The Story of a Board: an End Grain Cutting Board Tutorial

Gallery Of The Story of a Board: an End Grain Cutting Board Tutorial

The Story of a Board: an End Grain Cutting Board Tutorial

The Story of a Board: an End Grain Cutting Board Tutorial

In this end grain cutting board tutorial, I’ll show you the steps involved in making a beautifully-patterned board with four species of wood. I’ve included a cut sheet at the end of the post, so you’ll be able to duplicate this exact DIY cutting board. You’ve probably seen a lot of sites showing how to make an and grain cutting board, but you won’t find a more beautiful pattern that is still within reach of the novice woodworker. But don’t let its simplicity fool you, this end grain cutting board will enhance the beauty of any kitchen and give years of chopping pleasure!

This DIY cutting board, like most that I make, is an end grain cutting board. The two main benefits of end grain cutting boards are board longevity and knife longevity . The third benefit? It looks awesome! So let’s get to it, and I’ll show you how to make an end grain cutting board!

Before we start making our end grain cutting board, be sure to follow us on , and , and click the subscribe button at the top of this page to sign up for our email list so you’ll never miss a post!

Here is what you’ll need to make this DIY cutting board:

The Story of a Board: an End Grain Cutting Board Tutorial

End Grain Cutting Board Supplies List

How to make an end grain cutting board in 6 simple steps

- Select and prepare wood for the DIY cutting board

- Lay out and glue up the initial design

- Prep and cut for the second glue-up.

The Story of a Board: an End Grain Cutting Board Tutorial

- Lay out and glue up the final end grain cutting board design

- Finishing the DIY cutting Board

1. Select and Prepare Wood for the DIY Cutting Board

I made this end grain cutting board for a friend, and it measures about 20″ x 13.” I used walnut, hard maple, redheart and jatoba 5/4 boards. Board thickness is measured in quarter inches. Thus, a 5/4 board is 1 1/4″ thick. That is the thickness before milling. The actual thickness you end up purchasing is a little less. Just like a 2 x 4 is actually a 1 1/2 x 3 1/2. For a cutting board this size, I needed to cut my strips of wood to 27 inches. I did this with the radial arm saw. First I measured and marked with a pencil.

Then cut to size. This board is redheart. Yes, I know, I should be wearing safety glasses. I have them, and I use them. I think I forgot them here since I was so focused on photographing myself while working – something I usually don’t do.

The Story of a Board: an End Grain Cutting Board Tutorial

Once the four boards were cut to size, I had to get rid of any milling marks with the planer. This also gets them to a uniform thickness. This is the hard maple going into the planer.

I then had my four boards cut to equal length and planed to equal thickness. Before I could cut them into strips, I first needed to run one edge of each through the jointer to ensure that I had a smooth and square surface to reference my cuts off of.

Then on to the table saw to cut strips ranging in size from 1/4″ to 2.” Again, I’ll have a cut list at the end of the post. Here is the walnut.

Here cutting the maple. I’m pushing it through with a

. I recently got it, and I love it. It has a locking depth gauge and pencil holder – very handy!

The Story of a Board: an End Grain Cutting Board Tutorial

For the 1/4″ pieces, I cut the piece on the outside of the blade, not against the fence. To get the spacing correct, I measured 1/4″ from the blade to a combination square resting in the miter slot.

Once I had the proper spacing, I locked the combination square.

Then I slid the fence and the piece to be cut up to the combination square, locked the fence, removed the square, and made the cut.

2. Layout and Glue Up the Initial Design for the End Grain Cutting Board

With all of the strips cut, it was time for the first glue-up. Here are the players:

The Story of a Board: an End Grain Cutting Board Tutorial

I laid some cling film on the bar clamps. This makes cleanup a lot easier. Scraping dried glue from the clamps is a real pain in the butt!

Here are all of the strips, arranged by species.

I arranged them in their proper order.

I then rolled each piece 90 degrees clockwise. This exposed the faces that I’d be gluing.

All the pieces except the very first piece were now rolled over and ready for glue.

The Story of a Board: an End Grain Cutting Board Tutorial

Some latex gloves to keep the glue off of my hands. Rock on.

I applied a bead of glue to each strip.

Then, one-by-one, I turned each piece back over and pressed it to the one preceding it.

…Until they were all glued. Then I tightened the bar clamps.

I added a few clamps between the bar clamps and let it dry.

The Story of a Board: an End Grain Cutting Board Tutorial

3. Prep and Cut for the Second Glue-Up

When the glue had fully hardened, I removed the clamps and scraped off the excess with an old chisel. A card scraper works, too, but only if the excess glue droplets have not fully hardened.

I ran my DIY cutting board through the planer to get everything smooth and even.

Next, it was time to cut the board into slices, so I could expose the end grain and achieve the final design. I started by squaring up one end. Walnut dust is toxic so it’s a good idea to wear a face mask.

Since the final end grain cutting board would be 1 1/4″ thick, I set a stop block 1 1/4″ from the blade and clamped it in place.

The Story of a Board: an End Grain Cutting Board Tutorial

Cutting the slices for the DIY cutting board…

4. Lay Out and Glue Up the Final End Grain Cutting Board Design

With all the slices cut, it was time for final assembly and glue-up of my DIY cutting board.

I put the pieces once again in the bar clamps. The two pieces of pine on the ends are sacrificial strips. They are glued to the board to protect the edges when I run the board through the planer for final leveling. Without the strips, the planer would tear out the back edges. This only applies when planing end grain – just one of the many tricks I developed after ruining so much wood!

To get the final design for this end grain cutting board, I flipped every other piece.

The Story of a Board: an End Grain Cutting Board Tutorial

Now we start to see the final product!

Once again I rolled each piece 90 degrees clockwise to expose the face to be glued. This board was so big that I had to make two layers.

Next it was time to apply the glue. Since all the strips were of equal height, the roller made this job easier.

I then positioned them and rolled glue on the remaining strips.

I tightened the clamps and added one more for good measure.

The Story of a Board: an End Grain Cutting Board Tutorial

5. Final Shaping and Sanding of the DIY Cutting Board

Once the glue was set, but not fully dry, I removed the extra clamp and scraped off the excess glue with a card scraper.

My DIY cutting board was now ready for final planing.

Next I cut off the sacrificial strips.

The next step was to rout the edges with a 1/4″ round-over bit.

The Story of a Board: an End Grain Cutting Board Tutorial

Then on to the sanding station. I started with 60 grit, then go to 80, 100, 120, and finally 150. It is important not to skip grits if using a random orbital sander. No one likes swirly marks in their end grain cutting board!

. These guys are indispensable. If you don’t have them, get them!

When the board was sanded, I marked holes .

Then I pre-drilled the screw holes with the drill press, though a handheld drill would work fine.

Before I got to finishing my DIY cutting board, I gave it a good cleaning

The Story of a Board: an End Grain Cutting Board Tutorial

6. Finishing the DIY Cutting Board

To finish my end grain cutting board, I used a food-safe wipe-on varnish called . My preferred brand is . I mixed it with mineral spirits to about 60% mineral spirits and 40% varnish. I want it so thin because I want the wood to drink it all in and distribute the varnish throughout the board. I don’t try to build up a finish on the surface like I would on a table. Rather, I want to seal the wood off from moisture throughout the board. Moisture harbors bacteria. Bacteria can be bad.

