My First Cutting Boards!

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Project by SJWoodCreations posted 01-04-2016 04:08 PM 1759 views 9 times favorited 15 comments Add to Favorites Watch

I recently purchased a planer and made good use of it with these end grain cutting boards. I got a good deal on some sapele at my local hardwood supplier, so I went with that and maple for contrast.

I started with the plain checkerboard pattern and then tried some new things. My favorite is the wavy looking pattern in the first picture. I finished them with several coats of mineral oil, then a mixture of four parts mineral oil and one part beeswax. You can see the difference in color from the first and second pictures (finished) to the others (unfinished)

Finally, I got some 7/8” screw-on rubber feet and attached them to the bottom. They were very popular Christmas presents, and a project I think I’ll repeat in the future!

-- Sam --- Tulsa, OK

15 comments so far

View redryder's profile


2394 posts in 2520 days

#1 posted 01-04-2016 04:20 PM

Those boards are definitely winners….................

-- mike...............

View sawdustjunkie's profile


342 posts in 1135 days

#2 posted 01-04-2016 07:17 PM

I really like the wave look, but isn’t Sapele too soft for a cutting board?
I have used it for other projects, but I prefer Hard Maple, Cherry & Walnut myself.

Great job on the boards.

-- Steve: Franklin, WI

View SJWoodCreations's profile


33 posts in 353 days

#3 posted 01-04-2016 07:59 PM

Thanks Steve! And actually, sapele has a Janka hardness rating of 1500, which makes it harder than hard maple, cherry, and walnut. But I think that for end grain cutting boards, the size of the pores in the wood is more important than the hardness anyway. Sapele and maple have small pores, so they’re good for this application.

-- Sam --- Tulsa, OK

View Reaperwoodworks's profile


94 posts in 352 days

#4 posted 01-04-2016 08:23 PM

Great looking boards. These are on my “to do” list. Hoping to knock some out for next Christmas as gifts.

-- Website:, Youtube:

View sawdustjunkie's profile


342 posts in 1135 days

#5 posted 01-04-2016 09:43 PM

I really didn’t know that!. I have used Sapele on other projects and never thought of using it on a cutting board.
I really like the design of the wave board!
How did you do that anyway?

-- Steve: Franklin, WI

View SJWoodCreations's profile


33 posts in 353 days

#6 posted 01-04-2016 10:05 PM

Thanks Mike and Reaper!

Steve, the process is basically the same as that of the checkerboard pattern. Glue contrasting strips of the same thickness into a panel, plane the panel flat, then crosscut the panel into strips of the same thickness and flip every other strip.

For the wave pattern, before you glue up the second batch of strips, rip them into varied widths and arrange them from thinnest in the middle of the board to thickest on the outside. This creates the 3D effect.

-- Sam --- Tulsa, OK

View sawdustjunkie's profile


342 posts in 1135 days

#7 posted 01-04-2016 10:27 PM

Thanks for the tip.

I’ll try that on my next board!
It’s a great design

-- Steve: Franklin, WI

View Constance's profile


8 posts in 501 days

#8 posted 01-05-2016 03:09 AM

Great looking boards, I’m working on my 1st set of those…

-- Constance, Texas

View drewpy's profile


568 posts in 775 days

#9 posted 01-05-2016 03:11 AM

These turned out great. I also really like the wave look one. Thanks for posting.

-- Drew in Ohio -- "The greatest wealth is health".

View Dutchy's profile


1969 posts in 1586 days

#10 posted 01-05-2016 07:16 AM

Nice boards.

-- My englisch is bad but how is your dutch?

View Chris Davis's profile

Chris Davis

1457 posts in 3400 days

#11 posted 01-05-2016 10:58 AM

Those are great!

-- Watch live video from our shop.!current-projects/c3c1

View Pointer's profile


363 posts in 529 days

#12 posted 01-05-2016 01:20 PM

Those are some nice looking boards. It is easy to see why they were popular.

-- Joe - - Laughter is like a windshied wiper, it doesn't stop the rain but allows us to keep going.

View avlamonte's profile


16 posts in 295 days

#13 posted 01-05-2016 01:36 PM

Awesome job! Remember imitation is the highest form of flattery! :)

-- "Don't ask yourself what the world needs. Ask yourself what makes you come alive, and go do that, because what the world needs is people who have come alive." Gil Bailie

View dbockel2's profile


107 posts in 368 days

#14 posted 01-05-2016 04:21 PM

Nice boards! What kind of planer—and were you planing the end-grain? I have occasionally done it but I know it is generally not a great idea (and some of my results and violent planer reactions would confirm).

View SJWoodCreations's profile


33 posts in 353 days

#15 posted 01-05-2016 05:05 PM

Thanks everyone for the nice comments!

dbockel2, It’s the DeWalt 734 benchtop planer. My “shop” consists of lugging portable tools out onto the covered patio right now, so I’ve held off on getting any stationary tools until I have a garage. On the first board, (the checkerboard pattern) I only used the planer after the initial glue up, then went after it with a belt sander and some 80 grit paper for about two hours. I got it pretty flat, but it was frustrating to say the least.

On the other two, I was a little more careful with my glue ups, so the boards needed less flattening to begin with. I still used the belt sander to hit the high spots, but then I did run the end grain through the planer.

I read A LOT about doing this beforehand, and fully understood the risks involved. I started with the cutter head missing the board completely, and lowered it by about 1/128” each pass (not an exaggeration), standing a little farther from the planer than I usually do. The result was a phenomenally smooth and flat surface in about 10 minutes, which made me wish I had done the same with the first board. Until I have the space and money to buy a drum sander, this will probably be the method I use.

I imagine I’ll get some flak for this… Oh well.

-- Sam --- Tulsa, OK

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