End grain cutting boards grain direction

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Forum topic by Bill7255 posted 02-27-2015 12:47 PM 1388 views 0 times favorited 3 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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427 posts in 2312 days

02-27-2015 12:47 PM

I want to make some end grain cutting boards. I have seen some threads where they have cracked and warped. What I want to know is there a specific way to set the grain direction on the strips when glued together? I was going to use Titebond II for glue. Woods I plan on using are hard maple, Purple Heart, walnut, yellowheart, redheart.

-- Bill R

3 replies so far

View mahdee's profile


3888 posts in 1794 days

#1 posted 02-27-2015 01:29 PM

It really shouldn’t matter depending on the size of the chunks. However, I would look into the toxicity of the tropical woods you plan to use. Also, consider that oily wood has a tendency to not adhere as well as other kinds.


View dustslinger's profile


1 post in 1211 days

#2 posted 02-27-2015 05:39 PM

Titebond III is considered food safe for cutting boards.

View AlaskaGuy's profile


4211 posts in 2336 days

#3 posted 02-28-2015 11:47 AM

There is a little engineering that needs to be considered when building an end grain butcher block or cutting board. First, choose wood where the growth rings (viewed from the end) run as close to 90 degrees or parallel to one edge. Remember, the expansion/contraction is about double along the annular rings verses perpendicular to the rings. You’ve got to keep the grain running in the same direction as you glue up your strips. In other words, don’t glue a flatsawn edge to a quartersawn edge.

Next, the way butcher blocks are made is to glue up strips of wood like you were making a laminated type cutting board. These laminated panels are then run through a planer to flatten them and bring them to equal thickness. Then the panel is crosscut into strips of blocks equal to the thickness that you want the butcher block to be. These block strips are then glued together again keeping the grain running in the same directions.

Not paying attention to the grain orientation will lead to the block cracking and/or joints being pulled apart.

A ANSI type II or ANSI Type I (Titebond III) adhesive will work just fine however, you need to be sure you do everything right to get good adhesion. Wood glues are non-toxic when cured. Your glue faces should be flat and freshly cut. It they were cut more than a few days earlier, freshen them up with about three swipes with 320 sandpaper and block to keep the faces flat.

Go to the Boos site. Boos is one of the largest manufacturers of end grain cutting boards and chopping blocks. You will see that the grain all runs in the same direction. I’ve never seen it any other way on successful boards. Alternating the grain will lead to damage due to wood expanding and contracting.

Disclaimer: This is a copy and paste from a very experienced and trusted woodworker.

-- Alaskan's for Global warming!

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