I cut and folded a small piece of cloth to use as an applicator. I wore a vinyl glove on the right hand and latex on the left. The vinyl better resists the varnish, whereas the latex starts to stretch and will eventually disintegrate. I used latex on the left since it is thinner and has a tighter fit, allowing me to pick up and manipulate screws. I also use nitrile gloves, but I happened to have some extra vinyl on hand that I wanted to use up.

Starting with the back of the board, I liberally applied , letting the wood drink up as much as it can. If the is thin enough, it will run right through the board and spot the other side.

I then wiped off the excess and inserted four screws a few turns into the holes I previously drilled for the . This kept the bottom of the board elevated while I worked on the top.

The Story of a Board: an End Grain Cutting Board Tutorial

You can see a little spotting on the top.

And here was the board after the first coat of . I again flooded the board with as much varnish as it could take and then wiped the excess off the board. Remember, we’re not trying to build a finish!

When dry, I lightly sanded with 2000 grit sandpaper , applying only the weight of my fingers for pressure. The goal here is to knock down any tiny surface imperfections. Most people say to sand lightly with 220 between coats. I’ve never been able to do this without messing up the piece with sanding marks. Unlike, say, lacquer or shellac, polyurethane doesn’t melt the coat underneath it, so any sanding marks on the previous coat will show.

Then I repeated the process for the . . I wiped it on…

…And wiped it off. Again, since I wasn’t trying to build a finish, I wiped all of the excess from the board.

The Story of a Board: an End Grain Cutting Board Tutorial

I gave my DIY cutting board four coats of , and then I attached the 1 1/2 inch I also use for smaller boards. These feet come with zinc-plated screws. I throw those out and replace them with stainless steel screws of the same size. This keeps the screws from rusting after exposure to moisture.

And that’s it! Nothing left to do but take pictures and deliver it to my friend.

Update February 2018: I want to talk a bit about end grain cutting board maintenance. I’ve found that, over time, my boards can get pretty chewed up and dried out, even with the salad bowl finish. My usual solution was to sand them down and refinish them. But if I’m giving a board out as a gift, that’s not always a feasible solution for the recipient. This led me to experiment with other finishes. After exhaustive research on countless blogs and forums, I came across a finish that I would consider as an alternative to polyurethane. But even better, I use it on my varnished boards to keep them from drying out!

There is a great debate online about which oil is the best for cutting boards. If you wish to torture yourself, you can go dive into the fracas. Don’t say I didn’t warn you. Lucky for you, I did all the legwork.

So here it is: the best oil for cutting boards is walnut oil.

The Story of a Board: an End Grain Cutting Board Tutorial

, and it’s what is called a “drying oil” or a “polymerizing oil.” That means that the oil reacts with oxygen to dry out at room temperature and create a hard, protective film. Compare that to mineral oil which stays oily at room temperature until it eventually evaporates.

The same oil is used for moisturizing skin, and those products tend to be cheaper. Don’t worry, it’s still food-grade!

Now, just using walnut oil would be a great way to protect the board. In fact, I start by giving the board two hearty coats of walnut oil, waiting a day between coats. But then to the mix.

I add one part beeswax to four parts walnut oil in an old saucepan and heat it over low heat . I then coat the board one last time with the walnut oil/beeswax mixture using a folded paper towel. When the mixture has cooled for a while, I wipe off the excess with a clean paper towel.

Before the oil mixture in the pot cools, I pour it into a glass container with a lid. I use an 8 ounce canning jar. Once the oil/wax mixture cools, it will have the consistency of shortening. I use it every couple of weeks to keep the board properly oiled and in good shape. I just put a dab on a paper towel and wipe it all over the board. I store my board butter in a cabinet. Remember – the walnut oil will never go rancid!

The Story of a Board: an End Grain Cutting Board Tutorial

Recently, I’ve started using board butter on my varnished boards, and it has worked out brilliantly. The boards are still protected throughout, but the board butter adds another layer of waterproofing on the surface and combats the dry wood that results from heavy use. The combination of varnish and board butter is a winner, and I will be incorporating it into all of my future boards.

*Note about nut oils and nut woods: be advised that walnut oil is toxic to folks with certain nut allergies, as is walnut lumber for a smaller percentage. Know your audience, and use accordingly.*

Okay, let’s get back to the beauty shots! Enjoy!

For those wishing to replicate this design, here is the cut list. Boards are 5/4 thickness:

Source board thickness: 1 1/32 inch

The Story of a Board: an End Grain Cutting Board Tutorial

End grain cutting board thickness: 1 1/4 inch

This is the order in which you will place the boards in the clamps for the initial glue-up.

Good Luck and thanks for reading this tutorial on how to make an end grain cutting board!

If you liked my DIY cutting board and you want to try a different challenge,

We love it when you share our posts on Facebook and Pinterest!

The Story of a Board: an End Grain Cutting Board Tutorial

Greg your artwork is absolutely stunning! Lucky friend! Thank you for the education in this article too!

Thank you, Christina! I’m glad you enjoyed it.

Wow! I absolutely loved this. Beyond what I’m capable of with the tools I have, but one day….

I would like to order cutting boards. Please advise prices. P.S. I volunteer with Sue at the SCS.

I would like to order cutting boards. Please advise prices. P.S. I volunteer with Sue at the SCS.

The Story of a Board: an End Grain Cutting Board Tutorial

I, too, make cutting boards. Thank you for such a detailed “blog” as to what you used and how you did it. I know the mechanics, but having your lumber choices is quite helpful. I may well make this one in the near future.

Thanks again Greg and happy holidays to you,

Thank you, Steve! Good luck if you decide to make the board, and Happy Holidays to you and yours.

Greg, I have a question regarding your thickness planer. I have the Dewalt 735 . Mine currently has the “factory” 3 blade system in it. I am about to upgrade it to a Byrd Helical cutterhead. In the meantime, are you using the sacrificial pine on the ends with the 3 blade system? I’ve never used the sacrificial boards since I thought the end grain would be too tough on the blades.

Thanks in advance for any help you may offer.

The Story of a Board: an End Grain Cutting Board Tutorial

First – thank you! I’ve never heard of the Byrd Helical cutterhead, and now that I’ve read about it, I will definitely get it.

I use sacrificial pine when I remember to do so. Often, I’m thinking three steps ahead, and I totally forget. When that happens, I have to plane VERY slowly, micro-adjusting the cutter head each time. Otherwise, I’ll get pretty nasty tearout. I can usually just trim the end, and no one is the wiser, but once or twice I ended up with a smaller board, as I had to cut out the whole section.

Regarding end-grain being too tough on the blades…well it kind of is. The blades certainly don’t last as long as they would otherwise, but planing is certainly possible and definitely a time-saver.

Thanks again for the helical heads up!

At one point in time I used to take my boards to a local cabinet shop and have them plane the end grain for me. What their technician always did first was take the board to the belt sander and “break the edges” of the board. That helped somewhat with chip-out, but not totally.

The Story of a Board: an End Grain Cutting Board Tutorial

Writes the cutting board, which reads learned a lot about this. Your brewing process has been extraordinary and very beautiful. This is an important thing, quality, or cutting board, work is not helpful because the more one becomes. I liked it. If I want to write more. thank you.

Where did you find 5/4 lumber in the exotics and domestics> At one Place? Would love to know.I can 4/4 or 8/4 but the rest hit and miss. Thanks

Hi Joe, I get my wood from Parkerville Wood Products in Manchester, CT. They sell 5/4 in everything I use except the redheart. For that I buy 4/4. The thickness of my redheart strips in the final board can never be greater than about 15/16″ . I cut the strips to the thickness of the cutting board , then turn them 90 degrees to use them in the glue up.

