How can I prevent cracks when making a board with a border?

  • Advertise with us

« back to Woodworking Skill Share forum

Forum topic by Kent posted 02-06-2010 03:59 PM 1229 views 0 times favorited 4 replies Add to Favorites Watch
View Kent's profile


45 posts in 4038 days

02-06-2010 03:59 PM

Hello my sawdust-making friends:

I have made several endgrain cutting boards lately and am now making a chess board for my friend. I have run into the problem of boards cracking when I make a board with a boarder. I understand why this will occur when you have an endgrain cutting board and you then apply a boarder to it using long grain. I used biscuits on one of these and I got a big 1/8” crack 2 months later across one of the corners .

On another cutting board I made with cherry, which was not end grain, also cracked when I put a purpleheart boarder around it. This board was extra big at about 24 inches long and 18 inches wide. It cracked down the middle of a strip of cherry, not at a joint.

In both of these boards that cracked I used purple heart for the boarder.

None of the 10 other boards that I made without boarders cracked.

Here are my questions:

1) What is causing the cracks? Is it the purple heart?
2) How can I design these boards with boarders to prevent them from cracking? How can I allow for the wood to move but have a nice looking boarder at the same time?


4 replies so far

View Julian's profile


880 posts in 3728 days

#1 posted 02-06-2010 04:37 PM

The cracks are caused by the cutting board swelling which pops the miters open, and it has nothing to do with the border material. Your best bet is to leave the border off since it will inevitably crack each one over time.

-- Julian, Park Forest, IL

View Kent's profile


45 posts in 4038 days

#2 posted 02-06-2010 07:15 PM

Thanks for the post Julian.

The boarder made of purple heart did not crack on either of the boards nor did the miters seperate. The cracks are in the center of boards. With the larger cherry boards, the cracks are running down the center of the board in the direction of the grain. The end grain board cracked near one corner. I wonder how I can do a boarder allowing for some movement..

View dustbunny's profile


1149 posts in 3498 days

#3 posted 02-06-2010 07:37 PM

Another way to prevent expansion cracks is to make the border “floating” with tenion into slot. Do not glue the frame to the board keep a tight tolerance on your tenion and slot so it is not sloppy, but can still expand and contract. Or have a look at this article from Fine Woodworking Mag-

Hope this helps,


-- Imagination rules the world. ~ Napoleon Bonaparte ~

View Kent's profile


45 posts in 4038 days

#4 posted 02-06-2010 11:10 PM

I love your name “Dustbunny” ! And your box is lovely. Wow.

Thank you for your post. I am proud to say that I followed your advice but I read it after!. I made a border as an independent piece with four sides in which the chessboard fits allowing 1/4” extra space for felt or something. The board is removable. I will take a picture of it.

It was reassuring to read your post after I made it. It is nice to do projects for friends because the friend does all the sanding!

Are you going to watch the Super Bowl?

Have your say...

You must be signed in to reply.

DISCLAIMER: Any posts on LJ are posted by individuals acting in their own right and do not necessarily reflect the views of LJ. LJ will not be held liable for the actions of any user.

Latest Projects | Latest Blog Entries | Latest Forum Topics