How flat is flat enough for an endgrain cutting board?

  • Advertise with us

« back to Woodworking Skill Share forum

Forum topic by Cory posted 09-28-2010 04:13 PM 1842 views 0 times favorited 12 replies Add to Favorites Watch
View Cory's profile


760 posts in 3415 days

09-28-2010 04:13 PM

Topic tags/keywords: cutting board flat end grain

I’m in the process of making my largest cutting board to date. It’s an all walnut end grain cutting board for my wife. I’ve got all the board glued up and I’m in the process of sanding the end grain flat and smooth. I’ve run a belt sander over both sides and it sits flat when I put it on my benches. But, when I take a straight edge and place it on the board, there’s a dip in the middle of about 1/32 or so. It’s enough that I can see light under the straightedge. Should I spend the extra time to make sure the board is perfectly flat, or am I being too much of a worry wart? What do you do or what is your acceptable level of tolerance?

Thanks for the help.


-- The secret to getting ahead is getting started.

12 replies so far

View Don's profile


517 posts in 3068 days

#1 posted 09-28-2010 04:31 PM

I’d spend the extra time. That 1/32 inch gap is 1/32 inch of meat that your cleaver won’t cut through.

-- Don - I wood work if I could. Redmond WA.

View Rick  Dennington's profile

Rick Dennington

5856 posts in 3190 days

#2 posted 09-28-2010 07:21 PM

Greetings Cory,

I most definately would spend the extra time getting the board flat….I think the big issue you would have is when you put the board on a countertop or table, it will want to “spin” on you, cause it’s high in the center.
Did you turn it over and check to see if it lays flat? What about putting some small rubber bumpers at each corner, or little feet, or whatever they are called… But I would try to get it flat on both sides as best you can….. good luck, and let us know what you figure out…...

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

View Cory's profile


760 posts in 3415 days

#3 posted 09-28-2010 07:28 PM

Thanks, Rick and Don. I’m going to spend some more time with my belt sander and a finer grit working back and forth on the board. If that’s not an acceptable result, I’m going to a buddy’s shop with a Jet wide belt sander!!!!

-- The secret to getting ahead is getting started.

View Pdub's profile


923 posts in 3176 days

#4 posted 09-28-2010 07:48 PM

This would be a good excuse to buy your own drum sander. LOL

-- Paul, North Dakota, USAF Ret.

View Rick  Dennington's profile

Rick Dennington

5856 posts in 3190 days

#5 posted 09-28-2010 09:00 PM

Cory…. If you’re only about 1/32 high, it shouldn’t take much to knock it back pretty flat…Like you said, hit with a little finer grit, and check, and sand, and check and sand…...Well…you get the If you can’t get it down like you want it, don’t worry about it, put the little stick-on thingys on… a 1/32 is not that much to worry about, in my opinion…....just stay out of the middle…... lol lol…

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

View tbone's profile


276 posts in 3680 days

#6 posted 09-28-2010 09:56 PM

If you ever watch TOP CHEF, you might notice that some of the cutting boards are bowed a LOT more than 1/32nd of an inch. These are nice professional cutting boards with brand names that we would all recognize. Now, those boards are probably sitting directly on a damp counter, or not properly treated in some other ways, but I think the point is that they are going to move a little bit depending on the prevailing climate.
If your board is not cracking, then it should be okay—and it may even straighten itself out in a little while.

-- Kinky Friedman: "The first thing I'll do if I'm elected is demand a recount."

View HokieMojo's profile


2104 posts in 3724 days

#7 posted 09-28-2010 10:23 PM

tbone is right. Don’t spend too much time making something that is perfectly flat in a workshop but will never be dead flat when used as intended. If it looks good and works well, that is all that should matter. If the item actually gets used, it will never look better than it does right now. Soon it will be stained and scratched.

View PurpLev's profile


8535 posts in 3644 days

#8 posted 09-28-2010 10:28 PM

as long as it sits on the countertop without rocking, I would not worry much about it.

-- ㊍ When in doubt - There is no doubt - Go the safer route.

View Jonnyfurniture's profile


59 posts in 2823 days

#9 posted 09-29-2010 12:22 AM

Common practice is to lay a dish towel down under the block so no worries.

View Dan Lyke's profile

Dan Lyke

1520 posts in 4121 days

#10 posted 09-29-2010 01:07 AM

My gut feel, having at least one distinctly non-flat cutting board in play in my kitchen, is that the daily warps of water and drying are gonna be worse than 1/32”, that if you’re a chef’s knife user your knife already has a nice bow in it that’ll take care of most uneven surfaces, and that if the rocking bothers you, put it on a towel.

Your kitchen (and kitchen users) may be different…

-- Dan Lyke, Petaluma California,

View RDavidC's profile


15 posts in 2798 days

#11 posted 09-29-2010 01:27 AM

I cook a lot and a cutting board that is not flat on both sides does not last long in my kitchen. it just drives me nuts if it rocks. Put in the extra work for peace of mind if nothing else.

-- David, Inverness, Fla.

View HokieMojo's profile


2104 posts in 3724 days

#12 posted 09-29-2010 04:37 AM

Like Jonny said, a damp towel does fix this and it is quite common.

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