I used to use 8/4 when I first started making boards, but found the resulting patterns and boards to be a little too clunky. With 5/4, I can still make a thick board, and I can make a more intricate pattern. -Greg

This is awesome! I’d love to make one, but am having trouble finding the African Mahogany and Redheart woods you used. Can you tell me where you found yours? Thank you, and great job on a really cool project!

The Story of a Board: an End Grain Cutting Board Tutorial

Thank you, Virginia! I used African Mahogany because I had it on hand, but you can also substitute jatoba. I buy my wood at a specialty wood store called Parkerville Wood Products in Manchester, CT. Search to see if you have a similar store in your area. If not, you can google “exotic wood online store” and you should find places that will ship. Good luck, and send me a picture of your project when finished!

A work of art! Thank you for sharing!

You could sell these. Let me no if you ever do

BEAUTIFUL!! When will I be gettin’ mine? I’ll be waiting for the delivery guy

This is beyond beautiful. Wish I could buy one

The Story of a Board: an End Grain Cutting Board Tutorial

I seen this before by someone else and always with beautiful results. It’s always good to see that there are people out there that have excellent ideas working with wood.

Very nice board and easy to do instructions! What can you tell us about the rubber feet you used with this board? Source of and why these over the standard high dome type? Thankyou

Hi Bryan, I get the feet used in this board and also 1 inch feet at Home Depot. If you scroll back up a bit to the part where I’m attaching the feet, you’ll see the two links. I use these particular feet because they are cheap and readily available at my local Home Depot store. The only modification I make is to throw away the screws that come with them and replace them with stainless steel screws of the same size.

A very good blog and a very pretty board. Look forward for more

This is fantastic! There are some great cooks in my family who would love this! Thank you so so much!

The Story of a Board: an End Grain Cutting Board Tutorial

Greg, Thank you for the invaluable information, step by step. I had my own lumber, some black walnut, maple and some Padauk. I planed my lumber and decided to create my first end grain cutting board. I thought that this might take me at least a week to finish and was shocked that I was able to complete the board in 3 days! The board will be a gift for my wifes parents who live in South Korea. The board turned out so good that my wife thought that I had gone out and purchased it! I have wanted to make one of these for some time, but really had no clue as to what to do. My next one, I hope, will be a 3D end grain board. Any suggestion surely would be appreciated.

Hi Matthew, I’m happy you found my post useful! I’d love to see a picture of your board. Can you send a pic or two to greg@thenavagepatch.com? I’ll post your board on our Facebook page. Regarding the 3D board, I’ve never made one, though I considered it a couple of years ago. I think what held me back at the time was my thought that I wouldn’t be able to get accurate angle cuts with my table saw, since it doesn’t have stop locks at certain crucial angles like my compound miter saw has. Someday, I’ll attempt one, as it seems like a good challenge, but right now, I’m working on a couple of turquoise inlay cheese boards. I’ll have a post about those when I get around to finishing them. Thanks again for reaching out, and good luck with your future projects!

Gorgeous! You really have talent, and you use it well. Thanks for the tutorial; I’ll never get one made, but I can certainly admire the quality of the workmanship of your cutting boards. Have you ever thought of making an inlaid jewelry box? Would be an excellent use of the small scraps you have left over after one of these projects.While living in Capetown, RSA, I was blessed to find a man in my neighborhood who made them, and I gladly paid about 150 bucks for the one I brought home. It’s worth far more. Keep up the excellent work. Your wife is truly blessed!

Thank you, Cindy! I like that idea – I have tons of scraps and plenty of stone. That might be a future project!

The Story of a Board: an End Grain Cutting Board Tutorial

The Story of a Board: an End Grain Cutting Board Tutorial

In this end grain cutting board tutorial, I’ll show you the steps involved in making a beautifully-patterned board with four species of wood. I’ve included a cut sheet at the end of the post, so you’ll be able to duplicate this exact DIY cutting board. You’ve probably seen a lot of sites showing how to make an and grain cutting board, but you won’t find a more beautiful pattern that is still within reach of the novice woodworker. But don’t let its simplicity fool you, this end grain cutting board will enhance the beauty of any kitchen and give years of chopping pleasure!

This DIY cutting board, like most that I make, is an end grain cutting board. The two main benefits of end grain cutting boards are board longevity and knife longevity . The third benefit? It looks awesome! So let’s get to it, and I’ll show you how to make an end grain cutting board!

Before we start making our end grain cutting board, be sure to follow us on , and , and click the subscribe button at the top of this page to sign up for our email list so you’ll never miss a post!

Here is what you’ll need to make this DIY cutting board:

End Grain Cutting Board Supplies List

The Story of a Board: an End Grain Cutting Board Tutorial

How to make an end grain cutting board in 6 simple steps

- Select and prepare wood for the DIY cutting board

- Lay out and glue up the initial design

- Prep and cut for the second glue-up.

- Lay out and glue up the final end grain cutting board design

The Story of a Board: an End Grain Cutting Board Tutorial

- Finishing the DIY cutting Board

1. Select and Prepare Wood for the DIY Cutting Board

I made this end grain cutting board for a friend, and it measures about 20″ x 13.” I used walnut, hard maple, redheart and jatoba 5/4 boards. Board thickness is measured in quarter inches. Thus, a 5/4 board is 1 1/4″ thick. That is the thickness before milling. The actual thickness you end up purchasing is a little less. Just like a 2 x 4 is actually a 1 1/2 x 3 1/2. For a cutting board this size, I needed to cut my strips of wood to 27 inches. I did this with the radial arm saw. First I measured and marked with a pencil.

Then cut to size. This board is redheart. Yes, I know, I should be wearing safety glasses. I have them, and I use them. I think I forgot them here since I was so focused on photographing myself while working – something I usually don’t do.

Once the four boards were cut to size, I had to get rid of any milling marks with the planer. This also gets them to a uniform thickness. This is the hard maple going into the planer.

The Story of a Board: an End Grain Cutting Board Tutorial

I then had my four boards cut to equal length and planed to equal thickness. Before I could cut them into strips, I first needed to run one edge of each through the jointer to ensure that I had a smooth and square surface to reference my cuts off of.

Then on to the table saw to cut strips ranging in size from 1/4″ to 2.” Again, I’ll have a cut list at the end of the post. Here is the walnut.

Here cutting the maple. I’m pushing it through with a

. I recently got it, and I love it. It has a locking depth gauge and pencil holder – very handy!

For the 1/4″ pieces, I cut the piece on the outside of the blade, not against the fence. To get the spacing correct, I measured 1/4″ from the blade to a combination square resting in the miter slot.

The Story of a Board: an End Grain Cutting Board Tutorial

Once I had the proper spacing, I locked the combination square.

Then I slid the fence and the piece to be cut up to the combination square, locked the fence, removed the square, and made the cut.

2. Layout and Glue Up the Initial Design for the End Grain Cutting Board

With all of the strips cut, it was time for the first glue-up. Here are the players:

I laid some cling film on the bar clamps. This makes cleanup a lot easier. Scraping dried glue from the clamps is a real pain in the butt!

The Story of a Board: an End Grain Cutting Board Tutorial

Here are all of the strips, arranged by species.

I arranged them in their proper order.

I then rolled each piece 90 degrees clockwise. This exposed the faces that I’d be gluing.

All the pieces except the very first piece were now rolled over and ready for glue.

Some latex gloves to keep the glue off of my hands. Rock on.

