My Best End Grain Cutting Boards

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Project by Mr M's Woodshop posted 08-29-2016 08:28 PM 1159 views 2 times favorited 10 comments Add to Favorites Watch

I love to make end grain cutting boards. They are more work, but the results can be spectacular. I limit my inventory, so that means I can only make new ones as old ones sell … and all of these are sold.

At our pop-up craft fairs, I carry boards only up to 16×20x1-1/2 … because I have to carry them to & from the craft fairs that we do (inventory humor! Coming at you!). The first board was a commissioned piece based on another board that I made, but the buyer wanted a 20×24 with extra/larger juice grooves … so that’s what he got.

He has now ordered 2 more boards for other members of his family.

Typically, I put juice grooves on 16×20 boards, but generally do not put grooves on the thinner/smaller boards. And, no matter what I do, somebody will always want something different.

That’s the reason I’m now carrying 150+ pieces to every show I do these days. And, yes, they are displayed in a 10×10 booth.

Photo # 1: Black Walnut, Yellowheart & Hickory
Photo # 2: Purpleheart, Hard Maple & Jatoba
Photo # 3: Black Walnut, Purpleheart, Canarywood & Bloodwood
Photo # 4: Bloodwood & Purpleheart
Photo # 5: There’s nothing like Black Walnut
Photo # 6: This design is a chaos board … meaning the design is not as rigidly symmetrical as my normal offerings. I get Mrs M to help put these together; I glue up 8 or 10 blanks, slice them, and then we go to town putting the pieces together in a pleasing way. These are not made with scrap, and they are very popular with my customers!

Key tools I use to make cutting boards:

- Fastcap 16’ tape measure (2x)
- 6” steel rule
- Sears Craftsman 10” saw with Woodworker II thin kerf blades & a Biesemeyer fence. It’s a bit underpowered … but it cuts straight & square after 10 years of steady use.
- Oneida V3000 dust collector
- Titebond III glue
- Marshalltown 2” rubber seam roller
- Jet 24” parallel face clamps
- Dewalt 735 13” planer
- Jet 16/32 Drum Sander, 80 grit roll
- Rockler router table with a Jessem fence & a Porter Cable 7518 motor
- Festool 5” & 6” ROS with Dust Extractor
- Festool ROS discs through 5 grits: 80, 120, 180, 220, 320

All of my boards normally come with non-skid rubber feet, held on with stainless steel screws. Routed handholds. Finish is mineral oil, with a top coat of mineral oil/locally-harvested beeswax, AKA Board Butter.

Here’s my display at a recent event:

-- Henry Mowry, Santa Clarita, CA,

10 comments so far

View JimRochester's profile


368 posts in 1031 days

#1 posted 08-29-2016 08:44 PM

Always good looking stuff and yes people always want what you don’t have. I personally don’t care for juice grooves in patterned boards because I feel it disrupts the visual impact of the pattern. But I only sell ‘em, I don’t use ‘em.

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

View Richard W. Hyman Jr's profile

Richard W. Hyman Jr

716 posts in 1088 days

#2 posted 08-29-2016 09:07 PM

Fantastic cutting boards! I’ve only made a couple of them myself. Sounds like your business is doing well though! :)

-- VR, Richard "Fear is nothing more than a feeling. You feel hot. You feel hungry. You feel angry. You feel afraid. Fear can never kill you"--Remo Williams

View MrFid's profile


791 posts in 1321 days

#3 posted 08-30-2016 12:45 AM

Very nice writeup and a lovely looking display. I would like to start doing this one day, but for now the weekends are taken up with babies.

-- Bailey F - Eastern Mass.

View bosum3919's profile


338 posts in 1036 days

#4 posted 08-30-2016 01:27 AM

I have read and enjoyed your blogs. Thanks for all of the information and help. Excellent presentation and product.

-- Bob

View oldrivers's profile


709 posts in 983 days

#5 posted 08-30-2016 02:08 AM

Fabulous work and Display.

-- Soli Deo gloria!

View bglenden's profile


11 posts in 2012 days

#6 posted 08-30-2016 05:43 PM

Hi – I have just about finished my first end grain cutting board and was wondering about what how to do the handles. I’m thinking of just routing on the bottom with a large rabbeting bit, maybe 4-5” long and in 1/2” or so?

View Mr M's Woodshop's profile

Mr M's Woodshop

392 posts in 2484 days

#7 posted 08-30-2016 07:09 PM

Yes, bglenden, I have done that on many boards. Watch out for burning … and you may find that a deep groove is not necessary. I’ve found that a depression for your fingers to reference is more important than actually getting a channel to put your fingertips into.

My normal method, though, is to use a bowl bit and route out a space that’s perhaps 4” wide, 1/2” deep & 1” into the board. Note that when you’re routing an end grain board, tear out is a very real issue. I score the wood with a razor knife to the target depth; that minimizes (but does not fully eliminate) tear out.

-- Henry Mowry, Santa Clarita, CA,

View Scott Oldre's profile

Scott Oldre

742 posts in 2848 days

#8 posted 08-31-2016 11:21 PM

Nice looking boards. I just don’t know how to sell them. each is like a child of mine when I’m done, and I give it to a set of foster parents with a bottle of Howards.

-- Scott, Irmo SC

View Ken90712's profile


16862 posts in 2605 days

#9 posted 09-03-2016 03:48 PM

Well done congratulations on the sales. Love it.

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

View JPJ's profile


792 posts in 2036 days

#10 posted 09-07-2016 04:01 AM

Nice job!

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