End Grain Cutting Board (first attempt)

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Project by Tomw posted 09-12-2010 02:20 PM 11638 views 33 times favorited 20 comments Add to Favorites Watch

This was an anniversary gift for my daughter and son-in-law. It’s supposed to be a stylized version of the “Lucky Knot”, which was part of the theme of their wedding. Maple and cherry, finished with thinned wipe on varnish and mineral oil. I glued it up in stages: first 4 quadrants, then 2 quadrants each, then 2 halves. I learned a lot, like not to use a concrete brick as a substitute for cauls in a glue up (dumb, dumb, dumb—concrete is basically a hard sponge; the moisture ruined 2 quadrants.) Also found a new reason to like SketchUp. I designed the blocks to be 1” thick, but since I don’t have a jointer, I had the lumber milled at a cabinet shop, and it came out 15/16” thick. So, using the tape measure tool in SketchUp, I measured one of the blocks. SU displayed 1”; I typed in 15/16”; SU asked: ‘Do you want to resize the model?’ Yes! All dimensions of every component adjusted automatically. Finally gave up on the router burns at the ends of the finger recesses. Lots of hand sanding didn’t make much of a dent. I had made a very shallow final pass with the router, but the burns remained at the ends. Probably should have shimmed the stop blocks, then removed the shims for the final pass.

-- Tom

20 comments so far

View SPalm's profile


5320 posts in 3907 days

#1 posted 09-12-2010 02:42 PM

That is really cool. I really like it.
Boy, it sure looks good from here, sorry you had some problems with the build.

Like you say: The way that I have dealt with that type of router burn is to route the recess, and then tap the fence/stop-block and then just cut a sliver more. I don’t think you can hand sand deep enough to remove it.


-- -- I'm no rocket surgeon

View scrounger's profile


107 posts in 3108 days

#2 posted 09-12-2010 02:49 PM

Great job, really like the design. The router burn is our worst enemy, and like you said, hand sanding is not much help. I do as Steve related and have had the best luck. I think the finger hold on the bottom is cool, tough to pick up without it and surprised that more guys don’t figure that in. Keep up the good work. Dave

-- Dave, Southern IL.,

View agartzke's profile


47 posts in 3052 days

#3 posted 09-12-2010 02:51 PM

That is one of the best designs I’ve seen on a cutting board – I may just have to steal it! Nice work!

View 4thumbs's profile


153 posts in 3172 days

#4 posted 09-12-2010 03:05 PM

Great design and nicely done!

-- 4thumbs in MO

View DavidH's profile


519 posts in 3768 days

#5 posted 09-12-2010 04:04 PM

A great design and execution, love it. —I had a similar burning issue, i would take a very light pass and it would still burn, turned out to be resin build up on my bit, is it an older router bit?

-- David - Houston, Texas. (

View Jonathan's profile


2608 posts in 3076 days

#6 posted 09-12-2010 04:38 PM

Looks like it turned out really nicely from where I’m sitting! And for your first one too!

Sorry you had a few issues along the way, but that’s how we learn, right?

Learning Sketchup is something I really need to do. That way, I won’t have all these scrap pieces of paper piled-up everywhere!

I’m sure they’ll really enjoy using this and hopefully they’ll use it often.

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

View mmh's profile


3677 posts in 3747 days

#7 posted 09-12-2010 04:54 PM

Very nicely done! I especially like the details you added with the darker trim and the finger recesses. I wonder if staining the recess to veil the burn would work? Very informative posting too. Keep up the good work.

-- "They who dream by day are cognizant of many things which escape those who dream only by night." ~ Edgar Allan Poe

View Chefdavid's profile


255 posts in 2880 days

#8 posted 09-12-2010 07:20 PM

Love the board! Just Be Carefull on using Varnish on a surface food is going to come in contact with. I use only Mineral oil when finishing my boards!

-- Become a fan on Facebook...

View GaryD's profile


623 posts in 3394 days

#9 posted 09-12-2010 09:01 PM

nice board!!!!!!

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

View Betsy's profile


3391 posts in 3921 days

#10 posted 09-12-2010 09:51 PM

It’s great to you could make something themed from their wedding, that’s the kind of gift that means more than you could have intended. Thanks for sharing, it’s a beautiful board.

-- "Our past judges our present." JFK - 1962; American Heritage Magazine

View TopamaxSurvivor's profile


18288 posts in 3701 days

#11 posted 09-13-2010 04:53 AM

Nice job on it!!

-- Bob in WW ~ "some old things are lovely, warm still with life ... of the forgotten men who made them." - D.H. Lawrence

View TJ65's profile


1378 posts in 3075 days

#12 posted 09-13-2010 08:21 AM

love the design on the board I think it came out well considering all the hassles you had.
next time you make it, it will be soooooooo much easier!

-- Theresa,

View lumberdustjohn's profile


1263 posts in 3192 days

#13 posted 09-13-2010 02:05 PM

Looks good from here!
Make some more.

Thanks for posting

-- Safety first because someone needs you.

View degoose's profile


7234 posts in 3380 days

#14 posted 09-13-2010 02:14 PM

I feel a strange affinity for it… and with it…Would you mind if I took inspiration from your fine work…

-- Don't drink and use power tools @

View Tomw's profile


100 posts in 3253 days

#15 posted 09-13-2010 07:38 PM

Thanks all for the kind comments.

Degoose, please do. I was inspired to attempt this in part by your mobius and celtic knot projects, so it’s only just. If it would help any, I can email the SKP file.

-- Tom

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