Cutting Board Question

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Forum topic by USCJeff posted 12-13-2007 03:58 AM 1226 views 0 times favorited 9 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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1065 posts in 4306 days

12-13-2007 03:58 AM

Hey all,

I’m making some cutting boards out of purpleheart and maple. I’ve been looking at the many cutting boards posted here for inspiration. What is the reason for making them “end grain” vs. “long grain”? It seems the the vast majority are end grain. End grain is more absorbant, but I owuld think the finish would make that a non-issue.

Also, what adhesive has worked for you all? I would think that standard yellow glue would get the job done as the finish should keep the water off. Epoxy, Tightbond III, . . . ?

-- Jeff, South Carolina

9 replies so far

View JasonH's profile


136 posts in 4066 days

#1 posted 12-13-2007 04:01 AM

I’ve wondered this myself, but I’ll venture a wild guess: the endgrain is more durable to kitchen cutlery than long grain? Thanks for asking this question…I look forward to the answer!

-- Living on the square...

View dalec's profile


612 posts in 4127 days

#2 posted 12-13-2007 04:11 AM

The WoodWhisperer has a segment on end grain cutting boards. In short he explains that end grain is much kinder to knives than long grain. Secondly he mentioned end grain fills in while long grain is actually severed by the cutting action of knives. Marc’s video goes through a complete cutting board project.


View MrRock's profile


14 posts in 4057 days

#3 posted 12-13-2007 04:20 AM

I have actually just finished a cutting board, and it is an end grain one. I’ll post pictures of it and the other one I have made sometime soon. The reason end grain cutting boards are more durable (as it was explained to me), is that the knife ‘goes between’ the end grain fibers instead of cutting across them. Imagine pushing a knife into a brush lengthwise with the bristles, and then imagine pushing the knife down across the bristles and you’ll see what I mean. In theory the end-grain cutting board is self healing because the fibers (or bristles in the brush analogy) move out of the way for the knife and then move back to where they were before.

-- The Dude abides...

View mski's profile


439 posts in 4218 days

#4 posted 12-13-2007 05:04 AM

Just made 5 for christmas presents, The WoodWhisperer pod cast plans.
used TitebondIII, It’s water proof II is only water resistant
We haven’t finished them yet but two of them warped during the daytime but next morning they went back straight! I guess the end grain is more suseptable to moisture in the air, think we will finish them while there straight!
Using salad bowl finish from General
I did finish a small scrap and cut on it, it held up very well to a razor sharp knife.


View Don Niermann  's profile

Don Niermann

219 posts in 4210 days

#5 posted 12-13-2007 05:05 AM

If you are using purpleheart and maple I do not think the average use in a household will ever dig into the board. If it was used every day to cut and chop maybe. I made several boards from the same wood combination and there is nopt a sliver that has been cut If this is a normal house hold it will work fine with long grain and look bettere

-- WOOD/DON ( has the right to ones opinion but not the right to ones own facts...)

View ben's profile


158 posts in 4109 days

#6 posted 12-13-2007 06:43 AM

I cared about sharp knives long before I cared about sharp chisels. If you’re making a board for people who take cooking (and in turn cutting) seriously, and will use it as a cutting board (not just a show piece), end-grain is the way to go. It’s much nicer to your knives… if it looks a little better on the board, that’s a fine side effect too :-)


View USCJeff's profile


1065 posts in 4306 days

#7 posted 12-13-2007 08:38 PM

Thanks all, I had some of the same thoughts that Don had. This is for a family member that might use it weekly at best. I still like to make it as durable as possible, but I think I can get away with long grain. Maybe not. Time will tell. If it was for me, I wouldn’t care. I could always shoot it through the planer after a year or so.

-- Jeff, South Carolina

View Blake's profile


3443 posts in 4112 days

#8 posted 12-13-2007 11:45 PM

I think I have heard somewhere that the “self-healing” effects of end grain are also more resistant to bacteria growth. Not 100% sure though. I do know, like mentioned, that end grain is easier on knives and your cutting board will also last longer.

Use mineral oil, “salad bowl” or “cutting board” finish on anything used for food so you don’t poison the user. Don’t expect the finish to seal out moisture, though. Use waterproof glue and never leave the cutting board wet for long. NO DISHWASHERS!!! Hand wash and dry right away. Refinish with the oil frequently.

-- Happy woodworking!

View sandhill's profile


2128 posts in 4162 days

#9 posted 12-14-2007 12:23 AM

Think of it as a bunch of straws compressed. When you cut into them from the end they will tend to close when the sharp edge of a knife is removed where as cutting from the side tends to sever the straws so that’s the main reason. Another consideration is when gluing up a cutting board you need even pressure at all points and as I have been told you need to apply some tremendous amount of pressure per sq inch for an end grain board. I use a standard Salad bowl finish but you can make your own oil/wax. A great solution is 10 parts Mineral Oil to 1 part Paraffin Wax. Gently warm it until the wax melts and that’s it the penetration of the oil and the shine of the wax work very well. I use Purple Heart, walnut and maple on my boards as this makes a lovely contrast. My boards sell for $65.00 each and are 11 ½ X 17” X 7/8” and I sell out every year but what’s nice is I use scrap left over from other projects ending up with 3 – 5 cutting boards. I started out just making them as gifts but then after a few years people other than the ones I gave them to started wanting them so I started to sell them once a year.

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