End-Grain Cutting Board

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Project by Steve posted 06-07-2010 03:09 PM 3170 views 0 times favorited 13 comments Add to Favorites Watch
End-Grain Cutting Board
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Since this is the first time posting a project here on Lumberjocks, it seemed appropriate to upload my first cutting board. I suppose calling it my first would not be entirely honest since my first cutting board is still sitting in a pile of blocks that I picked up from the shop floor after it started falling apart at the tablesaw turning my board into a set of blocky projectiles. :-)

Anyway, I started over with a thicker glue-up and extra clamps and turned this one out. It’s quite small, but just big enough to be useful. My orbital sander probably hates me at this point, but it’s smooth as glass, so I’m happy.

I used walnut oil, which I realize has allergy implications. I decided to use it anyway since this is a small board that will just be in use at my house. I’ll know not to use it when guests are over just in case. I read that walnut oil should dry hard with some sun exposure, but after 2 weeks and multiple times setting it out in the sun I can still rub my finger over it and bring some oil to the surface. It’s pretty minimal now, but I was getting impatient. For the next board I will use mineral oil and see how that works. I know its a much more common finish.

The wood is purpleheart and hard maple. Also, in answer to any questions about the pattern. I have no idea why I ended up ripping the boards and then gluing up the same wood again instead of alternating. My intention was to have a checkered pattern but I just wasn’t thinking while I was doing it. I suppose it’s not an altogether unpleasing pattern.

13 comments so far

View GMman's profile


3902 posts in 3724 days

#1 posted 06-07-2010 03:36 PM

Great job I like the way you mix you wood.

View Jonathan's profile


2608 posts in 3077 days

#2 posted 06-07-2010 03:44 PM

Less glue lines = less chance of joint failure! ;)

How big is this board?

Sounds like you learned from your challenges on the first board (scrapped, on the floor), which is good. I figure, as long as I learn a little bit from each project, I’m headed in the right direction.

Are you thinking about making another one soon, or have you set your sites on something else?

Maybe next time you can just rip the pieces a few more times, then rotate them for more of a checkerboard pattern, or simply stagger your first glue-up… don’t alternate every other board. Maybe put two of the same board together, then one of the other, then alternate again, etc…. just change it up so it doesn’t look even to start with.

Looks put together well (with enough glue this time). The contrast between the wood is also nice. I hope you get a lot of good use out of it.

-- Jonathan, Denver, CO "Constructive criticism is welcome and valued as it gives me new perspectives and helps me to advance as a woodworker."

View Pdub's profile


924 posts in 3207 days

#3 posted 06-07-2010 03:47 PM

I think it turned out pretty cool. I like the pattern.

-- Paul, North Dakota, USAF Ret.

View NewPickeringWdWrkr's profile


338 posts in 3040 days

#4 posted 06-07-2010 03:55 PM

I’d say that you can still call it your first board as it’s your first completed board!

Nice job. Love the bright maple contrast. I would have thought that the walnut oil would have darkened it somewhat.

Welcome to LJ’s!

-- Mike - Antero's Urban Wood Designs

View Steve's profile


14 posts in 3074 days

#5 posted 06-07-2010 03:56 PM

It’s around 6 or 7 in. x ~9 inches. It’s big enough for a small cutting job. I will definitely be doing more boards in the future. I have a couple other little things going right now. I have a walnut board that I have plans for, but may have some scrap off of that to use for the next cutting board. Is walnut an appropriate wood to use? I haven’t worked with it before, so I haven’t read up on it much yet.

View Jonathan's profile


2608 posts in 3077 days

#6 posted 06-07-2010 04:03 PM

Walnut works well and you’ll find it on many of the boards here on LJs. In my opinion, it has a beautiful richness to it. And it is of the correct hardness to be used for a cutting board (read: it’s not hard on your knives).

Most of the more popular woods, at least here in the United States, are: hard maple (aka- rock maple), walnut, cherry, mahogany, purpleheart (a bit hard for some people’s tastes). Other woods can certainly be used. In regards to wood selection based on hardness, 850-1600 on the Janka hardness scale is a suggested range to stay within. Just make sure whatever you choose is not overly hard on the Janka hardness scale, and make sure it is not an oily wood. Others with much more experience and knowledge on the subject than myself can make other recommendations and suggestions.

