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how strong are endgrain cutting boards?

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Forum topic by john2005 posted 01-05-2013 10:02 PM 976 views 0 times favorited 17 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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john2005

1166 posts in 922 days


01-05-2013 10:02 PM

Topic tags/keywords: question

So I am gearing up to build my first endgrain cutting board. I is to replace a worn out one for my Aunt. It is a built in style (y’know, the one that slides out of the counter) and it is heavily dished so I thought the endgrain board would be best. Problem is it slides out 20” and is under constant use. It usually has what ever she is preparing stacked on it. I know a board that is built with the grain will hold the weight, the question is will an endgrain board? Any thoughts would be greatly appreciated. Thanks!

-- In theory there is no difference between theory and practice. In practice there is.


17 replies so far

View PurpLev's profile

PurpLev

8476 posts in 2392 days


#1 posted 01-05-2013 10:11 PM

how thick is the opening for the slide?

I made a 1” thick board, and it is quite strong and should be able to hold quite a bit of weight on it if supported from only one end with no problems.

Edit: Obviously for this type of application, long grain boards are more mechanically proper to use as it utilizes the characteristics of the wood grain to provide extra strength and flexibility for this purpose.

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

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john2005

1166 posts in 922 days


#2 posted 01-05-2013 10:22 PM

Opening is about 7/8” so I will have to keep it just under. What do you think about laminating a 1/4” endgrain board to a long grain board. Do you think it would just tear itself apart? I just like the hardness and decorative options provided by an endgrain.

-- In theory there is no difference between theory and practice. In practice there is.

View MonteCristo's profile

MonteCristo

2098 posts in 932 days


#3 posted 01-06-2013 12:33 AM

Most of the designer cutting boards you see here and elsewhere may be long grain on the surface, but they too have a serious strength issue – they all have numerous joints involving end grain, sometimes both pieces in the joint being end grain. This type of glue joint is inherently weak. The end grain cutting board might well want to bow if it’s not thick enough, but it isn’t all bad as it’s joints are all long grain to long grain so it’s a lot less likely a joint will let go, especially if the board is washed frequently.

-- Dwight - "Free legal advice available - contact Dewey, Cheetam & Howe""

View Dusty56's profile

Dusty56

11684 posts in 2432 days


#4 posted 01-06-2013 12:48 AM

What type of glue are you planning to use , and how good are your glue joints ?
Personally , I would stick with the long grain for this application….I’d hate to see the Thanksgiving turkey end up on the floor !! : )

-- I'm absolutely positive that I couldn't be more uncertain!

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john2005

1166 posts in 922 days


#5 posted 01-06-2013 03:09 AM

Dusty56, my thoughts exactly. I can make tight joints and plan to use tightbond 3 for its water proof and long set characteristics.
MonteCristo, are you saying that you feel that the end grain board would be stronger? I’m not doubting you, just want to make sure I am understanding you statements.
Thank you for the info guys

-- In theory there is no difference between theory and practice. In practice there is.

View Brandon's profile

Brandon

4145 posts in 1695 days


#6 posted 01-06-2013 03:16 AM

There’s no way an end-grain board would be stronger. I’m sure the glue joints are plenty strong, but it could break in other spots. It might be strong enough for this application, but I personally would feel more comfortable with a traditional edge-grain board.

-- "hold fast to that which is good"

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Dusty56

11684 posts in 2432 days


#7 posted 01-06-2013 03:18 AM

That’s what I’m sayin’ : )

-- I'm absolutely positive that I couldn't be more uncertain!

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Brandon

4145 posts in 1695 days


#8 posted 01-06-2013 03:23 AM

Plus have you seen Dusty’s cutting boards? Beautiful! I just saw some on another thread here.

-- "hold fast to that which is good"

View PurpLev's profile

PurpLev

8476 posts in 2392 days


#9 posted 01-07-2013 06:12 PM

the long grain provides the woods natural mechanical strength.

can you do this with end grain? I’d say YES – given that you use proper sizing, and might add some stabilizers or what not – might require some experimenting and failures, or you could just end up making something that would be just fine. (sorry, I don’t like people saying something is impossible… but you still have to take into account the facts)

but for peace of mind, unless you are really set on end grain, this application really is suited for long grain boards.

you COULD reinforce the long grain board with metal angle brackets to help resist bowing long term.

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

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waho6o9

5275 posts in 1321 days


#10 posted 01-07-2013 06:46 PM

Long grain.

View MonteCristo's profile

MonteCristo

2098 posts in 932 days


#11 posted 01-07-2013 07:12 PM

John2005 et al: The import of my post is to point out that most of the designer cutting boards you see here on LJs violate one of the basic tenants of a good glue joint, namely that it not involve end grain. I recently bought a cutting board from Costco where they had used just glue on the breadboard ends and guess what, after a bunch of washings they fell off.

If the end grain version is made thick enough (2” ??) it will be plenty resistant to flexing, with no chance of joint failure if glued up properly and not let to soak for long periods of time.

Realistically, all the cross jointing in many of these patterned boards probably precludes a catastrophic joint failure but it’s good to know there is an issue there.

-- Dwight - "Free legal advice available - contact Dewey, Cheetam & Howe""

View LaPala's profile

LaPala

21 posts in 739 days


#12 posted 01-07-2013 07:13 PM

Maybe design the board as “long brick laid” pattern and insert stainless steel rods inside them would solve the strength issue?

-- Make love with wood.

View Derakon's profile

Derakon

83 posts in 911 days


#13 posted 01-08-2013 07:16 PM

The end-grain is mostly for patterning and for knife resistance; why not make a relatively thin end-grain board and back it with long grain?

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Cosmicsniper

2199 posts in 1902 days


#14 posted 01-08-2013 07:20 PM

Derakon – That just makes entirely too much sense. Such smart thinking makes us feel really stupid. Leave immediately please. ;)

-- jay, www.allaboutastro.com

View MonteCristo's profile

MonteCristo

2098 posts in 932 days


#15 posted 01-08-2013 08:26 PM

Actually, Derakon’s idea is not without its own potential problems. Do that and the thing may well warp or twist like a piece of reaction wood. One side will most likely want to move quite differently than the other.

-- Dwight - "Free legal advice available - contact Dewey, Cheetam & Howe""

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