Zig Zag Cutting Board - end grain up

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Project by bvdon posted 12-23-2010 08:36 AM 10131 views 17 times favorited 27 comments Add to Favorites Watch

I just made these two cutting boards on commission (for the curious, $200 for both) for a friend and his mother.

Material: Walnut, Maple, Cherry, Padauk
Dimensions: 15×12 x 1.75, end grain

Project started Monday night… all cuts and first glue-up done. Tues, second cuts, second glue-up. Today, Wed, I did all the finish work—trimed, rounded edges, cut the juice groove and sanded up to 320 and put two thirsty coats of Salad Bowl Finish (cut with Mineral Spirits).

I screwed up on the juice groove on the first board – the bit decided to take a slight detour. Intended to make a 3/8 groove and had to go to 1/2 inch to fix the mistake. Sadly, left a few burn marks in the process! I really need to work on my router table skills. The second juice groove came out near perfect with the 3/8 bit and determination not to make the same mistake twice.

Because there are 9 rows on each board, you may notice that on one of the boards the last step does not alternate on the maple/cherry alternation… no way around it. Didn’t realize until it was too late.

With that project out of the way, I have to finish a much larger project—a Japanese Timber Bench…. pictures to follow.

Fourth photo is a similar style board I did, but didn’t have cherry on hand… the walnut turned out to have wonderful characteristic—check the book matching.

Fifth photo shows an example of how you do the initial rip cut and glue up. After the glue is dry, run it through the planer so it’s flat on both sides. Next step is cross cut, flip the end grain up and alternating the cross cut pieces, flip them left to right.

27 comments so far

View EzJack's profile


458 posts in 4630 days

#1 posted 12-23-2010 12:59 PM

Why did you leave the burn marks?

-- Ain't better or worse than any other woodpecker in the woods.

View Duster116's profile


20 posts in 4491 days

#2 posted 12-23-2010 03:24 PM

These are very nice…well done.

-- Yes dear, I know I already have one...but it's on sale.

View blockhead's profile


1475 posts in 4768 days

#3 posted 12-23-2010 03:50 PM

Very cool patterns and I love the wood combos. Well done!

-- Brad, Oregon- The things that come to those who wait, may be the things left by those who got there first.

View snowdog's profile


1184 posts in 5442 days

#4 posted 12-23-2010 04:32 PM

Maybe $200 for one, they are too nice to sell cheap. Merry Christmas

-- "so much to learn and so little time"..

View Bob A in NJ's profile

Bob A in NJ

1381 posts in 5459 days

#5 posted 12-23-2010 04:33 PM

These are nice, I think $100 sounds about right. I’d make these all day for that. I like the ideas on the wide zags. Thanks for posting. Bob

-- Bob A in NJ

View bvdon's profile


503 posts in 4475 days

#6 posted 12-23-2010 07:30 PM

Thanks all!

eZ—please share? How do I get rid of the burn marks in the juice groove? I tried sanding, but it would have taken forever. Is there a better way?

View LesB's profile


3471 posts in 4903 days

#7 posted 12-23-2010 08:24 PM

Nice pattern. Looks complicated but easy to glue up and it makes use of that end piece with the one side beveled and the other squared. I never know what to do with that “expensive” piece of scrap.
Most burn marks can be avoided by making two or more progressively deeper cuts with a final clean up cut. Some wood like Cherry will burn just looking at it to hard (-;

Another thing I like to do is route come finger grooves in the ends so it is easier to pick up.


-- Les B, Oregon

View Diggerjacks's profile


2331 posts in 4598 days

#8 posted 12-23-2010 08:40 PM

Very nice and original pattern

A very good work


-- Diggerjack-France ---The only limit is the limit of the mind and the mind has no limit

View degoose's profile


7287 posts in 4814 days

#9 posted 12-23-2010 09:28 PM

They are a “step” up from some boards I have made.

-- Be safe.

View lanwater's profile


3113 posts in 4394 days

#10 posted 12-24-2010 12:24 AM

Those are some of the nicest I have seen.

Great wood combo.

-- Abbas, Castro Valley, CA

View newTim's profile


625 posts in 5066 days

#11 posted 12-24-2010 12:44 AM

Re the burn marks. I can see how you cut them using a guide on the router? I did the same thing and got burn marks that were the devil to remove. And yes I posted pictures. And yes people asked me why I didn’t remove them. :) Now I make a template and use a guide bushing making the last pass very light. It leaves a very smooth, burn free, channel.

I know that doesn’t help with your question on how to remove them. There’s no room in the corners to sand. You might try shaving them out with a half round chisel. I usually think of this kind of thing as penance which I do a lot of.

The boards look great and I wouldn’t kick them out of the kitchen.

-- tim hill

View bvdon's profile


503 posts in 4475 days

#12 posted 12-24-2010 08:07 AM

I routed the grooves about three times… first pass was really bad and had to go to a larger bit to cover the mistake. Then burned on the second pass and went a little deeper on the third… and burned again! I wasn’t confident and was letting the bit stay too long at the ends.

I finally got it right on the second board on a router table with a stop at the end. An even better way is to have stop blocks at both ends of the fence, equidistant from the center of the bit. That should be fool proof… will try it out next time.

View dustbunny's profile


1149 posts in 4755 days

#13 posted 12-24-2010 08:54 AM

My cabinet maker friend shared with me how to remove the burn marks from the router.
If you have a chuck with a handle, chuck up the router bit you used to cut the groove.
Simply use the bit as a scraper were you have burn marks.
Works like a champ !


-- Imagination rules the world. ~ Napoleon Bonaparte ~

View EzJack's profile


458 posts in 4630 days

#14 posted 12-24-2010 12:33 PM

Do like the dustbunny said. It works fine for the light toast but on the real burners use a diamond ball. Just take it EZ and don’t dig deep. Keep the ball moving and you will get a feel for it. They don’t dig fast. After you get the burn out feather it all in. Also feather out any over cuts you have when they are not to bad. I use the cordless pistol grip Dremel Styllis to spin mine. Has a nice feel.
I worked to get a feel for the router table and just use lines on the fence for stops. Never burn anymore or over cut. Just a little toast now and then that can be scraped. I wouldn’t use the bit for a scraper in your situation for it is EZ enough to make one. Use the bunny solution for a more complex cut. Besides you might of burnt to deep for a scraper.

-- Ain't better or worse than any other woodpecker in the woods.

View EzJack's profile


458 posts in 4630 days

#15 posted 12-24-2010 12:40 PM

Man, a lot of feels in that last post.
You gotta be the router, feel the router, one with the router.
Guides, Guides, We don’t need no stinking guides.

-- Ain't better or worse than any other woodpecker in the woods.

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