c WOODUMAKEIT. 2019 Designed by Kat McCrory

End Grain Cutting Board

Leftover pieces of wood
Gluing up the first set of pieces

And end grain is both durable and easy on the knife blades because the end grain is not as hard as the edge grain. Better still, the end grain is sort of "self-healing" and will close up around any knife scratches. This type of cutting board is the idea choice for professional chefs.

 

I made this cutting board with some leftover pieces of hard maple and sipo. I cut these pieces so that they would be long enough to make the cutting board.  

 

To figure out how much wood you need, start with the size of the cutting board you would like to end up with. When you put all of your pieces of wood together side by side, this will be the width of the cutting board and will be the sum of the individual widths of your pieces.

 

The length of the pieces you will need will be the length of the cutting board divided by thickness of your pieces, multiplied by the thickness of the cutting board.  You'll need to make the pieces a little longer than that to account for a bit of waste.

Clamping the first glue-up

After cutting the pieces, they're ready for glue-up and clamping.

Trimming the ends of the cutting board

After the glue has dried, trim and square up the ends of this first piece on the table saw.

Cutting the end grain strips

Next, set your table saw fence so that you're making cuts equal to the thickness of your cutting board. Again, allow for a bit of excess (maybe 1/4") to account for sanding at the end.  

Now cut your glued-up panel into strips.

Test fitting the end grain pieces

In this photo, I've aligned all of the pieces to see how it's going to look. I've flipped every other piece end-to-end to have an alternating pattern.

Gluing up the end grain strips

Now it's ready for the second glue-up. Make sure that the end grain is pointing up when you put it all together.

Clamping in the first direction

For this glue-up, it's important that everything stays lined up, so I clamp it in both directions to prevent slippage.

Clamping in the other direction

I clamped it up and wiped up all of the excess glue to make it easier to clean up the next day.

Trimming the ends of the cutting board

After the glue had dried, I trimmed the ends of the cutting board using my cross cut sled.

Running the cutting board through the drum sander

Now it's ready for sanding. It's better to use a drum sander if you have one. You will get unpredictable results if you try to run the end grain through a planer, and it can be dangerous to try that.

Sanding the cutting board

Then I did some more sanding with a random orbit sander with finer grits.

Routing the finger slots into each end

I used a 3/8" round nose bit to put a slot into each end so that it's easy to pick up the cutting board.

End of the cutting board showing the finger slot
Using the round over bit

Then I used a 1/4" round over bit to round over the edges.

Soaking the cutting board in water

I did some hand sanding with 220-grit sand paper.

 

After sanding, I soaked the cutting board in water, let it dry, and then I sanded it. This helps to raise the grain so that the cutting board remains smooth when it's washed. I did that a couple of times.

Applying mineral oil

After the cutting board was completely dry, I applied a couple of coats of mineral oil.

Finished cutting board

The finished product looks pretty good!

To watch the video, click here.