The Story of a Board: an End Grain Cutting Board Tutorial

I applied a bead of glue to each strip.

Then, one-by-one, I turned each piece back over and pressed it to the one preceding it.

…Until they were all glued. Then I tightened the bar clamps.

I added a few clamps between the bar clamps and let it dry.

3. Prep and Cut for the Second Glue-Up

The Story of a Board: an End Grain Cutting Board Tutorial

When the glue had fully hardened, I removed the clamps and scraped off the excess with an old chisel. A card scraper works, too, but only if the excess glue droplets have not fully hardened.

I ran my DIY cutting board through the planer to get everything smooth and even.

Next, it was time to cut the board into slices, so I could expose the end grain and achieve the final design. I started by squaring up one end. Walnut dust is toxic so it’s a good idea to wear a face mask.

Since the final end grain cutting board would be 1 1/4″ thick, I set a stop block 1 1/4″ from the blade and clamped it in place.

Cutting the slices for the DIY cutting board…

The Story of a Board: an End Grain Cutting Board Tutorial

4. Lay Out and Glue Up the Final End Grain Cutting Board Design

With all the slices cut, it was time for final assembly and glue-up of my DIY cutting board.

I put the pieces once again in the bar clamps. The two pieces of pine on the ends are sacrificial strips. They are glued to the board to protect the edges when I run the board through the planer for final leveling. Without the strips, the planer would tear out the back edges. This only applies when planing end grain – just one of the many tricks I developed after ruining so much wood!

To get the final design for this end grain cutting board, I flipped every other piece.

Now we start to see the final product!

The Story of a Board: an End Grain Cutting Board Tutorial

Once again I rolled each piece 90 degrees clockwise to expose the face to be glued. This board was so big that I had to make two layers.

Next it was time to apply the glue. Since all the strips were of equal height, the roller made this job easier.

I then positioned them and rolled glue on the remaining strips.

I tightened the clamps and added one more for good measure.

5. Final Shaping and Sanding of the DIY Cutting Board

The Story of a Board: an End Grain Cutting Board Tutorial

Once the glue was set, but not fully dry, I removed the extra clamp and scraped off the excess glue with a card scraper.

My DIY cutting board was now ready for final planing.

Next I cut off the sacrificial strips.

The next step was to rout the edges with a 1/4″ round-over bit.

Then on to the sanding station. I started with 60 grit, then go to 80, 100, 120, and finally 150. It is important not to skip grits if using a random orbital sander. No one likes swirly marks in their end grain cutting board!

The Story of a Board: an End Grain Cutting Board Tutorial

. These guys are indispensable. If you don’t have them, get them!

When the board was sanded, I marked holes .

Then I pre-drilled the screw holes with the drill press, though a handheld drill would work fine.

Before I got to finishing my DIY cutting board, I gave it a good cleaning

6. Finishing the DIY Cutting Board

The Story of a Board: an End Grain Cutting Board Tutorial

To finish my end grain cutting board, I used a food-safe wipe-on varnish called . My preferred brand is . I mixed it with mineral spirits to about 60% mineral spirits and 40% varnish. I want it so thin because I want the wood to drink it all in and distribute the varnish throughout the board. I don’t try to build up a finish on the surface like I would on a table. Rather, I want to seal the wood off from moisture throughout the board. Moisture harbors bacteria. Bacteria can be bad.

I cut and folded a small piece of cloth to use as an applicator. I wore a vinyl glove on the right hand and latex on the left. The vinyl better resists the varnish, whereas the latex starts to stretch and will eventually disintegrate. I used latex on the left since it is thinner and has a tighter fit, allowing me to pick up and manipulate screws. I also use nitrile gloves, but I happened to have some extra vinyl on hand that I wanted to use up.

Starting with the back of the board, I liberally applied , letting the wood drink up as much as it can. If the is thin enough, it will run right through the board and spot the other side.

I then wiped off the excess and inserted four screws a few turns into the holes I previously drilled for the . This kept the bottom of the board elevated while I worked on the top.

You can see a little spotting on the top.

The Story of a Board: an End Grain Cutting Board Tutorial

And here was the board after the first coat of . I again flooded the board with as much varnish as it could take and then wiped the excess off the board. Remember, we’re not trying to build a finish!

When dry, I lightly sanded with 2000 grit sandpaper , applying only the weight of my fingers for pressure. The goal here is to knock down any tiny surface imperfections. Most people say to sand lightly with 220 between coats. I’ve never been able to do this without messing up the piece with sanding marks. Unlike, say, lacquer or shellac, polyurethane doesn’t melt the coat underneath it, so any sanding marks on the previous coat will show.

Then I repeated the process for the . . I wiped it on…

…And wiped it off. Again, since I wasn’t trying to build a finish, I wiped all of the excess from the board.

I gave my DIY cutting board four coats of , and then I attached the 1 1/2 inch I also use for smaller boards. These feet come with zinc-plated screws. I throw those out and replace them with stainless steel screws of the same size. This keeps the screws from rusting after exposure to moisture.

The Story of a Board: an End Grain Cutting Board Tutorial

And that’s it! Nothing left to do but take pictures and deliver it to my friend.

Update February 2018: I want to talk a bit about end grain cutting board maintenance. I’ve found that, over time, my boards can get pretty chewed up and dried out, even with the salad bowl finish. My usual solution was to sand them down and refinish them. But if I’m giving a board out as a gift, that’s not always a feasible solution for the recipient. This led me to experiment with other finishes. After exhaustive research on countless blogs and forums, I came across a finish that I would consider as an alternative to polyurethane. But even better, I use it on my varnished boards to keep them from drying out!

There is a great debate online about which oil is the best for cutting boards. If you wish to torture yourself, you can go dive into the fracas. Don’t say I didn’t warn you. Lucky for you, I did all the legwork.

So here it is: the best oil for cutting boards is walnut oil.

, and it’s what is called a “drying oil” or a “polymerizing oil.” That means that the oil reacts with oxygen to dry out at room temperature and create a hard, protective film. Compare that to mineral oil which stays oily at room temperature until it eventually evaporates.

The Story of a Board: an End Grain Cutting Board Tutorial

The same oil is used for moisturizing skin, and those products tend to be cheaper. Don’t worry, it’s still food-grade!

Now, just using walnut oil would be a great way to protect the board. In fact, I start by giving the board two hearty coats of walnut oil, waiting a day between coats. But then to the mix.

I add one part beeswax to four parts walnut oil in an old saucepan and heat it over low heat . I then coat the board one last time with the walnut oil/beeswax mixture using a folded paper towel. When the mixture has cooled for a while, I wipe off the excess with a clean paper towel.

Before the oil mixture in the pot cools, I pour it into a glass container with a lid. I use an 8 ounce canning jar. Once the oil/wax mixture cools, it will have the consistency of shortening. I use it every couple of weeks to keep the board properly oiled and in good shape. I just put a dab on a paper towel and wipe it all over the board. I store my board butter in a cabinet. Remember – the walnut oil will never go rancid!

Recently, I’ve started using board butter on my varnished boards, and it has worked out brilliantly. The boards are still protected throughout, but the board butter adds another layer of waterproofing on the surface and combats the dry wood that results from heavy use. The combination of varnish and board butter is a winner, and I will be incorporating it into all of my future boards.

The Story of a Board: an End Grain Cutting Board Tutorial

*Note about nut oils and nut woods: be advised that walnut oil is toxic to folks with certain nut allergies, as is walnut lumber for a smaller percentage. Know your audience, and use accordingly.*

Okay, let’s get back to the beauty shots! Enjoy!

