Optical Delusion Cutting Board

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Project by TroutGuy posted 12-21-2009 12:07 AM 5195 views 7 times favorited 8 comments Add to Favorites Watch

The first one is already gone, and I wanted to get this one posted before it too, goes away (tomorrow). I ran across a picture of this optical illusion and thought it would make a neat cutting board. It is 9” x 12” x 1 1/2”. End grain maple and mahogany, from a friend’s scrap bin.

I decided that making a few end grain cutting boards would make a good test for my recently acquired PerforMax 16-32 Plus drum sander. It really made this easy! A few passes each with 80, 150, and 220 grit, followed by 150 and 220 grit on my ROS to remove the lines from the drum sander. Two thumbs up on the PerforMax!

Construction was pretty simple on this one. First, I glued up 1” x 1 1/16” x 18” alternating strips of maple and mahogany, to make a ‘blank’ 1 1/16” x 13” x 18”. Then I sanded the blank to 1” thick. Next, I crosscut 1 1/2” strips from the blank, turned them end grain up, and glued them together, offsetting the rows by 1/3” to achieve the stair-stepped pattern. Finally, I squared the ends on the table saw and rounded the edges. Sand. Finish. Done!

BTW, the finish is a ‘home-brew’ of mineral oil and beeswax (~5:1 by weight), VERY carefully made on my kitchen stove. I applied the first coat while it was still warm/liquid. After that one soaked in, I re-melted it (~20 sec. in my microwave—YAMMV) and applied a second coat. Two more coats in paste form and that’s it.

-- There is nothing in the world more dangerous, than a woodworker who knows how to read a micrometer...

8 comments so far

View Dusty56's profile


11819 posts in 3714 days

#1 posted 12-21-2009 01:02 AM

Do you actually have a ruler that measures in thirds of an inch ? I see it has become a somewhat common measurement on things such as shipping labels from Avery.
Very nice job on the boards and a drum sander is a Godsend for projects like this. I got mine for abrasive planing highly figured stock with zero tearout as opposed to the mess that a planer can make : ) I have two Ryobi WDS1600’s and a Delta X5 . I use the DeltaX5 with 80 grit for rough surfacing the boards and the two Ryobies with two finer grits for finish work. Sad to say that the Delta isn’t good for much else . I thought that by waiting a couple years after its introduction , that they would have fixed all of the bugs in it : (

-- I'm absolutely positive that I couldn't be more uncertain!

View sras's profile


4811 posts in 3155 days

#2 posted 12-21-2009 02:00 AM

Hope no one wants to slice bread in a straight line! Seriously, they look great…

-- Steve - Impatience is Expensive

View LesB's profile


1748 posts in 3469 days

#3 posted 12-21-2009 02:03 AM

Hey, I looked at that pattern and thought I was having a seizure….LOL
I noticed on the Wii TV game it warns people who are susceptible to seizures not to use it. You may have to put a warning on your boards. ....more LOL
Nice work.

-- Les B, Oregon

View dustbunny's profile


1149 posts in 3321 days

#4 posted 12-21-2009 02:21 AM

I like this.
Seems easy enough, may give it a try…..
Nice work !!


-- Imagination rules the world. ~ Napoleon Bonaparte ~

View degoose's profile


7234 posts in 3381 days

#5 posted 12-21-2009 10:44 AM

Nice to see others looking outside the box… love the design… I have the JET 16/32… same same as the performax and after using it would not go back to the no name Drum Sander I used before… and I would not like to make board endgrain or not without it…

-- Don't drink and use power tools @

View Pdub's profile


924 posts in 3206 days

#6 posted 12-21-2009 03:45 PM

Wish I had a friend with a scrap bin like that. I wish my scrap bin had wood like that. LOL Great design!!! Can’t wait to see the next ones.

-- Paul, North Dakota, USAF Ret.

View OhValleyWoodandWool's profile


970 posts in 3146 days

#7 posted 12-21-2009 05:28 PM

Nice boards

-- "All you need in this life is ignorance and confidence, and then Success is sure." Mark Twain

View Ken90712's profile


17563 posts in 3215 days

#8 posted 04-14-2010 10:42 AM

Too cool. Very different = great

-- Ken, "Everyday above ground is a good day!"

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