White Oak End Grain Boards

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Project by Andrew posted 07-19-2014 03:40 AM 1504 views 2 times favorited 9 comments Add to Favorites Watch

I haven’t posted a cutting board in a while (despite making lots). I’ve always liked white oak end grain, and although oak of any type makes for horrible long grain boards, I’ve found that the end grain of white oak is very non-absorbent due to the tyloses in the pores.

I think white oak’s end grain is just beautiful, so I decided to make a couple of end grain boards out of one species, a first for me. White oak varies so much in color from board to board, it looks like multiple species. I just love how they came out.

The shallow handles on the underside were routed in a single pass on the router table with a large straight bit.

Finish is 3-4 coats of thinned salad bowl finish.

-- Andrew - Albany. NY

9 comments so far

View  woodshaver (Tony)  's profile

woodshaver (Tony)

4204 posts in 2864 days

#1 posted 07-19-2014 11:06 AM

Great looking cutting board Andrew! An upgrade to any kitchen! Love your pattern layout. And those handles on the underside will make it easy to pick up. Nice work!

-- Tony C UAW, St Augustine FL, My high school shop teacher said "You can do it"... Now I can't stop!

View JimRochester's profile


412 posts in 1125 days

#2 posted 07-19-2014 11:13 AM

Very nice. You’re right. Long or edge grain oak is poor for boards but I love putting oak accent pieces in. Never done an entire board like that before. Looks great

-- Schooled in the advanced art of sawdust and woodchip manufacturing.

View Andrew's profile


316 posts in 1878 days

#3 posted 07-19-2014 12:11 PM

Thanks guys!

Jim – are you from Rochester, NY? I’m in Albany, and I’m out in Rochester every month or two.

-- Andrew - Albany. NY

View SPalm's profile


5266 posts in 3393 days

#4 posted 07-19-2014 12:23 PM

That looks great.
I have never like oak for boards, but this seems solve the pore problem. Nice.


-- -- I'm no rocket surgeon

View Andrew's profile


316 posts in 1878 days

#5 posted 07-19-2014 12:30 PM

Thanks, Steve – any compliment of yours is one well-received!

Yeah – I very rarely use oak for boards, but the end grain really didn’t soak up much finish at all.

I’ve had pieces of walnut, cherry soak up MUCH more finish than this Oak did, and it was multiple boards from multiple sources.

I wouldn’t suggest white oak sapwood, as there is little to no tyloses present in the pores.

It’s also nice that white oak is so rot resistant.

-- Andrew - Albany. NY

View bannerpond1's profile


397 posts in 1409 days

#6 posted 07-19-2014 01:26 PM

Your work is really clean, Andrew.

The next step I would suggest is that you concentrate on the design of the individual blocks as they relate to the entire board, to the patterns which result in the grain itself, and to color. If you add some walnut and/or cherry, you can start to get patterns like Navajo or Persian rugs. Not only will you have a precisely made board which is very utilitarian in its being end grain, you will have a work of art.

Your imagination will bloom with ways to make the glue-ups result in specific designs. When you roll the first cuts to get the end grain up, swap every other block end-for-end. You can also roll every other block the opposite way. With the same initial glue-up, you can end up with several variants of the finished board.

Hint: After the initial glue-up and flattening in the planer, put a chalk triangle on the face of one side. While you are choosing how to roll and flip for the next glue-up, you can return the piece to its original, pre-cut slab by using the triangle. If you don’t put them back in order, the end result will have a block that doesn’t follow the pattern, and it will catch the eye and scream, “Mistake!” I know because I did it.

If any of the above appeals to you, I will tell how to run the second glue-up through a planer with the end grain up. Don’t believe anyone who says you can’t do it. I do it with every single board I make, and I’ve made lots of them. It’s an easy fix.

You’re going to have fun making these boards, and you are going to make a lot of folks happy to have them in their kitchens.

-- --Dale Page

View JimRochester's profile


412 posts in 1125 days

#7 posted 07-19-2014 04:32 PM

Thanks guys!

Jim – are you from Rochester, NY? I m in Albany, and I m out in Rochester every month or two.

- Andrew

Yes. If you happen to be able to make it the first weekend in August, I’m at the Park Ave Fest. An arts and craps show on Park Ave in the city. I’m usually working in my shop Mon and Weds evenings and weekends during the day so next time you’ll be in town, message me and you are welcome to come over.

-- Schooled in the advanced art of sawdust and woodchip manufacturing.

View Arcola60's profile


94 posts in 1895 days

#8 posted 07-19-2014 09:22 PM

Very nice Board Andrew. I always put some White Oak in my End Grain cutting boards. I also love the end grain look of White Oak. I have a local Hardwood supplier that has good pricing and plenty of White Oak. What are the dimensions? Cherry is very nice, it does soak up a lot of oil. On the ends of board you can really see the grain lines roll over. As you cut you discover the ever changing pattern. Thanks for posting

Ellery Becnel

View Andrew's profile


316 posts in 1878 days

#9 posted 07-21-2014 02:40 PM


I have made lots of end grain boards, probably 30, as well as well over 100 long grain boards. Many with walnut and cherry, flipping over every other strip, etc.

I draw a triangle on about every one of my boards to be able to start over.

I’d be curious how you run end grain through the planer, but still not sure if I’d do it myself.

-- Andrew - Albany. NY

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