For those wishing to replicate this design, here is the cut list. Boards are 5/4 thickness:

Source board thickness: 1 1/32 inch

End grain cutting board thickness: 1 1/4 inch

The Story of a Board: an End Grain Cutting Board Tutorial

This is the order in which you will place the boards in the clamps for the initial glue-up.

Good Luck and thanks for reading this tutorial on how to make an end grain cutting board!

If you liked my DIY cutting board and you want to try a different challenge,

We love it when you share our posts on Facebook and Pinterest!

Greg your artwork is absolutely stunning! Lucky friend! Thank you for the education in this article too!

The Story of a Board: an End Grain Cutting Board Tutorial

Thank you, Christina! I’m glad you enjoyed it.

Wow! I absolutely loved this. Beyond what I’m capable of with the tools I have, but one day….

I would like to order cutting boards. Please advise prices. P.S. I volunteer with Sue at the SCS.

I would like to order cutting boards. Please advise prices. P.S. I volunteer with Sue at the SCS.

I, too, make cutting boards. Thank you for such a detailed “blog” as to what you used and how you did it. I know the mechanics, but having your lumber choices is quite helpful. I may well make this one in the near future.

The Story of a Board: an End Grain Cutting Board Tutorial

Thanks again Greg and happy holidays to you,

Thank you, Steve! Good luck if you decide to make the board, and Happy Holidays to you and yours.

Greg, I have a question regarding your thickness planer. I have the Dewalt 735 . Mine currently has the “factory” 3 blade system in it. I am about to upgrade it to a Byrd Helical cutterhead. In the meantime, are you using the sacrificial pine on the ends with the 3 blade system? I’ve never used the sacrificial boards since I thought the end grain would be too tough on the blades.

Thanks in advance for any help you may offer.

First – thank you! I’ve never heard of the Byrd Helical cutterhead, and now that I’ve read about it, I will definitely get it.

The Story of a Board: an End Grain Cutting Board Tutorial

I use sacrificial pine when I remember to do so. Often, I’m thinking three steps ahead, and I totally forget. When that happens, I have to plane VERY slowly, micro-adjusting the cutter head each time. Otherwise, I’ll get pretty nasty tearout. I can usually just trim the end, and no one is the wiser, but once or twice I ended up with a smaller board, as I had to cut out the whole section.

Regarding end-grain being too tough on the blades…well it kind of is. The blades certainly don’t last as long as they would otherwise, but planing is certainly possible and definitely a time-saver.

Thanks again for the helical heads up!

At one point in time I used to take my boards to a local cabinet shop and have them plane the end grain for me. What their technician always did first was take the board to the belt sander and “break the edges” of the board. That helped somewhat with chip-out, but not totally.

Writes the cutting board, which reads learned a lot about this. Your brewing process has been extraordinary and very beautiful. This is an important thing, quality, or cutting board, work is not helpful because the more one becomes. I liked it. If I want to write more. thank you.

The Story of a Board: an End Grain Cutting Board Tutorial

Where did you find 5/4 lumber in the exotics and domestics> At one Place? Would love to know.I can 4/4 or 8/4 but the rest hit and miss. Thanks

Hi Joe, I get my wood from Parkerville Wood Products in Manchester, CT. They sell 5/4 in everything I use except the redheart. For that I buy 4/4. The thickness of my redheart strips in the final board can never be greater than about 15/16″ . I cut the strips to the thickness of the cutting board , then turn them 90 degrees to use them in the glue up.

I used to use 8/4 when I first started making boards, but found the resulting patterns and boards to be a little too clunky. With 5/4, I can still make a thick board, and I can make a more intricate pattern. -Greg

This is awesome! I’d love to make one, but am having trouble finding the African Mahogany and Redheart woods you used. Can you tell me where you found yours? Thank you, and great job on a really cool project!

Thank you, Virginia! I used African Mahogany because I had it on hand, but you can also substitute jatoba. I buy my wood at a specialty wood store called Parkerville Wood Products in Manchester, CT. Search to see if you have a similar store in your area. If not, you can google “exotic wood online store” and you should find places that will ship. Good luck, and send me a picture of your project when finished!

The Story of a Board: an End Grain Cutting Board Tutorial

A work of art! Thank you for sharing!

You could sell these. Let me no if you ever do

BEAUTIFUL!! When will I be gettin’ mine? I’ll be waiting for the delivery guy

This is beyond beautiful. Wish I could buy one

I seen this before by someone else and always with beautiful results. It’s always good to see that there are people out there that have excellent ideas working with wood.

The Story of a Board: an End Grain Cutting Board Tutorial

Very nice board and easy to do instructions! What can you tell us about the rubber feet you used with this board? Source of and why these over the standard high dome type? Thankyou

Hi Bryan, I get the feet used in this board and also 1 inch feet at Home Depot. If you scroll back up a bit to the part where I’m attaching the feet, you’ll see the two links. I use these particular feet because they are cheap and readily available at my local Home Depot store. The only modification I make is to throw away the screws that come with them and replace them with stainless steel screws of the same size.

A very good blog and a very pretty board. Look forward for more

This is fantastic! There are some great cooks in my family who would love this! Thank you so so much!

Greg, Thank you for the invaluable information, step by step. I had my own lumber, some black walnut, maple and some Padauk. I planed my lumber and decided to create my first end grain cutting board. I thought that this might take me at least a week to finish and was shocked that I was able to complete the board in 3 days! The board will be a gift for my wifes parents who live in South Korea. The board turned out so good that my wife thought that I had gone out and purchased it! I have wanted to make one of these for some time, but really had no clue as to what to do. My next one, I hope, will be a 3D end grain board. Any suggestion surely would be appreciated.

The Story of a Board: an End Grain Cutting Board Tutorial

Hi Matthew, I’m happy you found my post useful! I’d love to see a picture of your board. Can you send a pic or two to greg@thenavagepatch.com? I’ll post your board on our Facebook page. Regarding the 3D board, I’ve never made one, though I considered it a couple of years ago. I think what held me back at the time was my thought that I wouldn’t be able to get accurate angle cuts with my table saw, since it doesn’t have stop locks at certain crucial angles like my compound miter saw has. Someday, I’ll attempt one, as it seems like a good challenge, but right now, I’m working on a couple of turquoise inlay cheese boards. I’ll have a post about those when I get around to finishing them. Thanks again for reaching out, and good luck with your future projects!

Gorgeous! You really have talent, and you use it well. Thanks for the tutorial; I’ll never get one made, but I can certainly admire the quality of the workmanship of your cutting boards. Have you ever thought of making an inlaid jewelry box? Would be an excellent use of the small scraps you have left over after one of these projects.While living in Capetown, RSA, I was blessed to find a man in my neighborhood who made them, and I gladly paid about 150 bucks for the one I brought home. It’s worth far more. Keep up the excellent work. Your wife is truly blessed!

Thank you, Cindy! I like that idea – I have tons of scraps and plenty of stone. That might be a future project!

The Story of a Board: an End Grain Cutting Board Tutorial

In this end grain cutting board tutorial, I’ll show you the steps involved in making a beautifully-patterned board with four species of wood. I’ve included a cut sheet at the end of the post, so you’ll be able to duplicate this exact DIY cutting board. You’ve probably seen a lot of sites showing how to make an and grain cutting board, but you won’t find a more beautiful pattern that is still within reach of the novice woodworker. But don’t let its simplicity fool you, this end grain cutting board will enhance the beauty of any kitchen and give years of chopping pleasure!

