End-grain cutting board... well, sort of.

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Project by Spoontaneous posted 05-18-2011 03:14 PM 2943 views 10 times favorited 25 comments Add to Favorites Watch

It was supposed to be a quick and easy project, but as with most of my seemingly ‘great’ ideas… I seem to overlook potential complications.

The idea was to buy several boxes of toothpicks, tape them up with duct tape, cut off the top and pour in pigmented casting acrylic. Once that stuff hardened all I would have to do is trim off the cardboard on the bandsaw and slice through the ‘brick’ to get the pattern I wanted. Piece of cake…. well, not until AFTER I taped up the 24 boxes and cut one open, did I discover that they don’t pack them tightly enough at the factory. Bummer!

So, I made a frame and began laying the toothpicks one by one by one by one by… Which had it’s value because what I discovered was that about 20 % of the picks were warped, splintered and otherwise unusable for this project. So I would roll each one across the glass table top and if it hesitated, or took a wrong turn, I scrapped it.

After laying out the toothpicks I poured in the casting resin as planned. Once hardened, I broke off the frame and tried squaring it up on the bandsaw. Then it was just a matter of slicing lengthwise and cutting into ‘tiles’. I super glued the tiles down on a piece of paper, framed it with wood (allowing space for a border) and poured in more casting resin. Once the thing hardened (a couple of hours out in the sun) I took a grinder with a masonry wheel to do the major flattening and then finished it off with a DA sander.

I haven’t put a finish on it… just sanded to 1500 and with all the acrylic built in it shines already. The darker tiles are from where the toothpick blocks were cut closer to the ends. If’n I had thought of it, I would have put those four tiles on the corners. I noticed a brown spot in the center so I need to go back and resand, I guess. It has a slight bow to it (arching up in the middle) so maybe as I re-sand, and it heats up again, I can clamp it flat.

I’m pretty sure this is a ‘one-of-a-kind’ because from now on I’m gonna leave the cutting boards to you guys. I quit!

Keep your criticisms to yourselves, I’ve got enough of my own. ha!

-- I just got done cutting three boards and all four of them were too short. (true story)

25 comments so far

View zindel's profile


257 posts in 2647 days

#1 posted 05-18-2011 03:27 PM

thats awesome! well done!

-- If you can't fix it with a hammer, You've got an electrical problem.

View Millo's profile


543 posts in 3047 days

#2 posted 05-18-2011 03:33 PM

This is fantastic! Sounds like a lot of unconventional work. Cheers

View Bearpie's profile


2601 posts in 3015 days

#3 posted 05-18-2011 04:00 PM

Wow talk about painstaking work! No wonder this may be one of a kind. I admire your fortitude in not giving up or perhaps you had too much invested in the toothpicks to quit? However this is a beautiful pattern.

Erwin, Jacksonville, FL

-- Erwin, Jacksonville, FL

View Craftsman on the lake's profile

Craftsman on the lake

2790 posts in 3435 days

#4 posted 05-18-2011 04:18 PM

Amazing you either have the patience of the ages or your crazy!

-- The smell of wood, coffee in the cup, the wife let's me do my thing, the lake is peaceful.

View Daiku's profile


232 posts in 2905 days

#5 posted 05-18-2011 04:22 PM

That is definetly one unique piece! I like it. A couple of questions: what are the dimensions and are you going to let anyone with a knife near it? :-) That last picture is really cool, you could probably sell it as art, kind of mesmerizing.
Thanks for posting,

-- Cal Noguchi -

View Tag84's profile


573 posts in 2654 days

#6 posted 05-18-2011 04:29 PM

wow, great idea spoon it looks like mozaique :)

-- -Thomas -

View Ken90712's profile


17556 posts in 3186 days

#7 posted 05-18-2011 04:41 PM

So different and cool! Way to go, thats really thinking outside the box!

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

View Spoontaneous's profile


1334 posts in 3327 days

#8 posted 05-18-2011 04:51 PM

Thank y’all for the comments.

Daiku, it measures about 8.5” x 10.5” and maybe 1/2” thick, I guess. As for the knife getting near it, my wife handles that weapon quite nicely, so I reckon it’s up to her. <grin>

-- I just got done cutting three boards and all four of them were too short. (true story)

View degoose's profile


7233 posts in 3352 days

#9 posted 05-18-2011 11:41 PM

And people tell ME I have too much time on my hands…LOL

-- Don't drink and use power tools @

View mtnwild's profile


3474 posts in 3524 days

#10 posted 05-19-2011 12:31 AM

That is so very cool and the tip of the ice berg, if you will. So many possibilities. Fantastic!!!!!!!!!!!!

That last picture is pretty dang nab cool!!!!!!!!!!!!

-- mtnwild (Jack), It's not what you see, it's how you see it.

View Dan'um Style's profile

Dan'um Style

14172 posts in 3980 days

#11 posted 05-19-2011 12:36 AM

great idea ! Where did you find the pigmented casting acrylic? How much did you use to make the piece? I’d like to try something like that,

-- keeping myself entertained ... Humor and fun lubricate the brain

View Spoontaneous's profile


1334 posts in 3327 days

#12 posted 05-19-2011 01:46 AM

Dan, I pigmented the resin myself. I bought it at the local glue supply store but you can buy it online also. It should be listed something like Poly acrylic casting resin. Just make sure it is not an epoxy. The way you can tell is that the catalyst will be MEKP instead of a ‘Part B’. You can color it with most anything like car paint, various pigments and the such. I used maybe 3/4 of a quart for the board.

-- I just got done cutting three boards and all four of them were too short. (true story)

View SPalm's profile


5320 posts in 3879 days

#13 posted 05-19-2011 02:19 AM

That is just crazy. Wicked crazy.
Cool though.

And the photos are awesome too.

-- -- I'm no rocket surgeon

View amagineer's profile


1415 posts in 2594 days

#14 posted 05-19-2011 03:22 AM

Very unique! I wonder if you could do it with popsicle sticks. Thanks for sharing.

-- Flaws are only in the eye of the artisan!

View Mike's profile


406 posts in 2684 days

#15 posted 05-19-2011 10:18 AM

Great photos! The last one is my favorite. I was just wondering if all the parts of this project are food safe.

-- look Ma! I still got all eleven of my fingers! - -

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