Christmas End-Grain Herringbone Cutting Boards

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Project by Chris P. posted 12-21-2011 10:50 PM 5130 views 11 times favorited 6 comments Add to Favorites Watch

These are a couple from a series of similar boards, they’re all herringbone-patterned end grain boards measuring approximately 13×9x1”. Finished with Howard Butcher Block Conditioner (mineral oil, beeswax, carnuba wax).

6 comments so far

View SASmith               's profile


1850 posts in 3961 days

#1 posted 12-22-2011 12:56 AM

Very nice. I especially like the herringbone-pattern.

-- Scott Smith, Southern Illinois

View Betsy's profile


3394 posts in 4870 days

#2 posted 12-22-2011 01:24 AM

I like this very much. I don’t think I’ve seen this pattern before. What was your process?

Someone is going to be very happy with you!

-- "Our past judges our present." JFK - 1962; American Heritage Magazine

View wiser1934's profile


530 posts in 4121 days

#3 posted 12-22-2011 06:49 AM

i love that board. would like to know how to also!!! thanks. happy holidays

-- wiser1934, new york

View Chris P.'s profile

Chris P.

79 posts in 3639 days

#4 posted 12-22-2011 07:26 AM

I stole the idea from someone’s back porch – if you look at the close-ups, you’ll see individual blocks. They are proportioned very specifically – twice as long as they are wide. The exact measurements are up to you, I think mine were 1 3/16×2 3/8”.

So I bought 5/4 stock, ripped into strips which were then planed over and over to the above measurements. Because I used three kinds of wood here, I planed them at the same time so I could be sure they were all going to end up the exact same size (i.e. run the maple through, then the walnut, then the mahogany). Since you’re running all three through the planer without adjusting the height, they’ll all be the same.

After you have strips of wood that are twice as wide as they are thick, you can just chop off pieces to the thickness you want your board using either a crosscut sled or the ol’ mitre saw. I spent about four hours with the mitre saw making a TON of bricks to be made into boards – so far I’ve made five boards and it looks like I’ll get a few more.

Here’s where it gets interesting. If you make the pattern exactly as I did above, you’ll need to cut ten bricks in half around the edges (look close) where the pattern calls for it. Assemble together dry, arrange for attractive grain patterns, and get ready to glue! I borrowed my wife and had her “paint” the edges of the blocks with Titebond III wood glue as I re-assembled them according to the dry fit. Since the glue has an open time of 10-12 minutes, you have to have a process and not dilly-dally too much.

Once it’s all glued, I clamp with a Bessey Vario strap clamp. I have short cauls to stick under the strap on all four sides (the strap will naturally be about 1” from the item being clamped) which I then clamp with some quick clamps after the strap clamp has tension on it. This will squeeze out some glue probably, you’re ahead to dab it off while the glue is still wet.

Titebond III advertises 80% set after 30 minutes, but it certainly doesn’t hurt to wait a few hours. I usually let it go overnight. Now, CONTROVERSY! I run my end-grain boards through the planer, though many people here will advise against it. I have had success this way, as long as you take VERY MINOR amounts off on each pass. Since the edges are still square, expect some minor chipping (but that won’t matter if you intend to round them over after planing). The planing is necessary because your pieces will likely not be identical in thickness if you use a mitre saw like I did. If you use a crosscut sled, you might be able to go straight to routing and sanding.

The rest is simple – round the edges and sand sand sand! I go to 320 grit usually and then seal with 3-4 coats of Howard’s Butcher Block Conditioner, which is mineral oil, carnuba wax, and beeswax.

PHEW. All done…after having done a few the whole process takes about a day of sporadic effort, maybe 2 hours of attention in all. Best part – you can make any pattern used in bricklaying (do a Google image search for brick patterns). GOOD LUCK! :-)

Now…bring on the people to warn me about planing end-grain boards…

View lanwater's profile


3113 posts in 3908 days

#5 posted 12-22-2011 07:28 AM


well done.

-- Abbas, Castro Valley, CA

View Bob A in NJ's profile

Bob A in NJ

1336 posts in 4973 days

#6 posted 12-22-2011 08:15 AM

Chris, Cool looking pattern, nice work on both boards. Bob

-- Bob A in NJ

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