The Story of a Board: an End Grain Cutting Board Tutorial

This DIY cutting board, like most that I make, is an end grain cutting board. The two main benefits of end grain cutting boards are board longevity and knife longevity . The third benefit? It looks awesome! So let’s get to it, and I’ll show you how to make an end grain cutting board!

Before we start making our end grain cutting board, be sure to follow us on , and , and click the subscribe button at the top of this page to sign up for our email list so you’ll never miss a post!

Here is what you’ll need to make this DIY cutting board:

End Grain Cutting Board Supplies List

How to make an end grain cutting board in 6 simple steps

The Story of a Board: an End Grain Cutting Board Tutorial

- Select and prepare wood for the DIY cutting board

- Lay out and glue up the initial design

- Prep and cut for the second glue-up.

- Lay out and glue up the final end grain cutting board design

- Finishing the DIY cutting Board

The Story of a Board: an End Grain Cutting Board Tutorial

1. Select and Prepare Wood for the DIY Cutting Board

I made this end grain cutting board for a friend, and it measures about 20″ x 13.” I used walnut, hard maple, redheart and jatoba 5/4 boards. Board thickness is measured in quarter inches. Thus, a 5/4 board is 1 1/4″ thick. That is the thickness before milling. The actual thickness you end up purchasing is a little less. Just like a 2 x 4 is actually a 1 1/2 x 3 1/2. For a cutting board this size, I needed to cut my strips of wood to 27 inches. I did this with the radial arm saw. First I measured and marked with a pencil.

Then cut to size. This board is redheart. Yes, I know, I should be wearing safety glasses. I have them, and I use them. I think I forgot them here since I was so focused on photographing myself while working – something I usually don’t do.

Once the four boards were cut to size, I had to get rid of any milling marks with the planer. This also gets them to a uniform thickness. This is the hard maple going into the planer.

I then had my four boards cut to equal length and planed to equal thickness. Before I could cut them into strips, I first needed to run one edge of each through the jointer to ensure that I had a smooth and square surface to reference my cuts off of.

The Story of a Board: an End Grain Cutting Board Tutorial

Then on to the table saw to cut strips ranging in size from 1/4″ to 2.” Again, I’ll have a cut list at the end of the post. Here is the walnut.

Here cutting the maple. I’m pushing it through with a

. I recently got it, and I love it. It has a locking depth gauge and pencil holder – very handy!

For the 1/4″ pieces, I cut the piece on the outside of the blade, not against the fence. To get the spacing correct, I measured 1/4″ from the blade to a combination square resting in the miter slot.

Once I had the proper spacing, I locked the combination square.

The Story of a Board: an End Grain Cutting Board Tutorial

Then I slid the fence and the piece to be cut up to the combination square, locked the fence, removed the square, and made the cut.

2. Layout and Glue Up the Initial Design for the End Grain Cutting Board

With all of the strips cut, it was time for the first glue-up. Here are the players:

I laid some cling film on the bar clamps. This makes cleanup a lot easier. Scraping dried glue from the clamps is a real pain in the butt!

Here are all of the strips, arranged by species.

The Story of a Board: an End Grain Cutting Board Tutorial

I arranged them in their proper order.

I then rolled each piece 90 degrees clockwise. This exposed the faces that I’d be gluing.

All the pieces except the very first piece were now rolled over and ready for glue.

Some latex gloves to keep the glue off of my hands. Rock on.

I applied a bead of glue to each strip.

The Story of a Board: an End Grain Cutting Board Tutorial

Then, one-by-one, I turned each piece back over and pressed it to the one preceding it.

…Until they were all glued. Then I tightened the bar clamps.

I added a few clamps between the bar clamps and let it dry.

3. Prep and Cut for the Second Glue-Up

When the glue had fully hardened, I removed the clamps and scraped off the excess with an old chisel. A card scraper works, too, but only if the excess glue droplets have not fully hardened.

The Story of a Board: an End Grain Cutting Board Tutorial

I ran my DIY cutting board through the planer to get everything smooth and even.

Next, it was time to cut the board into slices, so I could expose the end grain and achieve the final design. I started by squaring up one end. Walnut dust is toxic so it’s a good idea to wear a face mask.

Since the final end grain cutting board would be 1 1/4″ thick, I set a stop block 1 1/4″ from the blade and clamped it in place.

Cutting the slices for the DIY cutting board…

4. Lay Out and Glue Up the Final End Grain Cutting Board Design

The Story of a Board: an End Grain Cutting Board Tutorial

With all the slices cut, it was time for final assembly and glue-up of my DIY cutting board.

I put the pieces once again in the bar clamps. The two pieces of pine on the ends are sacrificial strips. They are glued to the board to protect the edges when I run the board through the planer for final leveling. Without the strips, the planer would tear out the back edges. This only applies when planing end grain – just one of the many tricks I developed after ruining so much wood!

To get the final design for this end grain cutting board, I flipped every other piece.

Now we start to see the final product!

Once again I rolled each piece 90 degrees clockwise to expose the face to be glued. This board was so big that I had to make two layers.

The Story of a Board: an End Grain Cutting Board Tutorial

Next it was time to apply the glue. Since all the strips were of equal height, the roller made this job easier.

I then positioned them and rolled glue on the remaining strips.

I tightened the clamps and added one more for good measure.

5. Final Shaping and Sanding of the DIY Cutting Board

Once the glue was set, but not fully dry, I removed the extra clamp and scraped off the excess glue with a card scraper.

The Story of a Board: an End Grain Cutting Board Tutorial

My DIY cutting board was now ready for final planing.

Next I cut off the sacrificial strips.

The next step was to rout the edges with a 1/4″ round-over bit.

Then on to the sanding station. I started with 60 grit, then go to 80, 100, 120, and finally 150. It is important not to skip grits if using a random orbital sander. No one likes swirly marks in their end grain cutting board!

. These guys are indispensable. If you don’t have them, get them!

The Story of a Board: an End Grain Cutting Board Tutorial

When the board was sanded, I marked holes .

Then I pre-drilled the screw holes with the drill press, though a handheld drill would work fine.

Before I got to finishing my DIY cutting board, I gave it a good cleaning

6. Finishing the DIY Cutting Board

To finish my end grain cutting board, I used a food-safe wipe-on varnish called . My preferred brand is . I mixed it with mineral spirits to about 60% mineral spirits and 40% varnish. I want it so thin because I want the wood to drink it all in and distribute the varnish throughout the board. I don’t try to build up a finish on the surface like I would on a table. Rather, I want to seal the wood off from moisture throughout the board. Moisture harbors bacteria. Bacteria can be bad.

The Story of a Board: an End Grain Cutting Board Tutorial

I cut and folded a small piece of cloth to use as an applicator. I wore a vinyl glove on the right hand and latex on the left. The vinyl better resists the varnish, whereas the latex starts to stretch and will eventually disintegrate. I used latex on the left since it is thinner and has a tighter fit, allowing me to pick up and manipulate screws. I also use nitrile gloves, but I happened to have some extra vinyl on hand that I wanted to use up.

Starting with the back of the board, I liberally applied , letting the wood drink up as much as it can. If the is thin enough, it will run right through the board and spot the other side.

I then wiped off the excess and inserted four screws a few turns into the holes I previously drilled for the . This kept the bottom of the board elevated while I worked on the top.

You can see a little spotting on the top.

