth it…this cutting board is a thing of beauty and is an object that will, no doubt, furnish you with much joy in years to come!

  14. What an incredible find! I will have to say that you were a bit more determined than I would have been. I found an incredible piece of gnarly wood this past spring. I have high hopes for it still but I have to say….it was still full of bugs!!! I didn’t know this until I noticed a termite in the general area. I poured nearly three bottles of peroxide over, around, and through that piece of wood until I thought for sure there wouldn’t be any wood left! I sure hope you have treated your find for any traces of larvae that may still be tucked inside! That’s the problem with great finds…..you typically get more than you bargained for! 🙂 Thanks for your wonderful post!!

  15. Angie I think that cutting board is amazing! Nice job!

  16. wow angie!
    That was a LOT of work, but your new antique cutting board looks beautiful!

    catching you!

  17. LOVE the outcome of this piece, Angie! It truly looks like the real deal. Featuring you in this weekend’s Party Junk. 🙂

  18. I am in LOVE with this breadboard. Without knowing that it was something that you made, I never would have guessed it wasn’t something that had been used and abused in the kitchen for years. Using the wood for this was such a smart idea, even though it took a lot of work to get the grease off. Can’t wait to see what you do with the other piece!

  19. Mary Barber says

    Your hard work really paid off!

  20. Cutting boards are one of my favorite things to collect… I love yours grease or no grease 🙂
    It looks amazing!

  21. I am seriously impressed… you obviously have an eye for hidden gold. 🙂 And, you know how to bring it to life… Simply gorgeous! There is nothing like rooting around in an old barn; absolute Heaven!

  22. Sarah B. says

    Do you ever worry that a guest might grab it to use when you’re not around?

  23. This makes me want to check out all those old barns and find the treasures.

  24. Nice


  1. […] Knick of Time showed us how to make a handmade, antique cutting board […]

  2. […] Knick of Time unearthed some great wood and put it to work as an antique cutting board. […]

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