A question for the cutting board experts.

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Forum topic by steelshot posted 12-08-2009 08:02 AM 2250 views 0 times favorited 7 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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5 posts in 3118 days

12-08-2009 08:02 AM

Topic tags/keywords: cutting boards

Hello everyone,
If you don’t want to read all this scroll down to, my question is.

Before I get to my question I just want to say that I am new and this is my first post. I thought I could get some real answers on this website.

I am a carpenter by trade and know my way around tools and wood, but have never really built any type of crafts before. But I have built allot of custom things for people.

I overheard my mother saying she needed some new cutting boards and thought I could make a couple for her for Christmas. And figured since I was at it I would make about 10 or so for a few other people. I have been searching the web for days now and I keep coming up with the same things. Maple is the best, and then there were types of wood I have never even heard of.

My question is. I want to build an end grain cutting board. What are the best types of wood to use? I have red oak, white oak, maple and walnut readily available to me. But only in ¾” thick pieces which is fine. I was thinking of using red oak and maple because I already have some so I don’t need to buy any. But I have been reading red oak is not good for end grain but is ok for long grain. Can I use red oak for a cutting board? Where are the best places to get thicker stock at a reasonable price? I have the finishing process down.

Thank you for all the info,

7 replies so far

View childress's profile


841 posts in 3568 days

#1 posted 12-08-2009 08:28 AM

No red oak at all is my suggestion. It’s open grained. My three favorite choices are walnut, cherry and maple.

-- Childress Woodworks

View Rick  Dennington's profile

Rick Dennington

5911 posts in 3220 days

#2 posted 12-08-2009 08:38 AM

Greetings ,Brad, and welcome to LJs. This is a great place to learn and get all the information you need just about anything pertaining to woodworking. There are some great craftsman on this site who are willing to share their knowledge. Don’t hesitate to ask, ok? Now to try to help with your question.
Walnut and maple (preferrably hard maple ) are two best woods to make endgrain boards. You can also use purpleheart. Any tight-grain wood is fine. Oak (red and white) are more open-grain woods. Stay away from soft woods, also, for endgrain. I’ve used oak, maple, walnut, and all hardwoods for long-grain a few times, but not softwoods. I try to avoid them for cutting boards. Also, once the boards are sanded smooth, flat and ready for a finish, use mineral oil, or Salad Bowl Finish. I use m.o. all the time. Stay away from varnishes (some guys will say it’s ok to use it). Don’t worry—3/4” is fine for a flat board. If you want one a little thicker, cut the wood say 1 1/4 ” wide, and stand it on its side. You have walnut and maple? You’re good to go. Hope this has helped. You’ll get more answers coming.

-- " At my age, happy hour is a crap and a nap".....

View cabinetmaster's profile


10874 posts in 3584 days

#3 posted 12-08-2009 11:35 AM

I have to agree with both responces above. Open grain is not good for an end grain cutting board.

-- Jerry--A man can never have enough tools or clamps

View marcb's profile


768 posts in 3699 days

#4 posted 12-08-2009 11:00 PM

Hard maple. Plain hard maple isn’t the prettiest and you can’t do fancy patterns but its THE best wood for a cutting board.

Make it thick 2” min. to take the abuse that cutting dense things like sweet potato’s can dole out.

Make it large, take her normal chopping knife. The entire length of the knife should be the diagonal work surface length at a minimum.

Jig up your router so you can do a good juice groove, its an essencial addition to any board. My favorite boards 1 major flaw is a narrow groove. You don’t want something thats easy to fill up, otherwise that slow roasted chicken you’re carving up will make a huge mess.

I tend to only use my main big board in the kitchen. My wife might jump in and help on the smaller one sometimes but 90% of the work is on the big one. Chop, scoop, move on to the next thing.

View pommy's profile


1697 posts in 3717 days

#5 posted 12-08-2009 11:18 PM

this is simple talk to larry ( DEGOOSE) HE’S THE KING OF CUTTING BOARDS

-- cut it saw it scrap it SKPE: ANDREW.CARTER69

View Joe Weaver's profile

Joe Weaver

516 posts in 3712 days

#6 posted 12-08-2009 11:26 PM

welcome to lj’s.

-- Joe, Ga

View huff's profile


2828 posts in 3311 days

#7 posted 12-09-2009 05:37 AM

Brad,It looks like Rick and Jerry covered it pretty well for you. If you decide to use the oak, I would use the white oak and not the red oak. Your white oak is open grain, while your maple and walnut will be a much tighter grain. I’ve used them in combination before, but found when you go to finish, the oak will take a lot more finish to seal. I just finished a tumble block cutting board (end grain) using walnut, cherry and white oak. It turned out great,but it took a lot to get the oak to seal. Good luck and welcome to LJ’s.

-- John @

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