And here was the board after the first coat of . I again flooded the board with as much varnish as it could take and then wiped the excess off the board. Remember, we’re not trying to build a finish!

The Story of a Board: an End Grain Cutting Board Tutorial

When dry, I lightly sanded with 2000 grit sandpaper , applying only the weight of my fingers for pressure. The goal here is to knock down any tiny surface imperfections. Most people say to sand lightly with 220 between coats. I’ve never been able to do this without messing up the piece with sanding marks. Unlike, say, lacquer or shellac, polyurethane doesn’t melt the coat underneath it, so any sanding marks on the previous coat will show.

Then I repeated the process for the . . I wiped it on…

…And wiped it off. Again, since I wasn’t trying to build a finish, I wiped all of the excess from the board.

I gave my DIY cutting board four coats of , and then I attached the 1 1/2 inch I also use for smaller boards. These feet come with zinc-plated screws. I throw those out and replace them with stainless steel screws of the same size. This keeps the screws from rusting after exposure to moisture.

And that’s it! Nothing left to do but take pictures and deliver it to my friend.

The Story of a Board: an End Grain Cutting Board Tutorial

Update February 2018: I want to talk a bit about end grain cutting board maintenance. I’ve found that, over time, my boards can get pretty chewed up and dried out, even with the salad bowl finish. My usual solution was to sand them down and refinish them. But if I’m giving a board out as a gift, that’s not always a feasible solution for the recipient. This led me to experiment with other finishes. After exhaustive research on countless blogs and forums, I came across a finish that I would consider as an alternative to polyurethane. But even better, I use it on my varnished boards to keep them from drying out!

There is a great debate online about which oil is the best for cutting boards. If you wish to torture yourself, you can go dive into the fracas. Don’t say I didn’t warn you. Lucky for you, I did all the legwork.

So here it is: the best oil for cutting boards is walnut oil.

, and it’s what is called a “drying oil” or a “polymerizing oil.” That means that the oil reacts with oxygen to dry out at room temperature and create a hard, protective film. Compare that to mineral oil which stays oily at room temperature until it eventually evaporates.

The same oil is used for moisturizing skin, and those products tend to be cheaper. Don’t worry, it’s still food-grade!

The Story of a Board: an End Grain Cutting Board Tutorial

Now, just using walnut oil would be a great way to protect the board. In fact, I start by giving the board two hearty coats of walnut oil, waiting a day between coats. But then to the mix.

I add one part beeswax to four parts walnut oil in an old saucepan and heat it over low heat . I then coat the board one last time with the walnut oil/beeswax mixture using a folded paper towel. When the mixture has cooled for a while, I wipe off the excess with a clean paper towel.

Before the oil mixture in the pot cools, I pour it into a glass container with a lid. I use an 8 ounce canning jar. Once the oil/wax mixture cools, it will have the consistency of shortening. I use it every couple of weeks to keep the board properly oiled and in good shape. I just put a dab on a paper towel and wipe it all over the board. I store my board butter in a cabinet. Remember – the walnut oil will never go rancid!

Recently, I’ve started using board butter on my varnished boards, and it has worked out brilliantly. The boards are still protected throughout, but the board butter adds another layer of waterproofing on the surface and combats the dry wood that results from heavy use. The combination of varnish and board butter is a winner, and I will be incorporating it into all of my future boards.

*Note about nut oils and nut woods: be advised that walnut oil is toxic to folks with certain nut allergies, as is walnut lumber for a smaller percentage. Know your audience, and use accordingly.*

The Story of a Board: an End Grain Cutting Board Tutorial

Okay, let’s get back to the beauty shots! Enjoy!

For those wishing to replicate this design, here is the cut list. Boards are 5/4 thickness:

Source board thickness: 1 1/32 inch

End grain cutting board thickness: 1 1/4 inch

This is the order in which you will place the boards in the clamps for the initial glue-up.

The Story of a Board: an End Grain Cutting Board Tutorial

Good Luck and thanks for reading this tutorial on how to make an end grain cutting board!

If you liked my DIY cutting board and you want to try a different challenge,

We love it when you share our posts on Facebook and Pinterest!

Greg your artwork is absolutely stunning! Lucky friend! Thank you for the education in this article too!

Thank you, Christina! I’m glad you enjoyed it.

The Story of a Board: an End Grain Cutting Board Tutorial

Wow! I absolutely loved this. Beyond what I’m capable of with the tools I have, but one day….

I would like to order cutting boards. Please advise prices. P.S. I volunteer with Sue at the SCS.

I would like to order cutting boards. Please advise prices. P.S. I volunteer with Sue at the SCS.

I, too, make cutting boards. Thank you for such a detailed “blog” as to what you used and how you did it. I know the mechanics, but having your lumber choices is quite helpful. I may well make this one in the near future.

Thanks again Greg and happy holidays to you,

The Story of a Board: an End Grain Cutting Board Tutorial

Thank you, Steve! Good luck if you decide to make the board, and Happy Holidays to you and yours.

Greg, I have a question regarding your thickness planer. I have the Dewalt 735 . Mine currently has the “factory” 3 blade system in it. I am about to upgrade it to a Byrd Helical cutterhead. In the meantime, are you using the sacrificial pine on the ends with the 3 blade system? I’ve never used the sacrificial boards since I thought the end grain would be too tough on the blades.

Thanks in advance for any help you may offer.

First – thank you! I’ve never heard of the Byrd Helical cutterhead, and now that I’ve read about it, I will definitely get it.

I use sacrificial pine when I remember to do so. Often, I’m thinking three steps ahead, and I totally forget. When that happens, I have to plane VERY slowly, micro-adjusting the cutter head each time. Otherwise, I’ll get pretty nasty tearout. I can usually just trim the end, and no one is the wiser, but once or twice I ended up with a smaller board, as I had to cut out the whole section.

The Story of a Board: an End Grain Cutting Board Tutorial

Regarding end-grain being too tough on the blades…well it kind of is. The blades certainly don’t last as long as they would otherwise, but planing is certainly possible and definitely a time-saver.

Thanks again for the helical heads up!

At one point in time I used to take my boards to a local cabinet shop and have them plane the end grain for me. What their technician always did first was take the board to the belt sander and “break the edges” of the board. That helped somewhat with chip-out, but not totally.

Writes the cutting board, which reads learned a lot about this. Your brewing process has been extraordinary and very beautiful. This is an important thing, quality, or cutting board, work is not helpful because the more one becomes. I liked it. If I want to write more. thank you.

Where did you find 5/4 lumber in the exotics and domestics> At one Place? Would love to know.I can 4/4 or 8/4 but the rest hit and miss. Thanks

The Story of a Board: an End Grain Cutting Board Tutorial

Hi Joe, I get my wood from Parkerville Wood Products in Manchester, CT. They sell 5/4 in everything I use except the redheart. For that I buy 4/4. The thickness of my redheart strips in the final board can never be greater than about 15/16″ . I cut the strips to the thickness of the cutting board , then turn them 90 degrees to use them in the glue up.

I used to use 8/4 when I first started making boards, but found the resulting patterns and boards to be a little too clunky. With 5/4, I can still make a thick board, and I can make a more intricate pattern. -Greg

This is awesome! I’d love to make one, but am having trouble finding the African Mahogany and Redheart woods you used. Can you tell me where you found yours? Thank you, and great job on a really cool project!