-- Jonathan, Denver, CO "Constructive criticism is welcome and valued as it gives me new perspectives and helps me to advance as a woodworker."

View a1Jim's profile


117120 posts in 3604 days

#7 posted 06-07-2010 04:27 PM

This is a really cool board I like the woods contrast.

-- wood crafting & woodworking classes

View WoodArtbyJR's profile


428 posts in 2992 days

#8 posted 06-07-2010 05:29 PM

Jonathan is spot on. What glue did you use. I use Titbond lll as it is food grade quality. As far as your question on the wetness of the walnut oil, It can take a week or so of exposure to completly get it dry. Like we (LJs) have discussed on here many times, the preference to use mineral or walnut oil is a personal choice. I like walnut oil as I (like Jonathon) believe it gives the wood/grain a richer look. I have a checker board style in black walnut and oak (end grain) in the “To Be Sanded” pile waiting for a drum sander. I tried my orbitol but my hands and arms gave out before the sander did. Black walnut and oak are two great local woods to use that hold up very well. The problem with some exotic woods is that when a hot or cold plate is placed on them it raises the grain and you have to resand it. I’ve noticed this on my South American woods I use so I suggest not to use them as a trivit.
Looks great. Looking forward to seeing more.

-- Jim Roberts, Port Orchard Washington

View Steve's profile


14 posts in 3074 days

#9 posted 06-07-2010 05:38 PM

I used Titebond III as well and it definitely has a solid hold. I don’t know if I was just trying to be stingy or what the first time around or just prevent a lot of squeeze out, but I used the right amount on this job. I did just hear over the weekend about a place near me with good prices on lumber, so maybe I’ll check out their oak prices and match that up with the walnut I have on hand. So far, any decent lumber I’ve gotten has come from woodcraft, but I’m not sure if their prices are generally higher than elsewhere.

View HandsOgold's profile


95 posts in 4031 days

#10 posted 06-08-2010 08:26 AM

you did a nice job, and dont minimize your creativity. There are so many projects posted that make mine pale, but I dont have access to their tools or equipment (or skill and experience). but this is not a competition, only a sharing.
Also i believe its the walnut wood thats toxic. the oil would be a problem only to those allergic. I use it on my salads lol

-- Dan

View WoodArtbyJR's profile


428 posts in 2992 days

#11 posted 06-08-2010 03:57 PM

Steve – I agree with HandsOgold. He also makes a good point/possibility on the walnut wood being the toxic part of the equasion. I do know that the black walnut trees do drip a toxic whatever so that nothing will grow underneath it. It just kills whatever vegatation that tries to grow under it’s drip pattern. Although, most english walnut farmers grow the larger english walnut fruit (nuts) from a tree grafted to a black walnut trunk (I know, too much info). I have an oak and black walnut cutting/trivit (1/4” to 3/8” thick) board that my brother-in-law made 35 years ago and other then being a little scared, it’s still going strong. He even possibly used elmers glue. I have seem many different variations in cutting board patterns on LJ and our ONLY limitation is our imagination (and the time we’re willing to spend on a creation). Keep it up. It just gives me inspiration for new patterns and wood variations. Your mentioning of the first board expolding on you reminded me of a Raffin DVD I watched. He was turning something and it exploded (came apart) on him ON CAMERA. He didn’t edit it out. He just shrugged his shoulders and said something like, woods cheap and this happens (all the time he’s chucking up a new piece to continue his deminstration). We learn from our mistakes. My garbage can is full of ‘em…..........Keep producing, keep posting.

-- Jim Roberts, Port Orchard Washington

View GaryD's profile


623 posts in 3396 days

#12 posted 06-08-2010 04:03 PM

Great job. Like the wood combonations. Keep it up.

-- Gary, Little River,SC I've Learned that the Lord didn't do it all in one day and neither can I

View wiser1934's profile


524 posts in 3174 days

#13 posted 08-04-2010 05:38 AM

i like the pattern arrangement. very basic. on my boards i have started using gorilla wood glue. sets up fairly fast and is rated by fda for indirect food contact. also as a finish i have been using tried and true danish oil. totally nontoxic. have downloaded info from website with fda data. i like it for a nice finish that dries hard.

-- wiser1934, new york

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