My Cutting Obsession

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Project by Mr M's Woodshop posted 06-10-2014 11:12 PM 2298 views 3 times favorited 14 comments Add to Favorites Watch

Four more cutting boards … including my first-ever commissioned work.

The first is end grain hard maple, walnut, yellowheart, padauk and cherry.

The second one is tigerwood, hard maple and walnut.

The third is end grain hard maple. 16” diameter, 20 degree cant on the sides.

Finally, the commissioned piece, a replacement in-cabinet bread board. African teak, hard maple, yellowheart and walnut.

The three I still have go to market for the first time this weekend, along with 3 new ones that are being finished tomorrow. The rectangular ones have handholds; all have rubber feet.

Lessons learned:

1. I continue to debate internally about end grain vs. edge grain … most people seem to prefer edge grain, yet end grain have the well-reported advantages. I’m anxious to see when way my sales will lead my future production.

2. I love the round hard maple boards; this is the 2nd I’ve made. My newest tool, a 14” bandsaw with a 1/2” Woodslicer blade and a Carter circle jig … makes quick and smooth work of this cut.

3. Prices are going up.

More to come!

-- Henry Mowry, Santa Clarita, CA,

14 comments so far

View MarkTheFiddler's profile


2068 posts in 2957 days

#1 posted 06-11-2014 04:08 AM

Beautiful work Henry! I really like the more complex pattern. The yellow heart really sets it off well.

-- Thanks for all the lessons!

View Ken90712's profile


17867 posts in 3957 days

#2 posted 06-11-2014 08:39 AM

Nice job I have always wanted to use yellow heart

-- Ken, "Everyday above ground is a good day!"

View stefang's profile


17039 posts in 4103 days

#3 posted 06-11-2014 08:43 AM

Very nice work on all of these boards. I especially like all the colour combinations in the first one.

-- Mike, an American living in Norway.

View aussiedave's profile


3114 posts in 2593 days

#4 posted 06-11-2014 10:31 AM

nice batch of cutting boards Henry, I like the first one the most but they are all great…thanks for sharing.

-- Dave.......If at first you don’t succeed redefine success....

View BurrOak's profile


31 posts in 2710 days

#5 posted 06-11-2014 12:00 PM

Nice choice of woods really makes it a eye catcher.

-- Talent on loan from God,

View tme4tls's profile


21 posts in 3391 days

#6 posted 06-11-2014 03:27 PM

If you plan to sell commercially, I would suggest getting a large product liability policy. Some of the exotic woods aren’t food safe and that might lead to problems. They may look pretty, but the rule of thumb about what woods to use is a good one: woods from a tree with edible sap or edible nuts. The only exception, IMHO, is oak the pores are far to large to be cleaned decently.

End grain is tougher and far more long lasting and much less prone to warping.

View Mr M's Woodshop's profile

Mr M's Woodshop

426 posts in 3836 days

#7 posted 06-11-2014 04:25 PM

My understanding is that the only wood approved for commercial kitchen use is hard maple. Kitchens with walnut cutting boards have had to throw them out.

That stated, there’s nothing wrong with the classic boards that are hard maple/walnut/cherry. That color combination results in some of the prettiest boards, IMHO.

-- Henry Mowry, Santa Clarita, CA,

View Mr M's Woodshop's profile

Mr M's Woodshop

426 posts in 3836 days

#8 posted 06-11-2014 04:39 PM

Here’s the relevant section from the 2009 Food Code from the FDA:

4-101.17 Wood, Use Limitation.

(A) Except as specified in ¶¶ (B), (C), and (D) of this section, wood and wood wicker may not be used as a food-contact surface.
(B) Hard maple or an equivalently hard, close-grained wood may be used for: (1) Cutting boards; cutting blocks; bakers’ tables; and utensils such as rolling pins, doughnut dowels, salad bowls, and chopsticks; and (2) Wooden paddles used in confectionery operations for pressure scraping kettles when manually preparing confections at a temperature of 110°C (230°F) or above.
(C) Whole, uncut, raw fruits and vegetables, and nuts in the shell may be kept in the wood shipping containers in which they were received, until the fruits, vegetables, or nuts are used.
(D) If the nature of the food requires removal of rinds, peels, husks, or shells before consumption, the whole, uncut, raw food may be kept in: (1) Untreated wood containers; or (2) Treated wood containers if the containers are treated with a preservative that meets the requirements specified in 21 CFR 178.3800 Preservatives for wood.

-- Henry Mowry, Santa Clarita, CA,

View Sergio's profile


470 posts in 3461 days

#9 posted 06-11-2014 05:20 PM

I definetly like the 3rd one if it is intended to be really used. The others are beautiful but they make you dizzy while using them. And I think on very useful boards always. Useful and durable, so my choice while a consumer and user is a single type of wood and end grain construction.
Nice work!

-- - Greetings from Brazil - --

View Surfside's profile


3389 posts in 2942 days

#10 posted 06-13-2014 09:25 PM

Nice looking boards! I like the pattern and wood choices!

-- "someone has to be wounded for others to be saved, someone has to sacrifice for others to feel happiness, someone has to die so others could live"

View Arcola60's profile


106 posts in 3152 days

#11 posted 06-14-2014 03:24 PM

Very nice cutting boards! I have used all of the woods you have used in my end grain boards. They are really fun to make. I have not sold any, just gifts for family and friends. A few people have expressed an interest in buying one. It will be a while before I get to that point. It is really hard to choose a favorite wood, I like them all!
Thanks for posting.

Ellery Becnel

View a1Jim's profile


118065 posts in 4345 days

#12 posted 06-14-2014 03:33 PM

Very nice boards ,I find the yellow hart to be most’s not used much by others in cutting boards.I’m not sure about it’s properties as far as it being food safe.


View JimRochester's profile


571 posts in 2383 days

#13 posted 06-14-2014 08:08 PM

Nice work Henry. For the shows I do, I make a variety of flat grain, edge grain and end grain boards. It allows me to have a variety of price points and a variety of looks. To the customers at a craft show, very seldom are they concerned about which face of the board is being used. The look of a board grabs them. Cutting boards are just a piece of my business, but another guy at the show pounds out hundreds of edge and flat grain boards and sells these things like they come with a free car. I go through a 7 step process to finish my boards, he throws on a couple coats of mineral oil. I don’t knock him because he outsells me 10 to 1. Unfortunately many of the things we as craftsmen like to do go unnoticed or underappreciated by the buying public.

Make sure you are making money though. Tough to make real money on craft type items but at least my hobby is self sustaining.

-- Schooled in the advanced art of sawdust and woodchip manufacturing.

View Mr M's Woodshop's profile

Mr M's Woodshop

426 posts in 3836 days

#14 posted 06-15-2014 12:58 AM

Had a small show today, and lookers definitely looked at design first – not grain direction. Given the lack of cooking in most urban homes these days, I’m betting that will hold true.

That stated, in this little show, sold 3 cheese boards, 0 cutting boards and got a whole lot of Oooohs and Aaaahs from people that took my card. Also, got a lot of comments today from people looking for small cutting boards for their RVs. Sounds like a niche market to me … bigger is not always better in cutting boards!

Oh, and I supported my wife and her nascent lotion business. That is the engine driving this craft show hobby of ours. Next post from me will be showing the retail display pieces I made that premiered this weekend.

-- Henry Mowry, Santa Clarita, CA,

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