Thank you, Virginia! I used African Mahogany because I had it on hand, but you can also substitute jatoba. I buy my wood at a specialty wood store called Parkerville Wood Products in Manchester, CT. Search to see if you have a similar store in your area. If not, you can google “exotic wood online store” and you should find places that will ship. Good luck, and send me a picture of your project when finished!

A work of art! Thank you for sharing!

The Story of a Board: an End Grain Cutting Board Tutorial

You could sell these. Let me no if you ever do

BEAUTIFUL!! When will I be gettin’ mine? I’ll be waiting for the delivery guy

This is beyond beautiful. Wish I could buy one

I seen this before by someone else and always with beautiful results. It’s always good to see that there are people out there that have excellent ideas working with wood.

Very nice board and easy to do instructions! What can you tell us about the rubber feet you used with this board? Source of and why these over the standard high dome type? Thankyou

The Story of a Board: an End Grain Cutting Board Tutorial

Hi Bryan, I get the feet used in this board and also 1 inch feet at Home Depot. If you scroll back up a bit to the part where I’m attaching the feet, you’ll see the two links. I use these particular feet because they are cheap and readily available at my local Home Depot store. The only modification I make is to throw away the screws that come with them and replace them with stainless steel screws of the same size.

A very good blog and a very pretty board. Look forward for more

This is fantastic! There are some great cooks in my family who would love this! Thank you so so much!

Greg, Thank you for the invaluable information, step by step. I had my own lumber, some black walnut, maple and some Padauk. I planed my lumber and decided to create my first end grain cutting board. I thought that this might take me at least a week to finish and was shocked that I was able to complete the board in 3 days! The board will be a gift for my wifes parents who live in South Korea. The board turned out so good that my wife thought that I had gone out and purchased it! I have wanted to make one of these for some time, but really had no clue as to what to do. My next one, I hope, will be a 3D end grain board. Any suggestion surely would be appreciated.

Hi Matthew, I’m happy you found my post useful! I’d love to see a picture of your board. Can you send a pic or two to greg@thenavagepatch.com? I’ll post your board on our Facebook page. Regarding the 3D board, I’ve never made one, though I considered it a couple of years ago. I think what held me back at the time was my thought that I wouldn’t be able to get accurate angle cuts with my table saw, since it doesn’t have stop locks at certain crucial angles like my compound miter saw has. Someday, I’ll attempt one, as it seems like a good challenge, but right now, I’m working on a couple of turquoise inlay cheese boards. I’ll have a post about those when I get around to finishing them. Thanks again for reaching out, and good luck with your future projects!

The Story of a Board: an End Grain Cutting Board Tutorial

Gorgeous! You really have talent, and you use it well. Thanks for the tutorial; I’ll never get one made, but I can certainly admire the quality of the workmanship of your cutting boards. Have you ever thought of making an inlaid jewelry box? Would be an excellent use of the small scraps you have left over after one of these projects.While living in Capetown, RSA, I was blessed to find a man in my neighborhood who made them, and I gladly paid about 150 bucks for the one I brought home. It’s worth far more. Keep up the excellent work. Your wife is truly blessed!

Thank you, Cindy! I like that idea – I have tons of scraps and plenty of stone. That might be a future project!

The Story of a Board: an End Grain Cutting Board Tutorial

In this end grain cutting board tutorial, I’ll show you the steps involved in making a beautifully-patterned board with four species of wood. I’ve included a cut sheet at the end of the post, so you’ll be able to duplicate this exact DIY cutting board. You’ve probably seen a lot of sites showing how to make an and grain cutting board, but you won’t find a more beautiful pattern that is still within reach of the novice woodworker. But don’t let its simplicity fool you, this end grain cutting board will enhance the beauty of any kitchen and give years of chopping pleasure!

This DIY cutting board, like most that I make, is an end grain cutting board. The two main benefits of end grain cutting boards are board longevity and knife longevity . The third benefit? It looks awesome! So let’s get to it, and I’ll show you how to make an end grain cutting board!

The Story of a Board: an End Grain Cutting Board Tutorial

Before we start making our end grain cutting board, be sure to follow us on , and , and click the subscribe button at the top of this page to sign up for our email list so you’ll never miss a post!

Here is what you’ll need to make this DIY cutting board:

End Grain Cutting Board Supplies List

How to make an end grain cutting board in 6 simple steps

- Select and prepare wood for the DIY cutting board

The Story of a Board: an End Grain Cutting Board Tutorial

- Lay out and glue up the initial design

- Prep and cut for the second glue-up.

- Lay out and glue up the final end grain cutting board design

- Finishing the DIY cutting Board

1. Select and Prepare Wood for the DIY Cutting Board

The Story of a Board: an End Grain Cutting Board Tutorial

I made this end grain cutting board for a friend, and it measures about 20″ x 13.” I used walnut, hard maple, redheart and jatoba 5/4 boards. Board thickness is measured in quarter inches. Thus, a 5/4 board is 1 1/4″ thick. That is the thickness before milling. The actual thickness you end up purchasing is a little less. Just like a 2 x 4 is actually a 1 1/2 x 3 1/2. For a cutting board this size, I needed to cut my strips of wood to 27 inches. I did this with the radial arm saw. First I measured and marked with a pencil.

Then cut to size. This board is redheart. Yes, I know, I should be wearing safety glasses. I have them, and I use them. I think I forgot them here since I was so focused on photographing myself while working – something I usually don’t do.

Once the four boards were cut to size, I had to get rid of any milling marks with the planer. This also gets them to a uniform thickness. This is the hard maple going into the planer.

I then had my four boards cut to equal length and planed to equal thickness. Before I could cut them into strips, I first needed to run one edge of each through the jointer to ensure that I had a smooth and square surface to reference my cuts off of.

Then on to the table saw to cut strips ranging in size from 1/4″ to 2.” Again, I’ll have a cut list at the end of the post. Here is the walnut.

The Story of a Board: an End Grain Cutting Board Tutorial

Here cutting the maple. I’m pushing it through with a

. I recently got it, and I love it. It has a locking depth gauge and pencil holder – very handy!

For the 1/4″ pieces, I cut the piece on the outside of the blade, not against the fence. To get the spacing correct, I measured 1/4″ from the blade to a combination square resting in the miter slot.

Once I had the proper spacing, I locked the combination square.

Then I slid the fence and the piece to be cut up to the combination square, locked the fence, removed the square, and made the cut.

The Story of a Board: an End Grain Cutting Board Tutorial

2. Layout and Glue Up the Initial Design for the End Grain Cutting Board

With all of the strips cut, it was time for the first glue-up. Here are the players:

I laid some cling film on the bar clamps. This makes cleanup a lot easier. Scraping dried glue from the clamps is a real pain in the butt!

Here are all of the strips, arranged by species.

I arranged them in their proper order.

The Story of a Board: an End Grain Cutting Board Tutorial

I then rolled each piece 90 degrees clockwise. This exposed the faces that I’d be gluing.

All the pieces except the very first piece were now rolled over and ready for glue.

Some latex gloves to keep the glue off of my hands. Rock on.

I applied a bead of glue to each strip.

Then, one-by-one, I turned each piece back over and pressed it to the one preceding it.

The Story of a Board: an End Grain Cutting Board Tutorial

…Until they were all glued. Then I tightened the bar clamps.

I added a few clamps between the bar clamps and let it dry.

3. Prep and Cut for the Second Glue-Up

When the glue had fully hardened, I removed the clamps and scraped off the excess with an old chisel. A card scraper works, too, but only if the excess glue droplets have not fully hardened.

I ran my DIY cutting board through the planer to get everything smooth and even.

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